Toy Car Play Ideas

Toddler Car Toy Ideas ~ Lifeofjoy.meMy two year old grandson is into toy cars right now. So, I decided to look up some ideas for Lauren to use for him, to add a bit more fun to his fun. ;) And I thought I’d share them here, so she can find them easily.

There are some fun ideas here from simple play ideas to counting and alphabet.

I hope they are helpful to you,

Michele ºÜº

P.S. Here is a simple and cute tunnel idea.

Festina Lente Week 6

Another week has flown by. I wish I could say that I have been putting pen to paper in an artistic fashion every day but at least I have been doing it a couple times a week or more. :)

This week’s theme for Festina Lente was Butterfly. The tangle prompts were Thing In the Middle of a Thing, Andromeda, Ansu, and Ann with strings 150 and 162 from Tangle Patterns and fragment G2 on

I have to say that I enjoyed most of these even though I did not slow down enough with Ansu to do it justice. I didn’t think I’d like Ann and found I really did like it. I drew it on a rather large grid behind things I’d already drawn. However, the fragment was not a favorite of mine at all. I think it is probably because I made the grid too large for it; maybe I’d like it if I did it a lot smaller in true fragment fashion.

Andromeda is another that I didn’t do quite right–ahhh, that is, I created a variation of what was intended. ;) I’m not quite sure how the layering was supposed to have proceeded–but it is nice anyway. I really like the possibilities with Thing in the Middle of a Thing.

Here’s my piece before shading.

Butterfly #festinalente week 6 ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere it is in natural-ish lighting . . . it was cloudy when I took the picture, so it isn’t that great. :D

Unshaded #festinalente ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere it is after shading.

#festinalente week 6 shaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen the sun came out when I’d finished it and I was able to get a decent picture.

#festinalente week 6 shaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell that’s it for me for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Low Carb Taco Mac Salad ~

Taco Mac Salad Low Carb Version

We have really missed this meal since going keto, low carb, and THM but last night I Trim Healthy Mama-fied it. :) I made it as an “s” meal, which is a healthy fats, low carb meal, because I wanted me some cheese. :) If you are not on a low carb or low fat diet, you can find the original recipe here.

Here are the changes I made:

  • used Dreamfields pasta
  • eliminated the tortilla chips but did have pork rinds on the table for any that wanted them
  • added some finely chopped mushrooms to the meat to boost the health benefits
  • Michael and I used the FP 1000 Island dressing instead of catalina or ranch

Start by boiling water for your pasta.

Low carb pasta ~ lifeofjoy.meChop up your lettuce and place it in the bowl.

Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meShred or cube the cheese. Unfortunately we used our cheddar cheese because I forgot and used it earlier in the week, so we had to use mozzarella. :(

Cubed Mozzarella ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiff added some diced red pepper. It wasn’t enough but it was what we had.

salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meBrown the ground meat; we used ground turkey.

browning ground meat ~ Lifeofjoy.meQuickly chop mushrooms in a food processor.

chopped mushrooms ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen most of the liquid is evaporated, season it however you like your taco meat seasoned. I used these with salt and pepper.

taco seasonings ~ Lifeofjoy.meVery light on the cumin, oregano, and garlic powder. Heavier on the paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper. And a bit heavier with the chili powder, unless you don’t prefer it. ;)

When the pasta is done, drain and rinse with cool water. Then combine with the lettuce and meat.

Serving Taco Mac Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meSometimes we keep the cheese cubes out for each to include themselves as sometimes they sink to the bottom of the bowl and they are not evenly distributed through the salad. ;) The kids don’t prefer the tomatoes either.

Taco mac salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen I add my dressing.

Dressing on Taco Mac Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meYUM!!!

Taco Mac Salad Low Carb Version


  • 1 box Dreamfields rotini, cooked, drained, and rinsed
  • 1/2-1 cup diced green pepper
  • head of lettuce, broken into bite-size pieces
  • 8 oz. cheese, shredded (We've used cheddar, colby-jack, and pepper jack cheeses.)
  • 1 pound ground meat
  • 8 ounces of chopped mushrooms (for added health benefits)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (or onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, oregano, and chili powder)
  • other items as desired: tomato, onion or green pepper, avocado, et cetera
  • dressing of your choosing


  1. Brown the ground meat.
  2. Add chopped mushrooms.
  3. Add seasonings of choice.
  4. Combine all ingredients and serve with dressing of choice.

Hope you like it as much as we did last night. :)

Michele ºÜº

Quick to Forgive

Forgive ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was listening to a Trim Healthy Mama Podcast, episode 114 Grocery Cart Judger or Discerner, the other week and around 17:30 Pearl mentions her sister Vange and what they’ve been doing this year. Pearl talked about not taking hurt and that we’re created to live above hurt. They talked briefly about how your body responds to offense, i.e. negatively.

Pearl talks more about hurts around 29:05. She is vulnerable here and shares how she used to get hurt by her husband. Danny points out that men don’t own up to being hurt but offended or ticked off and consequences of being offended. Then they talk about forgiving and getting over it. In other words, it was a good podcast that made me think and encouraged me to “up my game” and be even more conscientious about not getting offended and quick to forgive.

Of course that means that I had the opportunity to put my decision to action. I’d love to say that I passed but the truth of the matter is that I could have done better but I’m aware of my failure and will continue to aim to do better.

It is natural to get offended but so freeing when we pass the urge to do so. Forgiveness is for us; it releases negative emotion and keeps it from causing harm to your body (like stress harms your body).

So, I’m learning to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Will you join me?

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Spring, Books, and Motivation

Motivation ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ve had a hard time with motivation this week. Some weeks are easier than others. I really like it when I get most of the week’s blog posts done on one day. I tend to have a better week when I don’t have the post to do every day.

I’ve not been drawing every day either. I’ve been doing the Festina Lente all in one or two days too. That’s the biggest reason I’ve been doing all week’s prompts in one piece. (You can see them on m Wonder Wednesday posts.)

This is what the Bradford Pear trees and the daffodils look just a week after the last pictures I posted of them.

Bradford Pear Trees full bloom ~ Daffodils in full bloom ~ Bradford Pear tree flowers ~ lifeofjoy.meIt’s so pretty. I love the springtime. :)

Books~ Lifeofjoy.meI started a new book this week. Most of the time when I read descriptions they are lost on me. I don’t enjoy them and I glaze over a lot of the time and have to re-read the important bits. However this new book, Delicious!, is different. In the beginning, it is about a gal who gets a job with a food magazine and has that ability to name the ingredients in the foods.

In this book, I love the descriptions. :D I guess because they are food based, generally. I have no idea how it is going to progress, other than what the summary said, and hope that it stays as engaging for me as it has started out to be. If it does, I’ll have to look for more books with food in the forefront. ;)

We should have gone to the library for our monthly visit this week but we renewed our books for a second time and will go in a couple weeks when they are due again. Of the six books I checked out, I’ve now completed three.

I read the crossword puzzle one, A Clue for the Puzzle Lady, this week. I didn’t really care for the main character and have no idea how they can make a series out of this but the eighteenth, yes 18th, one came out last year. I’ll probably get the next on our next trip to the library, to see where it goes.

I’ll probably finish this one before the weekend is over and Tamar is so short it won’t take long at all to get through it. Then all I have left from the library is Anathem, which is a very large book. I started it last week but struggled with it–the descriptions really had me struggling–then I put it down and picked up the crossword one. So, we’ll see if I can get into it after I finish Delicious!

Tiffany, Lauren and I are going to buddy read Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. None of us has started it yet and I hesitate to start it before re-attempting Anathem because I know I’ll love it and that may make Anathem difficult to read. ;) But we shall see.

Books Cookies and Motivation ~ Lifeofjoy.meI think I figured out how to make the Resurrection Rolls low-carb/keto/THM-compliant and am looking forward to making them when the kids come up in a couple weeks. I’m also planning to make the Easter Cookies next week. (I shared links to both of these yesterday.)

I’m very excited about this even though nobody else in the family is sharing my excitement. I’ve already got my ham for Easter dinner, although I will have to get my turkey ham for Michael next week. I’ve been looking for one for months because Michael cannot currently eat ham without breaking out in a rash. The last two times I made ham, I got him turkey pastrami from the deli. It works just as well although a bit smaller. I really hope I can find the turkey ham but will get a hunk of the turkey pastrami if need be.

Well, that is enough rambling for today. If I work out a good tasting low carb alternative to those Easter treats, I’ll share on a Tuesday.

Until next time, God Bless,

Michele ºÜº

Planning for Easter

Preparing for Easter ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, Lent is nearing its end which means that Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday as we sometimes call it, is nearly upon us. Lent is about preparing for Easter. I’ve been reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) this month, filling my thoughts with the deeds of Jesus. I just finished Matthew a few days ago and feel really good having the historical account of what Jesus did in the forefront of my mind as we approach Easter.

There are a few activities you can do with your children, on top of reading the Bible with them in preparation for Easter. I’m sharing today, so that you can buy the ingredients to make the rolls and cookies and be prepared. :) The first takes the most prep work and the last is the easiest.

I may make these Easter Cookies with my grandson when they are up around Easter. I believe that I can easily modify them to be sugar free and everything else in them works on THM, keto, and other low carb eating plans. Of course the Resurrection Rolls will take a bit more work because of the marshmallow. ;) Maybe next year I’ll figure that one out.

I hope this helps you prepare for Easter,

Michele ºÜº

Festina Lente Week 5

Well, it’s week five of Festina Lente 2019. Apparently Laura Harms is getting better but not quite able to do the drawing and such required to host the Diva Challenge. So this week is simply another piece compiled from the prompts from Festina Lente week five. The theme for the week was flowers.

I decided to do a rectangle in the center of my page and spokes for six sections from it, which will give me enough sections for one every day. The suggested tangles are Tizzy, Flwr Box, Hennadrum, Lenche, and Stella, with String 138 from Tangle Patterns and Fragment W5 from

Here is what my string looked like.

String for #festinalente19 ~ Lifeofjoy.meI thought Flwr Box was best in the box in the middle. :) I went with the string and fragment beside each other since they were sequential days prompts. They look very similar but I think there is enough differences to make it transition well.

Hennadrum is by favorite, closely followed by Stella. Leche on the other hand was new to me and I’m not too sure about it yet. ;) Tiffany likes Tizzy up in the right hand corner, which is not my favorite. I don’t feel I shade it properly.

Well here it is before shading, scanned and then in natural light, for what there was left. ;)Flower themed #festinalente19 ~ week 5 ~ lifeofjoy.meYeah, the sun was going down so it isn’t very bright but I think you get the idea.

Here it is after shading, scanned and picture–although not in natural light as the sun had gone down several hours before I finished shading it.

Flowers theme #festinalente19 ~ flower theme ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, that is all for today. I hope you have a wonderful day. Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Sweet Potatoes ~

Sweet Potatoes

I am thankful to have a Trim Healthy Mama membership and thus have access to their various menus, including their newest Veggie-Full Ultra Trimming Menu. Pearl shared some information about sweet potatoes in the menu plan.

So I did some researching and found that sweet potatoes have soooo many health benefits. They help with memory, vision, inflammation, and a lot of other things. Here are some webpages that share the virtues of sweet potatoes and have links to source information as well. :)

Baked Sweet Potato ~ Lifeofjoy.meA new concept I heard about is Resistant Starch. Apparently baking low and slow is important to keep most of its nutrients and refrigeration is important to the resistant starch. I don’t really recall all of it but just know that they are extremely beneficial and they are supposed to help lose weight.

Oh, one more thing, remember that it is important to have the 1/2 teaspoon of fat with an “e” meal/low fat meal.

Surprisingly, I’ve been eating these for breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner. Of course, I have found out that our favorite way to eat sweet potatoes is deep fried, as french fries but that isn’t supposed to be the healthy way of eating them. :( But they are good for any meal. :)

I hope you’ll be encouraged to eat more sweet potatoes, as I have been.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Kittens and Book Review: The River of No Return

Book: River of No Return ~ Lifeofjoy.meOh my gracious! I was going to talk about how much everything has changed in just a week but I just finished my first book read of April and that is where my mind is right now. And Fridays are for whatever is on my mind, right? ;)

So the book I just finished is The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway. It is 452 pages in the hardback format and a pretty good read centering around time travel. :) I love a good time travel story.

Now here are my disclaimers: this book had a couple of curse words but not much for an adult fiction book and there were two intimate scenes and two short suggestive scenes that can easily be skipped over. That’s it.

So I really enjoyed the twists in this book and enjoyed the read . . . until the last 50 pages when things started to feel a bit rushed and definitely at the last 25 pages where it was super rushed! Although the romance in this book resolved well, it seemed as if that was THE thing that the author was focusing on. There are so many loose ends: Who is Mr. Mibbs? Can Julia and Nick penetrate the Pale? What caused the Pale? Can the Pale be stopped? What about Jem Jemison? Is he really only what Nick thinks he is? And don’t even get me starting on Nick and Julia learning how to use their abilities!

Most of the story was told very thought out, with enough hints about twists to come as it went along. It had a good pace until it got down to those last 25-50 pages. Then all of a sudden it stopped letting the story unfold and started summarizing the story! Ugh! Those last 50 pages could have easily be another 100 to 150 to do it right.

Then the ending just kind of . . . plop! That’s it . . . The End but is everything like it was or is it different? I enjoyed the book but I’d have enjoyed it so much more if it had been wrapped up better.

So what do I do? I look to see if there is a sequel hoping to find the answers to my questions and continue the story and what do I find? This book has a copyright of 2013. That is six years ago; just sayin’. ;) I find that there is a prequel called the Time Tutor but it is only a novella and is a meer 90 pages about Alva Blomgren and Ignatz Vogelstein. While I think it might be interesting, ninety pages is not very long at all and with how abruptly this book ended, I’m not sure I want to get my hopes up.

I also saw, in an interview with the author, that she was working on a sequel with a working title of Brothers and Sisters but that it was going to be another ‘love story’ and centered around two different characters putting Nick and Julia as secondary characters. This saddens me. :( I love stories that the sequel picks up right where it left off with the same characters.

The Stormlight Archive does sequels right but I’ll I’ll talk about that another day. However I read The Rook by Daniel O’Malley and was eager to pick up the sequel, Stiletto. Unfortunately, this book introduces two new characters and sets the story around them rather than the main character of the previous book. I could not get behind that and decided not to finish it. I just don’t have time to push myself to read a book that I don’t really care about the characters especially when it was touted as being a continuation of the story of the main character but thumbing through the pages, it is hard to even find her name mentioned. Very sad. I’ll talk more about that book at another time though.

New Kittens ~

In other news, we had kittens born yesterday. The mother cat, Kit Kat, generally only has two kittens. This time she had four. two black and white ones and two tabbies. Two have tails and two don’t. So I guess six weeks from now, we will have some kittens to give away.

Well, it’s been a week of sinus headaches in our house. Even after the rain the other night, we were still attacked with headaches. Ugh! I’ll run for now.

Until next time,