Monthly Archives: February 2017

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings ~

Garlic Parmesan Wings

Quick to prep, easy, and delicious slow-cooked chicken wings.

I had been watching some keto recipes on youtube, not too long ago where a couple of the vloggers talked about this easy recipe for chicken wings and said they were delicious. I’m not much of a wing fan but easy and delicious sounded good to me. So I bought a bag of wings to give it a try.

A four pound bag of chicken wings were about $8.99 at our local Aldi. Since I hadn’t bought wings before, I didn’t think that was a very good price until I checked them at another store or two. I decided it was an okay price after all. ;)

Michael, Tiffany, and I can eat a four pound bag easily. When Sean is eating them with us for a dinner, I make two bags but have some leftover for another time. Of course, if we had anything else with them them, one bag would probably be enough but I didn’t feel like making a salad and the kids don’t generally feel like eating a salad. :D

I like to thaw the wings first but you can just cook them a bit longer if you are cooking from frozen.

Begin by covering a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or I guess parchment paper would work if you are opposed to foil.

Spread the wings out in a single layer on the sheet. Place a thin slice of cold butter on each wing. Then sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.Garlic Parmesan Wings ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis was a picture from the first time I made them seasoned this way and I used some jarred minced garlic, which got a bit dark having been roasted for so long. So the next time I made them I just sprinkled them with a little garlic powder and onion powder, which tasted just as good.

Put them in the oven on 250º. Yes that is right, 250º. Slow cook them for about 2 hours. Then crank up the heat to 350º-400º depending on how impatient you are to eat. This takes around 20 minutes or so. You want them to be browned and for a lot of the liquid in the pan to be evaporated.

Garlic Parmesan Wings ~ Lifeofjoy.meI used less butter on future pans because there was so much left in the pan when they were finished; so my thin slices of butter got even thinner. ;)

Sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese before eating. I think the next time I make them, I make sprinkle them as soon as I remove them from the oven or even pop it back in for a minute or two to melt that lovely cheese.

Garlic Parmesan Wings ~

Garlic Parmesan Wings


  • 1/2-3/4 stick of butter
  • 4 pound bag of chicken wings (preferably thawed)
  • salt, pepper
  • onion powder (optional)
  • garlic powder or about 1-2 tablespoons of minced garlic


  1. Cover a rimmed baking/cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Spread wings on pan in a single layer.
  3. Put a small slice of butter on each wing.
  4. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder (if desired).
  5. Bake at 250º for about 2 hours.
  6. Increase heat to 350º-400º and bake for another 20 minutes or so, until they are nicely browned, and most of the pan liquids are evaporated (unless you use too much butter like I did the first time, as in the picture)
  7. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese (or shaker Parmesan, if you prefer).

I hope you enjoy these too. I’ll be sharing another wing recipe in the next few weeks that is even easier. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Afternoon/Early Evening Tidy Up

Afternoon Routine ~ Lifeofjoy.meBack, many years ago, when the children were all young and we were homeschooling, Michael would come home from work and the place would be very lived in. After all, the four of us were home all day, most every day. It wasn’t like we could clean the house on the weekend, be sure it was tidy before we walk out the door Monday morning, and return to a clean house. No. We live here and are here all . . . the . . . time.

Since Michael is a self-employed paint contractor, he does not have regular hours. Consequently, we never knew exactly when he’d be home. Many a day came where he came in the house and we were surrounded by stuff. Needless to say it wasn’t an ideal situation for him to come home to. After many a conversation about the untidy status of the place, we came up with a plan that is still in place to this day. We decided that he would call before he headed home, so that we could do a quick tidy up of the place.

At the time, we lived in town and he could be home in as quickly as about fifteen minutes. So, when we got the call from him, we’d all drop everything and tidy up real fast. It became a sort of game to see if we could get the place in order before he arrived.

Eventually I got a mobile phone and he began texting me when he was headed home. Of course by then we’d moved to the country and we had substantially more time to get things picked up. Today it is only Tiffany and I at home when he texts that he is on his way and we’re no longer homeschooling but I still do a quick pick up when I get the text.

Recently, I’ve been trying to make sure I pretty myself up a bit before he comes, as well. It’s a small thing I can do to make it nice for him when he returns from a hard day at work.

For many years, I would prepare dinner to be ready when he arrived as well. Now we wait until Sean gets home to eat since he gets home after Michael.

These are just a few things I do to welcome my man back home. I encourage you to think about how you welcome your man.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Wings, Visits, Flowers, and Blossoms

Wow, it’s been a busy week here this week and today is no different.  Thankfully we had a slow weekend, although I did a lot of cooking on Saturday. I made some fat bombs which were like candies. Unfortunately I did not see that the recipe called fro UNsalted butter and did not read it carefully enough where it said to omit the salt if using salted butter! Ugh! So the first two I made were WAY WAY WAY too salty-even for Sean, who is my salt fiend. The third one was good, so I’m confident that when I make them again, they’ll all be good.

I also baked some pans of bacon and some yummy chicken wings and I’m not even a huge fan of chicken wings until now. Michael loved them so much that he said he may be bringing some home from time to time for more. :D

Busy Week ~ Lifeofjoy.meDon’t worry, I’ll be sharing the super easy recipe sometime soon. Even Sean liked them, and he’s not a wing fan; he wouldn’t even try one from the first batch. ;)

My sister and her girls came over this week. We had a nice visit.

Family Fun ~ lifeofjoy.meI caught them as they got in their car to leave and made them look at me for a picture. :D

Then I went to check on the peach tree we planted last year because I could see this from the porch.

Peach Tree ~ Lifeofjoy.meI walked over, check it out and was astonished to see that it is loaded with buds and blossoms!!! :p I called Tracie’s attention to it and they got out of their car to take this learning moment.

Peach Tree ~ Lifeofjoy.meAshlee, my oldest niece, counted over one hundred and seventy-five buds and blossoms! AWESOME! Now they are praying with me that the temperature doesn’t dip too low and mess up our peach harvest. :)

Our Bradford Pear Trees are blooming too. They should be in full bloom in a few days.

Trees in Spring ~

While the roses that Michael got me for Valentine’s Day are spent, some of the Lilies are not.

Gorgeous Lily ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt’s huge! Here’s Tiffany’s hand over it.

Huge Lily ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe’s just hovering her and over the stamen. It’s huge!Lily parts ~ Lifeofjoy.meYou can really see the parts here! I love the dark dots. So pretty.

I’m going to try to root the roses next week after it warms back up. I’ll take pictures and keep you posted about their progress.

This also turned out to be the week my parents came for dinner. I managed to snap a picture on their way in this time. ;)

Dinner with Parents ~ Lifeofjoy.meMom always dresses snazzy.  She’s a beautiful woman.

Aldi has a pork roast on sale for $1.49 a pound this week. So, I got that and fixed it. I just put the whole thing in my crockpot on high for about six hours. It turned out soooo tender. It was yummy. I fixed them and Michael some baked potatoes and I also fixed some loaded roasted broccoli, which was also very good. :)

I made low carb chocolate chip muffins for us and some chocolate chip cookies for the carb eaters. Mom tasted one of the muffins and declared it edible. Well, actually, she said that if she couldn’t have sugar that would do. I think they were a tad too sweet because I adjusted the sukrin since I was using sukrin:1 instead of sukrin+ but turns out I didn’t need to do that.

I hope you have a great weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº


Lent Again

Lent Again ~ Lifeofjoy.meEaster is coming later than it has for a while, at least it seems that way to me. Easter isn’t until April 16th this year.

In some religions (Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, are a few I am aware of), the six to seven weeks leading up to Easter is Lent. Fasting of some kind is generally a part of it. I’m not sure what their purpose is in observing Lent but I think it is a good idea to put myself in a mindfulness of what Jesus did for me.

Christmas is important. If Jesus had not come I could not be saved. But the whole purpose for Him coming was to die in our stead. We celebrate, not only this but His resurrection. He died in our stead but He didn’t stay dead. There was no sin in Him and since He took our sin on Himself, we can be saved from the penalty of our sins, if we repent and accept Him as our Savior.

So, in my opinion, it is more important to spend some time teaching our children about Easter than Christmas. Consequently, I think it is a good thing to do something for Lent. Maybe reading the gospels aloud to or with our children, focusing on Jesus and what He said and did. Ultimately becoming more like Him and serving Him to the best of our ability. You could have a countdown to Easter, of course 6.5 weeks is a bit long of a countdown, so maybe wait a little on that. ;) You could start some Easter type crafts or decide to fast something.

I just encourage you today to think about the upcoming season and pray about what God would have you (and your family) do.

I’ve written about Lent before. You can read it here and if you scroll down this page as well. The daily devotional by Rick Renner, Sparkling Gems Volume 1, has a whole month devoted to looking at things surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection. I like to bring it out during Lent to bring it to the forefront of my thinking. Jesus paid a terrible price for my freedom. I owe Him my life. It is good for me to remember what He did for me.

I hope I’ve encouraged you today.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

P.S. Don’t forget to check MyJoy-FilledLife and SwtBlessings for the new copywork calendars. ;) The new ones aren’t available yet, so don’t forget to check their websites next week.

Waybop, Trio, Floral Waves Tile

iamthedivacztI should have guessed that the diva challenge for the week was going to be Waybop, since it was released in the latest Zentangle newsletter, but I didn’t and waited patiently for the challenge to be revealed on Tuesday this week, since it was a holiday Monday. ;)

FB□1 ~ LifeofJoy.meI hadn’t tried my hand at this new tangle yet, but it looked simple enough. So I got my tile out, put the dots in the corners, drew my border lines. I knew I wanted to incorporate the Square One: Purely Zentangle focus tangle, Trio, into the tile. I also wanted to include the daily tangle over on, Floral Waves. Consequently, I made a string with three sections.

As I said, I hadn’t tried my hand at Waybop yet. I chose the lower section and began drawing it in that section. The problem is that I started way too small. My space had way too much white space left, so I added a couple more, trying to overlap them somewhat. I did not like what I’d accomplished, so I flipped the tile over (I can do that because mine are not official zentangle tiles and thus do NOT have any print on the backside.) and started again. But this time I decided to start with the upper section where I wanted Floral Waves, so that it could ‘hang over’ the string boundary a bit. This too, was the first I’d drawn this tangle and didn’t do it exactly as intended but I think it turned out okay.

Then I went to the lower right section, where I wanted to put Trio and began tangling. I hadn’t drawn this one before either. Things went well with this but I also had leftover space so I tangled in a few more partials.

Then on to Waybop. I attempted to make it a bit bigger than I had previously. I also wanted some overlap from other sections, so that added a bit to the difficulty level as well. I’m pleased with how it turned out, overall.

Here it is before shading.

Waybop, Trio, Floral Waves ~Lifeofjoy.meAnd here it is shaded. :)

Waybop, Trio, Floral Waves ~ Lifeofjoy.meI added in some shading with a 6B pencil to help give it some depth in some places. As always, after loading it on here, I see where I should’ve blended a bit more and smoothed out the original border and string lines. Oh well! :)

I appreciate all of your comments! It is truly encouraging! Thank you so much.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº



Chicken Sausage Casserole ~

Chicken Sausage Mushroom Casserole

The combination of chicken, turkey sausage, mushroom, cauliflower and cheeses is like chicken and dressing without those carbs.

This is yet another wonderful recipe from Linda’s Low Carb Menus and Recipes. I don’t know why I don’t make this more often. We really like it and it is tasty. It tastes almost like chicken and dressing, at least when I make it with turkey sausage; I don’t think I’ve ever made it with pork sausage.

It is another of the recipes that I found when I did the hCg diet and was on phase 3. However when I was watching calories, I tried making it with less cheese and it just wasn’t creamy enough. But when you include all sixteen ounces of cheese and your cauliflower is nicely cooked, it is just delicious! :)

So let’s get to it.

Dice the celery and onion. I do it finely, because we do not like chunky crunchy veggies in our casseroles.

Chicken Sausage Casserole ~ Chicken Sausage Casserole ~ Lifeofjoy.meI start by sautéing them in a little coconut oil; I use refined coconut oil so there is no coconut flavor. Tiffany went a little overboard on the onion this day. ;) It was still delicious.

Add in the diced mushrooms. We don’t use the entire package, only about four ounces worth because Sean does not care for them. This is also why they are diced into small pieces rather than simply sliced. :)

Chicken Sausage Casserole ~ Lifeofjoy.meI like to lightly salt these because salt helps them release water and thus, speeds the cooking process.

When these veggies are well on their way to losing their crunch, I add the sausage to brown.

Chicken Sausage Casserole ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhile that is browning, I steam my cauliflower, unless of course, I have forgotten about it and need it quickly. In which case, I steam it in the microwave. Then give it a course chop. It’s already cooked and has lost it crunch so I don’t have to chop this too finely.

After the sausage is browned, add in the softened cream cheese and blend it in well. Add in the cooked chicken, cheddar, salt, and pepper. Spread into a greased 9×13 baking dish.

Chicken Sausage Casserole ~ Lifeofjoy.meBake at 350º for about 40 minutes, until the top is nicely browned. We accidentally left ours in a little longer this time. (I have no idea why this picture has a green hue.)

Chicken Sausage Casserole ~

Chicken Sausage Casserole ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is a hearty dish and there will be leftovers, even when I serve it to four hungry adults with no side dishes.

Chicken Sausage Mushroom Casserole


  • 3-4 cups cooked chicken, chopped (1-1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast or the meat from a small-3½ pound-rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 pound sausage
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon onion, diced
  • ¼-½ pound mushrooms, diced
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 16 ounces cauliflower, steamed
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Sauté onions, celery, and mushrooms, lightly salted
  2. Add sausage and brown.
  3. Stir in softened cream cheese, until well blended
  4. Add coarsely chopped cooked cauliflower and the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Spread into a greased 9x13 baking dish.
  6. Bake at 350º about 40 minutes until the cheese is completely melted and top slightly browned.

I hope you enjoy this.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Compliment Him

Handsome Honey ~ Lifeofjoy.meOn the way to church yesterday morning, I just stopped and looked, really looked at my man. I was filled with gratitude for how blessed I am. I wish I would have snapped a quick picture but I was living in the moment, as I should have been.

My husband is handsome. His beard is mostly gray now, which he dislikes but I love it. I think gray hair makes a man look distinguished. :)

I reached over, stroked his beard, and told him that I was blessed and that he’s handsome. :) Of course, he ate it up. It’s good to pump them up . . . it’s part of that respect thing . . . of course you can over do anything, so I keep it moderate so that he doesn’t get prideful. ;)

I held his hand for a few moments, as he drove along, trying to get us to church on time . . . the kids wanted some hot chocolate this morning and I had a few minutes before we left but it took twice as long as I thought and we ended up leaving about five minutes late, but he got us there on time. :)

I was just struck with awe at how blessed I am. Michael is, and has always been, faithful to me and loves me dearly (that does not mean that we don’t argue at times though-just keeping it real). He’s a really good man!

So on this day, that is not a holiday, birthday, or any such thing, I let him know that I love him and I’m blessed to have him for my husband, my partner in life. It made him smile and I could see that it warmed him.

So today, I just want to encourage you to compliment your man, for no special reason, but just because you realize that you are blessed.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Valentines, Liam, and a Nice Visit

Last weekend was rather chill; you know, where you just relax. It’s nice to do that sometimes. :) But I should have been making my card for Michael, since he was out of the house. Silly me! Thus I was making his card Tuesday morning. Yes, that is right . . . Tuesday morning . . . Valentine’s Day. Silly, silly me! I shared most of that card on Wednesday, here.

I also write letters of love to my children every year. I didn’t realize I had done it every year until one year I didn’t; Tiffany was very hurt and told me of my mistake, with the letters to prove it. Needless to say, I’ve been careful to write one every year since. ;) I will stop when they marry, whenever that will be . . . who knows, this could’ve been the last one.

Michael got me some lovely flowers!

Valentine's Day ~ Lifeofjoy.meI usually make spaghetti or lasagna but this year I made Hamburger and Roasted Vegetable Soup and some rolls from coconut flour. The latter turned out rather flat, so it’s back to the drawing board on that.

On Monday I got to have lunch with a dear old friend. When we first moved to Oklahoma, she and her family moved in next door, the same day. We lived next door to each other for eight years and then we moved. I realized this week that it has been twelve years since we were neighbors. That means that we’ve been away not just as long as we lived next door to each other but half again as many years. That is just amazing to me. It does not seem anywhere near that long.

Well, Joyce and I had a really good visit. We met at Cracker Barrel. I got my usual Country House Salad lunch special; that chicken is so good but I’m pretty sure it’s got some sugar in it. ;) We got all caught up and even shared some art ideas. She has been into lettering for quite some time and I’m just beginning. I shared the ‘tutorial’ I’m getting ready to begin from CreativLei. I’m looking forward to beginning this myself but have been a bit busy, maybe this weekend.

Michael’s going to pick up Liam and bring him out later. :) I’m so excited; love my grandson! Hopefully I’ll remember to take pictures to share his cuteness with you next week. :)

Liam ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis one’s from last time he was here. He didn’t sleep long though. Grandkids are fun! :)

Well, I’ve got stuff to do before he gets here, so I’m off for now.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº



vanilla ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis week I was researching homemade vanilla extract. I had previously learned that you can make your own vanilla at home by placing a vanilla bean pod in a skinny jar with some alcohol; vodka is recommended. Then it sits for several months in a cool dark place.

Recently a friend said she’d made alcohol-free vanilla extract and I was intrigued. She said she uses food grade glycerin and vanilla bean pods in her instant pot. Of course that made me wonder about food grad glycerin and sent me off researching.

Vanilla ~
By Hans Stieglitz – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

My travels landed me on where I found out a most surprising truth: Vanilla is the only edible fruit of the orchid! In the words of my son Sean, How did I not know this?

I was shocked! I also did not know that the orchid is the largest family of flowering plants, with over 20,000 species. There are at least 150 different varieties. To find more interesting facts, check out the FAQ at

If you want to give your hand a try at making your own vanilla, here’s some recipes I found:

Of course, no talk with young children about vanilla would be complete without pointing out that vanilla is not sweet. ;)

To complete this little foray into vanilla, make something that includes it in the recipe. It could be so many things but a good vanilla pudding from scratch would be fun. I’ve got a vanilla base pudding that I make for banana pudding here.

I hope you found this interesting. It sure surprised us!

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Valentine’s Day Card

iamthedivacztToday’s Diva Challenge is to make a Valentine’s Day card and to give it to someone. Well, this fits in my lifestyle very well because I have been making Michael’s cards for the last many years. He prefers handmade cards, so that is what I give him.

Since this is to be a gift to Michael, I didn’t want to combine it with any other challenge or focus, although I could have. Last week, pattern-collections put together a page of heart patterns. I tried too but the tangles by type for hearts wasn’t working at the time.

I also saw a video by silmeboth on how to make a Valentine card. She used Valenty, which I really liked, so decided to give it a whirl.

I decided to make Valenty the focal point of the front of my card and would write on the inside. Thus I only needed a little flourish inside. (I really wanted that word to be spelled fleurish but apparently it is not, but I think it should be because little scrolls, lines, and swirls look much more elegant than flour but I digress. ;) )

For the little flourish inside, I decided on Knot, to which I added the little black line hearts that were in silmeboth’s video about halfway into it. I liked it’s simplicity and cuteness.

I added a bit of shading and a message to my love on the upper inside portion of the card. Then I thought I’d get all creative and add just a touch of red with my distress inks and spread it with my waterbrush. I put two coats on before I decided to scan the card for this post. And that’s when I saw it! the water had caused the splash of red to bleed through to the outside/front of my card!!!! Now, I’m able to clean it up to show it to you the way it was but I’m going to have to come up with another solution for the real thing. Unfortunately, I think that a white gel pen or white-out is going to be brighter than the card white. Ugh! Oh well, it’s really appropriate for our lives together anyway . . . we have imperfections but our love is strong. :)

Here is the outside before fixing it. Oh, I scan in grayscale, so it isn’t showing its full horror either. ;)

Valentine Card ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere’s how it was before bleeding.

Valentine Card ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd the inside.

Valentine Card ~ Lifeofjoy.meHmmm, looking at the word roots right now, I’m wondering if I should put a smile or lips under the oo’s. :D

If I manage to get tile done for the Square One: Purely Zentangle focus or Shading Zentangle focus this week, I’ll add it here. I was in a bit of a hurry to get this done, so I even forgot to take scans of the work in progress.

I appreciate all the kind comments submitted last week! You all are so wonderful! Thanks, you boost my confidence.

UPDATE: I just thought I’d let you know that I used white out and covered up the red on the front. It had to do. ;)

Fixed Valentine ~

I hope you have a wonderful day and a blessed week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº