All posts by Life of Joy

Chicks are Here and Birthday Celebration

Sean’s birthday was this week. That means lots of big cooking for me. :) It is tiring but I love being able to do it. Thankfully Tiffany helps me out, keeping me from failing when everything is ready at once.

This time around Sean wanted some big fluffy cinnamon rolls. In order to keep them healthy I made them from sourdough. I didn’t read the directions carefully enough and they weren’t going to be ready until brunch. So I also made Cinnamon Roll Cake from Northern Nester first thing on his birthday. Unfortunately, nobody got a picture of that one. But here are the sourdough cinnamon rolls that were done to have with lunch. Both things were crossovers on the Trim Healthy Mama plan, so eating them together was no big deal.

He requested sweet potato fries loaded with cheese and bacon for his lunch. (Again, no picture, but they weren’t really picture worthy. ;) )

Dinner was a sausage and cheese calzone, I guess is what you’d call it. Sean asked for meaty, cheesy, doughy goodness.

It’s not the prettiest but it was good. Oh, then we had sourdough lemon poppy seed bars for his dessert. Again, no picture. :D

Puppies

I’m surprised how much Heidi has grown in the week we’ve had her. Sean and Tiff took them on a walk the other day and tuckered them out. :)

Not the best picture because I took it from a video. But you can see how big they are now. She still waddles a lot! So cute!

Chicks

We ordered some chicks a few weeks ago. This time we ordered a mixed flock. We got all Australorps last time but this time we decided to go for a variety. We still got 4 Australorps. We really didn’t want  a lot of chicks but the shipping is just outrageous, if you can even get a small number shipped. So better to have extra chicks than to pay ridiculous shipping.

Last time we wanted speckled sussex hens but they were out of them by the time we ordered in October several years ago. But this time they had some. We also got some Buff Orpingtons, Ameraucanas, and even a couple Salmon Faverolles, the latter still lay eggs in the winter. The Ameraucanas are supposed to lay blue eggs. :) We also got one free surprise chick. Last time the surprise was a rooster and a very dominant one at that. This time we think the free surprise chick might be a silkie. Unfortunately it had pasty butt and was a bit weak. Tiff cleaned it up and we gave it some egg yolk and prayed over it; so we’re hoping for the best. (Update: Sadly this little chick didn’t make it. :( )

Oh, we did get 2 roosters again this time, both are Speckled Sussex. So we’ll see how that goes. Shiloh loves babies of all variety. She’s most familiar with kittens. When there is a new litter of kittens, she pesters us to go outside all day long and sticks her head inside the cats’ house.

She really likes the puppies too but Finn is nearly as big as she is and Heidi is quickly catching up. She really disliked it when the puppies got to go on a walk but she didn’t get to go.

Grandson Mail

We got mail from Liam this week too. :) He got some Spiderman stickers and wanted to send the to Poppa. Then since it was Sean’s birthday, he made him a “card”. Well Grandma and Tiff couldn’t be left out, so he sent us mail too. I got a horse picture with a big crown sticker and a page where he traced over captial A and miniscule a. :D

He’s showing Sean’s “card” in this picture. ;)

Well, it’s been a busy week here. I hope you’ve had a good week as well.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Links for P.E., Art, and More While Homeschooling and Any Time

This week I saw this link for The Body Coach who is offering free P.E. videos every weekday. They are about 30 minutes long. I watched just a bit of yesterday’s video. My connection to the internet wasn’t that great, so I didn’t check out the rest.

It is a new series he’s started this week. I’m not sure where he lives but I’m pretty sure it’s not the USA, so watching it live streaming would be difficult but you can always watch the recording.

Free Video P.E. Class on YouTube (click here)

Art

I found this webpage that has her favorite dozen of art channels with descriptions of each. There are channels with short videos around 3 minutes long for those with short attention spans, one teaching how to draw without distracting chitchat, and so much more, including calligraphy with crayons and even how to trick the eye. There really is something here for most everyone and she’s already sifted through and found the top ones. :)

12 Free Art Lesson Channels on YouTube (click here)

Online Resources

Now this one is a little bit questionable, but worth looking into, because it is aimed at people in the UK, so there may be some things that aren’t usable here in the USA. But the links were interesting enough I wanted to share them with you today, in case they may be helpful to you.

10 Online Resources to Check Out

Well, that’s what I have for you today. I hope it is helpful. It’s supposed to be in the 90’s here today, which I am not looking forward to. So I’m going to try to keep cool.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Zen-Untangled Week 10

This week’s tangles were Arukas, Spoken, Ennies, Chartz, Fife, Hazen, and Sampson. I’ve tangled four of them before (arukas, ennies, fife, and sampson) and have seen chartz in my zentangle box.

Spoken Tutorial Found

I don’t do very good with the squiggly lines of Sampson but it turns out decently. Spoken was a completely different situation. I just wasn’t quite sure how to tangle that one. So, after checking out the comments, I realized that nobody else really knew either. So I did a search and found that Melinda Barlow has a video for this one. It made so much more sense after watching her do it.

Basics of Spoken

In case you are not familiar with Spoken, it is like the spokes on a bicycle. First draw the circle for the center where all the spokes come from. Then it is one of the “take off and land” sort of tangles. The idea is to first do all the spokes going in one direction around the center be it clockwise or counter-clockwise, and then do the spokes in the other direction, all the way around the center orb.

Before watching the video, I thought maybe the second round of spokes were just the continuation of the first round of spokes from behind the center orb and then there were a couple extra spokes that didn’t match up. So glad the video cleared it up! :)

Homemade 3Z Tiles

This week’s tile was to be done on a 3Z tile but alas, I didn’t have any. So I set out to find a template to cut my own. I know that the 3Z tiles are equilateral triangles and each side is 3.5″ long. This makes the height a tiny bit over 3″. I found a video showing how to cut one for quilting. (Note: equilateral triangles have three 60º angles.) I got a nice rotary cutter set for Christmas, so I pulled it out and cut my tiles. I now have a nice pile of them from only one sheet of watercolor paper. Now, I want some in grey and tan. I do have both papers here. It’s just a matter of taking the time to cut them. ;)

Here’s the string:

I thought that since spoken and arukas both have a center orb, I could put the orb in the center of the tile and tangle each of those in a section. Then I decided that since ennies has some orbs in it, that it could fit in okay, so it would go into the third section.

Here is how it looked before shading.

It was dark out by the time I finished tangling, so the best I could do for a picture was on the table.

I wasn’t quite sure how to shade this one but I gave it a shot. ;)

Here’s the scan.

And here’s the picture.

I feel like this one could benefit from a splash of color but am too chicken to try it. :D

I hope you are enjoying this time of social distancing. Not much is different for me–I’m an introvert and enjoy being at home. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

What to Cook When I Don’t Feel Like Cooking

A menu of items to choose from is one of my biggest helps to this problem. I usually plan to have things I’m hungry for so that means I have a little extra incentive to cook. ;) But sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking whatever is on the menu. This happened to me last night.

Don’t feel like cooking . . .

It was overcast here and the kids got the new Animal Crossing game, so there was not much motivation to do much of anything at all today. Evidently my afternoon snack was a bit filling too. So although I was a bit hungry when dinnertime came around, I did not feel like making anything.

On nights like that the first thought is to call a Yo-Yo, which means You’re On Your Own. :D I got that from one of my oldest friends. I love it. But any way, I really didn’t want to make my hubby fend for himself after having worked. So I did what came naturally and stood in front of the refrigerator and pondered what to make. I had a package of polish kielbasi that was unplanned and some cabbage, so I thought I’d make that but hubby wasn’t up for the cabbage, which is unusual but okay.

Breakfast for Dinner . . .

I was close to declaring a YoYo and considered another easy dinner option, Eggs for dinner. :) When I get stumped for a dinner menu item, I consider breakfast for dinner which is usually pancakes or some such specialty. But lately, when I want an easy dinner, it is eggs or oatmeal. :) But I wasn’t really in the mood for either of those. ;)

Then I was enticed by the veggies. :o Who am I? =)) I pulled out the red bell pepper, some onion, a green bell pepper, some mushrooms, and some zucchini. I wasn’t sure what I was thinking of making until I got out the zucchini. Next came the low carb tortillas and some cheese. At the last minute I got out some turkey lunch meat so my guys didn’t complain too much. ;)

I chopped up the veggies and Tiff heated up the tortillas. It was quick, easy, and filling.

Other Options

My other options are spaghetti, tacos, grilled sandwiches/paninis, fajitas, or salad (which admittedly is a last resort). I do ask that people eat up leftovers, if at all possible on YoYo nights too.

Well, that’s what I do, what do you do when you don’t feel like cooking?

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Love Nudge App

I think I’ve mentioned this app before, probably when I first discovered it. It’s been a blessing to us lately.

When we first found it, Michael and I both got it and took the love languages quiz. Then we set up some reminders. One of the reminders he set up for himself was to leave me a note once a week or so.

He’s been really creative with his notes. :) He’s left some on my table beside my chair in the living room. He’s left some on my computer or purse and even a couple on the bathroom mirror. :p These  notes always make me smile. And isn’t that the point? They are not big romantic notes, just simple “I love you” and such. :)

I encourage you to check out the Love Nudge app and get your loved one to do it too. :) You each take the love languages quiz and then you know what kinds of things your love appreciates. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Another Crazy Week

We got a bit more toilet paper this week. There are four adults here, so we needed to be sure we have enough for a bit. ;) My guys ran errands this week; we were thinking they’d get it done quicker than Tiffany and I. However, I’m glad to report that I am not as slow as I thought I was. :D

The left about 7:30 am and didn’t make it back home until about 1:00pm, about 1.5 hours of that is travel time though. That is at best as long as Tiffany and I make the run but could have even been longer. As it was, they had to call home several times for verification on items. I didn’t realize when they left that Sean had not yet been inside WinCo, although Michael did go with me last week, so he at least had some familiarity with the store.

Then of course, there was the problem with things being sold out at one store and having to look for them at the next store and finally settling on something else. We will get by and do fine.

Ants

We have had an influx of ants again! Ugh! Thankfully they are the little ones but they are still quite annoying! They run all over the counter a couple at a time. And now, as I’m typing this I have just killed two that have hitchhiked on my shirt as I was washing dishes or something.

Rain!!!

We have had sooooo much rain our mud puddles have puddles! It’s ridiculous! Michael and Sean had to go the long way around to get to town for groceries. Trust me, if they hadn’t needed to go, they wouldn’t have.

Tiffany planted some seeds in some pots and hanging baskets. She set them outside this week and they ended up with over an inch of water sitting on top of the surface of the soil. I hope the seeds didn’t get washed away when they poured off that excess water.

The frogs have really turned up their singing. It is quite loud. I mean, I like a little ambient noise and at least they are not cicadas, but enough is enough. ;)

Books  . . . Reading

I’ve read the next two books in The Invisible Library series. I’m still enjoying it but it would not be for everyone. However, I believe my daughter-in-love would enjoy them. They have fae, werewolves, and dragons in them. This is the first time I’ve read books with fae in them. I can see how it adds to the story. :) I’m really liking the series though. Tiffany is a little bit behind me in her reading of the series but is beginning to catch up.

I finished the Caves of Steel book by Isaac Asimov last week. I’ve requested the next one in that series on my kindle paperwhite. I’ve already gotten it but haven’t started reading it yet. I’m interested to see where it goes. :)

If you saw our video over on our youtube channel last weekend, then you know that I picked up the book, The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. I had no idea this book was going where it is going. It is about a virus/parasite outbreak. =)) It has a lot of cursing in it and if I weren’t so curious as to how this crazy thing ends, I’d have put it down because of the cursing. Thankfully I am able to skip those words as I read most of the time.

I really don’t like reading books with a lot of cursing in them because I come away feeling a little bit dirty. At least there hasn’t been any sex in it. I’m on page 253 of 403, so about 2/3 of the way through it. I also did not realize it was a thriller. It was in the sci-fi section. I’m finding that I don’t mind reading thrillers. It seems to me that Ted Dekker writes thrillers too.

Well, I need to go see if my fruit trees need to be covered up to protect them from a frost or not. I had heard that it could get below freezing tonight. I’d really love to have some peaches and plums this year. ;)

I hope you have a great weekend. Enjoy being at home. Work on something that you’ve not had the time to do, be it project, craft, hobby, puzzle, movie, or read a book. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Health Unit Study Suggestion and Online Resources

I’m sure you are talking with your children about proper hygiene right now. Maybe it is time for the homeschooler to do a basic/generic health study. ;)

  • Find out why hot water is needed for proper cleaning of the hands.
  • Run a stop watch while they sing which ever hand washing song they choose, to know how long is long enough to wash the hands.
  • Find out why you shouldn’t touch your face.
  • Why should you cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze? Why not use your hand to do so?
  • Research what boosts your immune system and what foods have those nutrients.

Here’s an interesting article on the value of fresh air and sunshine from the experience of the flue in 1918.

Here is an interesting compilation of links for all kinds of things to do, from virtual field trips to youtube channels to zoo cams to art to stories. This is really a great list of suggestions/links.

I hope these ideas and links are helpful to you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Zen-Untangled Week 9: Cogwheel, Cirquital, and Ravel

I’m happy with my new organization where I work on step-outs three to four days and then work on the string over the next two days. I’m not perfect at it yet, but it is helpful. :)

The tangles this week are Ravel, Cogwheel, Cirquital, Rixty, Courant, Rumpus, and Chillon. Thankfully I had three of these already down, so that just left Ravel, Cogwheel, Courant, and Rumpus.

I have to tell you Rumpus kicked my rump. I was struggling to follow the step-out, as it appears that step 4 was rotated a bit. Then someone on the facebook group shared this youtube video where Maria talks through tangling Rumpus. NOW I get it. It is quite lovely and I didn’t do it justice but at least now I know how to tangle it.

Alice shared the step-out by Holly Atwater for Chillon. There is one variation there that looks soooooo nice! It has a completely different look. (It’s the one on the upper right hand corner.)

I have to say that once again, there are a couple tangles that resemble each other so much that I would probably not name them correctly if I saw them in a tile or zia. This week those two tangles are courant and cogwheel. Now, if you search for cogwheel, the one Melinda Barlow does looks nothing like the official step-out. I saw on the group that someone said hers is called Wheel Cog . . . I don’t know who the creator of that one is though.

Well, this week’s string is a blind string. That means to put your pencil on your tile, close your eyes and draw a string. I do start by putting my dots and borders first though. As usual, I forgot to take a picture of my string before I started tangling.

Here is the scan of my tile before shading.

You can see some of my string but I marked it in red here.

As you can see, I opted to ignore part of the string. :) It was just too good of a place to put Cirquital. When I tangled Ravel, I added the striping as soon as I drew those first two lines, so I wouldn’t lose the middle. :D I much prefer the tangle with some kind of filler added to it than without, which is what I did for my step-out and didn’t care for it as much. Here’s the picture I took in natural light before shading.

Yeah, it’s another overcast day. ;)

Then I added some shading. Here is the scan of the shaded tile.

I was at a loss on how to shade cogwheel. I tried adding some graphite and ended up erasing it . . . yeah, I know, no erasing . . .

Here is the same scan only smaller, because it is so much kinder to my lineart. :D

Here is the picture taken out in natural light, where the sun did break through the clouds for a few minutes. ;)

I felt something needed to be done with cogwheel, so I added some red/pink watercolor pencil.

Yeah, the sun went back behind the clouds. :D

I considered blackening some of the white space but just wasn’t sure. And I’m still not sure about the pink. How would you shade cogwheel? Which one do you think is better, with or without the pink?

Well, that’s all for me today. Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Go-To Meals and Menu Planning

What are some of your “go-to” meals? Are they seasonal? Our temperatures here are all over the place right now. I nearly had to turn on the air conditioner the week before last and then the bottom dropped and it got very cold again.

If I eat a salad, I like to do it when it is warm out (unless it is Chicken and Fries salad, Mmmmm, mmmm) and soups when it is colder. Of course “colder” is relative to what the temperatures have been. If it is the fall and just come out of 100º temperatures then the 60’s is definitely colder but if it spring and the temperatures have been in the 30’s and 40’s then 60 is definitely warmer. ;) See?

Soups/Chili

Well, all that to say . . . my go-to meals are subject to temperature. :D When it is a bit on the chilly side, we lean to adding chili and soup to our menu at least a couple of times in the week.

I’ve shared some of our favorites here. Sometimes I make this crock pot meal with added broth for more of a soup than gravied type casserole.

Hand-held Food

Hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos, and fajitas are ones that make it to our menu frequently, especially in warmer weather. I don’t know why it is more frequent during warmer temps unless it is the fact that it heats the house up less than turning on the oven.

There are other hand-held foods that we eat but not as frequently as those, such as quesadillas, grilled sandwiches/paninis, and chicken nuggets.

Casseroles/Pasta/Grains

We don’t have a lot of casseroles any more unless you call spaghetti a casserole. ;) Spaghetti and pasta dishes frequent our menu. Spaghetti is one of Tiffany’s favorite meals; she has been known to ask for it for her birthday dinner frequently.

I’ve shared several pasta dishes that are THM compatible in the last year, as these are ones that Tiffany loves to just throw together on the fly. She’s been enjoying quinoa again for lunches lately too.

Pizza

Yep, pizza or a pizza flavored dish is a weekly meal here. For a while I had stopped making pizza for dinner and Sean said he missed it. I happily brought it back to our menu as it is a favorite of mine.

We are really enjoying pizza with a sourdough crust for the last several months. It is our current favorite. We’ve even learned to enjoy it with little cheese. :o I know, shocking! However, when we are needing a cheese fix, we will switch to either a fathead type crust and go keto-style or shift to my pizza skillet or pizza topping casserole. :D

Salad?

When it is warmer weather we will sometimes do a salad for dinner but more often than not we will just have a side salad with whatever entree I’ve decided to cook.

My other go-to meals are printed out from recipes I’ve found online; I thumb through them to be reminded of how good they are and if they are simple, all the better. :)

My menu this ‘week’ is

  • fajitas
  • chili
  • pizza with salad
  • split pea soup
  • fried pork chops, crispy asparagus, and caulitaters
  • spaghetti
  • crock pot chicken and noodles with caulitaters (mashed/creamed cauliflower)

The chili was nice the day the temperature stayed in the 50’s and rained. Fajitas were a nice quick fix meal. Crock pot meal will make errand day dinner easy. And the fried pork chops will be a nice change–they were on sale a couple weeks ago, as was the asparagus.

I hope this helps you create your menu.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Life is Crazy Right Now

I have absolutely NEVER seen things as crazy as I have seen them this week! Our craziness started with picking up two Aussie pups in the middle of the week, shifting my errands around.

Well, actually, it started last week when Tiffany and I were running errands and the electronics totally malfunctioned on the car. Michael ended up getting it towed to the mechanic, who wasn’t able to get to it until mid-week. So we were down a vehicle.

Errands

Michael said he’d run errands with me on Friday since he wouldn’t have work that day. I’m not usually happy about running errands on a Friday because it is quite a bit more hectic than other days of the week and since I can go any day I want, I tend to steer clear of Fridays, generally speaking. ;)

We left the house around 9 or 9:30 and made it to our first stop around 10, I guess. It wasn’t horrible but there were a few more people in my way than usual. AND it was raining. :D I found some chicken thighs for 68¢/pound for Michael–he’ll need those on nights we have pork; in hindsight, I probably should have gotten two packages. ;)

Toilet paper was flying off the shelves. They had a big mound display of it in the back by the dairy department to compensate though. All they had were two different kinds of Cottonelle and Flora. We usually buy Charmin, so since this was our first stop and not where I usually purchase toilet paper, I decided to wait and get it at my usual place. As I was walking out, I overheard a woman say that Walmart was out of toilet paper. This did startle me a bit because that is the name of my usual source but there is a Walmart within a mile of this store and I was hoping she was referring to that store rather than mine.

Where’s the Toilet Paper?

As we continued our errands, Aldi’s shelf was bare of all toilet paper as was MY Walmart’s! Oh no! I became desperate because we were nearly out of toilet paper (I know I can cut up some of the old clothes I have around here and use them but was hoping things wouldn’t get that desperate ;) ). I checked next door at Dollar Tree and they too had an empty shelf where their toilet paper once lived.

Thankfully, I knew WinCo had some a short time before so we traipsed back up the four miles to that store. I went in and the mound display was seriously smaller than it had been a short time before (less than 2 hours). I stood there debating between the blue and the purple packages of Cottonelle, while Michael waited for me in the car out front. A nice lady said the purple were much better than the blue, so trusting her, I bought two of the purple packages :D and we were homeward bound.

Seriously, Even Vinegar?

I could not believe how hectic and crazy things were. I was stunned that dish soap and vinegar were in such high demand. Yes, even apple cider vinegar with the mother! I did get some but these are normal purchases for me, not some doomsday fear-of-quarantine stockpiling.

Be a Bit Kinder/More Thoughtful

I’m sure you’re wondering how I’m going to bring this back to marriage–in times crisis or overall craziness, it is important to be a bit kinder or more thoughtful. I try to do something a little bit special, like make cookies or his favorite dinner, just to make things a little bit more pleasant away from the crazy out there. I know it isn’t much but it is something. (And it made him smile. :) )

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

PS. It was the alternator and it is now fixed; not cheaply but fixed. :)