All posts by Life of Joy

Why Wild Flowers

Wild Flower Bouquet ~
Picture taken when I was feeling better, so not at their prettiest moment. ;)

Okay, first I have to say that wild flowers are NOT weeds. You may not want them in your cultivated lawn of green grass but they are flowers. I love wild flowers. I figure God made all the flowers and some are just pure, others got worked over by man. ;)

At any rate, I wasn’t feeling well last week–it was my turn, we like to share everything in this house, evidently–and Michael took great care of me. One day he came home from work and had a bunch of Indian Paint Brush wild flowers with him. He came in and put them in a vase with some sugar and vinegar to make them last, and put them on the shelf above my table beside my chair. :)

He’d told Sean that the reason wild flowers grow by the side of the road is so that a man has no excuse not to bring his wife flowers. :) Since I wasn’t feeling well, I didn’t get a good picture of them but they made me happy.

So men, keep some scissors or clippers in your vehicle and bring your sweetie some flowers on a regular basis. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Sad Week and a Book Review

sick emoji ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo, Michael felt better last weekend but I started getting stuffy! Ugh! This means that whatever it is, it is contagious. Consequently, we all thought it best that Brian, Lauren, and Liam not come up last weekend. :( It was very sad but totally understandable. I did want to see them before my birthday this weekend,  since they will be out of town and unable to come this weekend or next weekend for Mother’s Day either. (My head is still a bit stuffy and if that didn’t make complete sense, I’m sorry. I tried it several times and just couldn’t get it out any better than that. :o )

Monday was reading day and I didn’t feel like reading our buddy read when the girls aren’t currently reading it. So since I wanted to get another book completed for April I decided that I’d look at the page count for each book I picked up at the library and the shortest one is the one I would read. :D

Reading emojiIt worked! I was able to start and finish The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. It had some good bits and some bits that I even read aloud to my daughter, because we like to have others share in our fun. But overall this was only about 2 stars out of 5 stars for me. There was a bit of cussing in the book that I didn’t appreciate but have learned to skip over, mostly. There was the mention of homosexuality a couple of times and some instances of people sleeping around (but thankfully it was not expounded on).

Once again, it was like the author didn’t know how to get us from point A to point B and so just BAM* we transported several years into the future. (No, there was no science fiction time travel going on, that would have made it better. :D) And then, spoiler! he gets a rare form of cancer YEARS later. Yeah. A whole bunch of time jumping. Although I’d prefer that to boring reading though. It was a short read at only 260 pages, so it wasn’t horrible and there were bits that made me laugh out loud. So it wasn’t a complete waste of time but I cannot, in good conscience, recommend it.

Nurse ~ lifeofjoy.meThis weekend a dear friend of our family graduates from four-year nursing program. Tiffany and I will go to her party this evening to celebrate with her. It shall be fun because her sisters and their families are coming for the occasion as well and it will be fun to see them all. One has a little girl I have only seen pictures of so far. It will be fun to visit with them all!

gaming ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhile I was sitting around, trying to breathe this week, I pulled out Mario Odyssey on the Switch and had a lot of fun playing with it some more. :) I think I got addicted once again. It is such a fun, light, uplifting game.

I also got out Donkey Kong Tropical Breeze on the Wii U. When we first got this game, we had a smaller television and it was hard to see because everything was so small. However, I really enjoyed playing it on our new, larger television. It was so reminiscent of the old Donkey Kong Country games. Of course, I’m no good at it but I enjoy playing it for a while, until I get stuck. :D Then I’ll go play something else. That is really all I had the energy to do…my eyes were too pained to read. :(

birthday cake ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo I’m looking forward to a nice weekend. Tiffany is going to work hard to make my birthday special. :) She will be giving me the day off from cooking and cleaning, making all the meals for us that day. Such a sweetie!

Well, I’ll run for now. Hope you have a great weekend and that next week is better than last week. ;)

Michele ºÜº

Inexpensive Sensory Bin

I talked with Lauren (my daughter-in-love) about the $10 sensory bin you can put together from Dollar Tree (that I saw on Busy Toddler). She said that since they were getting ready to go on vacation, they didn’t have the extra money to spend on it right now.

So, being the totally awesome Grandma that I am (haha), I decided to get the things as a gift to them. Oh, and I did spend a little bit more. So let me show you what I got.

Sensory Bin ~ Lifeofjoy.meI couldn’t fit the cookie sheet and everything else in the bin, so I taped it on top to help hold everything together. ;) The bin itself is a cat liter tray. :)

I scored on the shredded paper, even though it isn’t the crinkled ones, because it is was Easter time and I got like twice as much for the same price. ;) Plus it has 3 different colors. :)

Opened up sensory bin ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo, now you can see I have the two pack of ice cube trays for sorting things. Love good deals. I put the pinto beans and rice each in a gallon size zipper bag for storage ease but in this larger bag so that Lauren can add another bag at some point for even more scooping fun.

Sensory bin 3 ~ Lifeofjoy.meOnce I remove the paper, rice, and beans, you can now see what else is in the bin. Tiffany reminded me that a muffin/cupcake tin is recommended for sorting, so that is one of the extras I picked up. Then there are the dice, which I put in a snack baggie to help Lauren keep track of them.

The bag of rocks is one of the cool suggestions from Susie of Busy Toddler. I wish there were about double that amount but it’s enough to start. Liam loves little cars and has a few of those and a set of the farm animals and dinosaurs too. Thus I didn’t get those. Instead I saw these cute construction trucks that I thought would be fun for him to play with in the rice. :)

toy tump truck and scoop ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnother extra purchase was the yellow dump truck-ish vehicle. It has a nice size section that can be filled and dumped out. :)

tongs, truck, and stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meI got the recommended 4-pack tongs too. Then the other two extra items I got was the 3-piece funnel set, which is why the pan won’t sit on top of the bin evenly but I can see many play opportunities for these funnels. And the other is the set of measuring cups and spoons combo. This was another cool find because I got both sets for just $1. They can be used for teaching fractions later but for scooping different amounts in the beginning. They come off the ring for easy use but then can be put back on that ring to keep things tidy when finished. (I looked around a bit before settling on the measuring cups/spoons combo because they also sold them separately. I decided having both sets was more valuable than having them in pretty colors. ;) )

The really cool thing is that once the initial bin and beginning items are purchased, you can pick up an extra thing or two whenever to add or change up very inexpensively. :)

I can’t wait until he can have this and play with it. I’ll share some of the pictures Lauren is bound to send me of him playing with this fun sensory bin.

Once the sensory bin items are purchased here are some links on Susie’s site to see what to do next.

There are tons more ideas on her site and around the internet in general. But one thing is for certain, start out with your sensory bin on a big sheet, blanket, table cloth, or shower curtain (which is available from Dollar Tree too ;) ) to help control the mess when first starting out with sensory bins.

For my grandson, I’d recommend the large rocks for the first base to use. Maybe use his cars with it and the trucks. Of course there’s the tongs and the ice cube tray or muffin tin too. So much fun ahead!

If you make a dollar store bin, let me know in the comments below. :)

Michele ºÜº

Seta and Swaddle Flowering

Well, Festina Lente 2019 is over and there is still no Diva Challenge so I went off to Square One: Purely Zentangle to find the focus tangle of the week. I was pleased to find it was an easy (ish) one and by one of our Diva Challenge Participants: LonettA named Seta.

I then checked Pattern-Collections tangle for today and found it to be Swaddle Flowering by Lila Holter. I wasn’t too sure about this one and I didn’t get it exactly right because one of my lines was not quite bulbous enough, but I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

It was nice to do a smaller piece than I had been doing, going back to the standard 3.5″ square tile and just simply getting back to basics. It was also much quicker to complete. ;) Here is my tile before shading.

Swaddle Flowering on Seta ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere it is in natural lighting, albeit overcast but at least it stopped raining long enough for me to get it taken. ;)

nat seta swaddle flowering ~ Lifeofjoy.meOnce again, I am very thankful for shading! I followed one of LonettA’s variations and blackened in some of the arrowheads.

shaded seta swaddle flowering ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere it is in the natural evening cloudy lighting. ;)

seta swaddle flowering ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’m really pleased with how it turned out. I’m also very surprised with how the swaddle flowering turned out. The sample on pattern collections was in color and I think it really took away from the pretty flower aspect of the tangle.

Overall both these tangles were enjoyable and I would enjoy using them again. I hope this sparks your creativity and you give it a go as well.

Thanks for stopping by!

Michele ºÜº

Our Easter Food

Ham ~ Lifeofjoy.meI fixed the ham I’d gotten on clearance a few months ago (and froze) for most of us. We did not locate a turkey ham, so we got the turkey pastrami from the deli for Michael. Unfortunately we did not have any sukrin gold fiber syrup, so we combined the sukrin gold “brown sugar” with mustard for the topping. It was good. :)

I’d planned to get some Dreamfields’ spaghetti and break it up before cooking in ham broth to make noodles but our stores were out of stock. Thankfully I coerced my hubby into stopping at store on the other side of town on his commute. He came home with 4 boxes! :D

We had caulitaters in the stead of mashed potatoes, and fried green beans, which are always a hit at our dinner table.

Peanut Caramel Candy ~ Lifeofjoy.meI made a double batch of PayOff Day Candies, which were gone in 24 hours. (I cut each ‘bar’ into 3 or 4 pieces to encourage slower eatage. ;) ) I made the Easter Story Cookies, which I wrote about here. I also made Carolyn’s Boston Cream Poke Cake (from AllDayIDreamAboutFood and Swerve website) but it was too warm the first evening and then still wasn’t my favorite the next day when it was completely chilled. I think I’d like a THM Trifle better.

Of course the ham is a gift that keeps on giving. :) So we had Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole a few days later and lovely leftovers for several lunches. :)

I mention this now because it is after the holiday is over that I like to stop and see what worked and what didn’t so that I can make notes, in my bullet journal, for next year and thought maybe there were others that were making their notes as well.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Monthly Cycle

Sometimes a girl just NEEDS chocolate!

Brad and Kate over at One Flesh Marriage wrote a couple of good articles about understanding the woman’s monthly cycle and how important it is to communicate about it. I wish this information had been available to me when I was younger because I believe it would have helped us. Especially coupled with the herbs/supplements that I found.

So today I am sharing several links with you, to some short articles both on their site and mine. (The last 3 are mine.)

Although it doesn’t appear there are any new articles/posts over on One Flesh Marriage, they have an archive of over 500 posts. They have a nice style where one will write on a topic and then in another post the other will write on the same topic. It is nice to read things from both points of view. I recommend checking their site if you want some marital encouragement. :)

Well, I’m going to run. You have enough to help you with the wonderful and dreadful time of the month in those 5 posts. I urge you to go read them.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

A Crazy Week

sick emoji ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, it’s been a tough week here at Casa de Coates. :p Tiffany and Sean managed to get over the horrible nasty head cold thing only for Michael to be attacked by it Monday. Ugh! Working inside the home of people means that it is not a good idea to go and power through the running eyes and dripping nose, so he’s been home for several days. He should be fine by this evening or tomorrow morning at the latest, considering how the others fared.

And I really hope he is fine by Saturday morning so that Brian, Lauren, and Liam can come up! My birthday is the week before Mother’s Day and they won’t be able to make it either week, so they are planning to come up this weekend. :) Yay!!! Liam and Lauren have been fighting illness as well but seem to be doing better.

Lauren told me that Liam is liking kites right now, so I saw some at Dollar Tree a couple weeks ago and bought three. Then I saw a minion one this week and couldn’t resist getting it. So I hope it is nice this weekend and we can fly them while they are here. :)

Kites ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe third one is How to Train a Dragon. :) Again, I couldn’t resist. I thought the colors were very pretty on the rainbow geometric one and I love emojis too, so that is how I ended up with four kites. Besides, there will be seven of us, so four is about the right number of kites to have. ;)

I’m impressed. The package I ordered from Honoring Intimates arrived in just three business days. It came in a plain white box with H.I. for the return address. It was nicely packaged too. :) I hope you took advantage of the sale and discount code too.

Just a warning for anyone needing to get a driver’s license in Oklahoma, especially the Tulsa area: MAKE AN APPOINTMENT ONLINE!!! Oh! and make it in advance because they are booked just shy of a month out. Seriously!!! Ugh!

In the past we have been able to get there by 9:00 am and get the test at some point that day, generally before 3:00. Well not anymore people! We got there at 8:20 (they open at 8:00), the place was packed. I was prepared to sit down and enjoy the book I’d brought. However upon looking for the number to take found they had upgraded to an electronic kiosk and beside the kiosk was a sign that said they schedule was already full for driving tests. We promptly left.

Upon reaching the car we looked online to book an appointment to not have to go through this again, and found the first available appointment was MAY 21! Yep nearly a month away. Ugh! locco_smiley-7 I’m sorry but that is just nuts! Sounds like they need to hire more personnel to handle the need.

Well, that’s enough ranting for today. I hope you have a good weekend and I hope I do too. ;)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº


Wonderful Link for Activities for Littles

Toddler playing with mega blocks ~ Lifeofjoy.meOh my! The link I’m sharing with you today has soooo many activity ideas for you that I’m certain you can find some ideas to do with your little one, no matter how small. :)

The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide has several sections of links for activities for littles from babies to toddlers to pre-school to even school age children. This link will take you to the Toddlers Activities page but to find the others all you have to do is hover over Kids Activities on the menu bar and you’ll see the other options. On the toddler activities page you will see links to 150+ activities. Of course, there are some sensory bin ideas there too. :)

Well, my last piece of advice before you head over to check out the wealth of ideas is to encourage you to pick an idea or two that you can do this week and DO IT. Don’t become one that spends all her time researching and planning but actually follow through and DO. Be present for you little one and provide some wonderful learning opportunities for him/her.

Okay . . . go. ;) Toddler Activities

Michele ºÜº

Festina Lente 2019 Last Week

This is the last week of Festina Lente 2019. Actually it ended Sunday, Easter but I can’t share it on a Wednesday before it is finished so, I’m sharing today. :)

The theme this week is rainbow. The tangles are barberpole, 3-loops-6, fandance, mountain, and eez. The string is 13 from Tangle Patterns and the fragment is T5.

I ended up using the string for a string this week, unlike other weeks where I used it as a fragment/tangle. I have to admit I’m not a fan of the fragments. I guess fragments aren’t my thing. ;)

All the tangles were new to me, well all but barberpole. Although now that I think about it I might have done 3-loop-6 before for a challenge.

I didn’t think I’d like eez but it looks really cool when it is finished and it is really easy to draw. Mountain looks pretty cool too when it is finished. I didn’t care for it at first but liked it when it was complete.

Here is my piece before any shading.

#festinalente2019 unshaded ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere’s the picture in natural light before color or shading. Of course the it was a bit overcast.

#festinalente wk 7 bare ~ Lifeofjoy.meI added some shading with graphite and then added some watercolor pencils. I’m not very good with them yet, so I’m not really pleased with the final outcome. But here it is. My green went into the yellow a bit too much. :(

#festinalente week 7 ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere it is in natural (but overcast) light.

Rainbow wk 7 #festinalente ~ Lifeofjoy.meFor whatever reason my white jelly roll pen doesn’t seem to work very well. I had a hard time blending the colors too. Oh well.

I’ve enjoyed doing these larger pieces the last several weeks and I’ve enjoyed learning the new tangles. I’ll have to look back over the new-to-me tangles and incorporate some of them in future tiles.

I wish I had used the music links each week but the truth is that I usually tangle while the family is watching television–well, whatever DVD we’ve chosen for the evening. Throughout most of the last month we’ve been watching the TV series White Collar. I like the first seasons but not the last ones because I believe in redemption and that people can change.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you had a great Easter. I’ve been reading through the Gospels this month and have enjoyed refreshing the life of Jesus, His sacrifice for us, His resurrection, and His appearances after the resurrection in my mind. It was a good Easter, even though my family wasn’t feeling well and we were unable to go to church.

I hope you have a good week. Mine’s been busy and will be busy for the rest of it as well but good.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Pecan Meringues ~

Easter Story Cookes (Pecan Meringues)

I’m really desiring some Easter traditions. We did the whole basket thing when the kids were little but I’m wanting something else. So Saturday night I made the Easter Story Cookies before I went to bed so that they’d be fresh Sunday morning. :)

Here’s the link for the recipe WITH the story part to do with children. Since my kids are all adults now and my only grandson (so far) isn’t here, I just made the cookies. :) I made modified it to use sugar alternatives.

We liked them. The pecans really gave these substance. I’ll be sure to chop them a bit more finely next time.

And here’s how I did it.

Separated my eggs to get to room temperature before whipping (about 30 minutes).

Egg whites ~ Lifeofjoy.mePlaced my metal bowl and whisk in the freezer to chill.

Chill bowl and whisk ~ Lifeofjoy.mePreheated the oven to 300º (very important to do that first!).

Chopped the cup of pecans (can toast them for more flavor).

pecans cup ~ Lifeofjoy.mePut the vinegar (1 tsp) in the mixing bowl.

Vinegar ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdded 3 egg whites to mixing bowl.

Vinegar and Egg whites ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdded the pinch of salt. Then whipped until soft peaks formed.

Whip egg whites ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen gradually added in the sweetener and continued whipping until all sweetener was added and stiff peaks formed. I used 1 Tablespoon erithritol and a heaped teaspoon of stevia, powdered.

Whipped whites ~ LIfeofjoy.meThen gently folded in the pecans.

Fold in pecans ~ Lifeofjoy.meDropped onto silpat (could have used parchment paper) on cookie sheet and put them in the oven. Turned the oven off and got them out in the morning.

Meringues ~ Lifeofjoy.meI followed the link’s directions for ‘baking’ but they were a bit crumbly.Ester Story Cookies ~ LIfeofjoy.meI found several other directions on baking meringues. Next time I will bake at 225º for 20-25 minutes and then turn the oven off and leave it overnight.

Easter Story Cookes (Pecan Meringues)


  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of pecans chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon erithritol, powdered
  • slightly heaped stevia, powdered


  1. chill bowl and whisk while egg whites get to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 225º or 300º
  3. Put vinegar in chilled bowl and add egg whites.
  4. Blend to soft peaks.
  5. Begin adding in sweetener.
  6. Blend to stiff peaks.
  7. Fold in chopped pecans.
  8. Drop onto silpat or parchment paper and put in the oven.
  9. Option 1: turn off 300º oven and leave overnight.
  10. Option 2: bake on 225º for 20-25 minutes and then turn off oven and leave overnight.

I’ll definitely be making these again next year. :) I loved it even if the rest of the family didn’t understand why. ;)

Michele ºÜº