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

Egg, Sausage, and Veggies

I wish I had a cutesy name for this dish but I don’t. You may recall me sharing Eggs and Zucchini before and it is still a favorite, but sometimes I want a little more pizazz from my breakfast, so here is what I came up with.

I finely diced a medium zucchini and put it into a frying pan with a little bit of oil.

Zucchini Hash ~ Lifeofjoy.me(It wasn’t quite this much but this picture gives you an idea, since I failed to take step by step pictures the other day. ;) )

I added some finely diced onion and diced mushrooms too. Seasoned with salt and pepper.

When it was nearly as done as I like them, I added about 2 ounces of bulk pork sausage, pinched off in smallish bits.

Then cooked it until it was nicely browned. :)

I scooted it all to the side and added a little more oil (or butter) to the pan and fried one egg.

When the veggies and sausage were done I put them on a plate, added a bit of nutritional yeast, and then topped it all with my fried egg (over easy).

Since I had the sausage, I only had one egg because I’m in that stage of my life when I need to be cautious about how much protein I should be eating to lose weight.

Egg, Sausage, and Veggies


  • medium zucchini
  • slice of onion
  • 2-3 mushroom
  • about 2 ounces sausage
  • egg
  • butter or oil


  1. Dice the veggies and add to a skillet with about a teaspoon or so of oil or butter.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.
  3. Add sausage to the veggies.
  4. When nearly done, clear way to fry the egg.
  5. Serve with the cooked egg on top of the cooked veggies and sausage.
  6. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast, if desired.

I hope you enjoy this yummy way to eat some veggies for breakfast.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Added Benefit of Visitors

It’s good to have company come over. Yes, the obvious reason is for some good fellowship. But there is another good reason in my house. ;) It makes me clean a little bit better, a little bit deeper. :)

Our long-time friends are coming next week for a good visit. We are sooo excited because it has been a couple of year since we’ve been together. It’s always fun just being with each other. We may not do much with things the way they are right now, but we will have some good times.

However this also means that the room they’ll be staying in must be cleaned up. It’s become a catch-all for everything. We started moving bookshelves around MONTHS ago and have not completed the process and thus there are stacks of books and empty boxes and who know what else cluttering up that space. It will be soooo nice to have it back in some semblance of order again. :)

Even when company doesn’t stay overnight, we tend to tidy up a little bit more when someone different comes to the house for a visit. Yes, I wish I were the type of person that would just keep things immaculate but I’m just not that person. ;) So it is an added benefit to having someone over–a cleaner house.

Hmmmm, maybe I should pretend we’re having company every week. ;) :D

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Deals, Good Friends, Yummy Salad, and Cleaning Up

It’s been a good week I guess. ;) Chicken breasts were only $1.48 at Winco this week in Tulsa, but we HAD to wear a face covering. Tiffany and I choose to wear scarves instead of face masks. These are thinner and we can breathe better and they are prettier too. ;)

Tiffany found an outside blanket for only $5 in the clearance section at Walmart. She will use it in the car when taking one of her dogs somewhere, like the lake or park or something. It was 50% off, so that was cool.

I had an emotional breakdown the other day because I’m just done being this weight!!! Yep, it was not good but kicked me in the gut enough to make me be more serious and have less splurging going on. So we are making it a point to exercise at least 5 days a week and eat lower calorie foods. We’re still doing THM (Trim Healthy Mama) but just renewing our mindfulness to how much we are eating, how often we are eating, and choosing the lighter options.

My commitment was tested when I went to lunch with my friend Gwin this week. It’s hard to believe that we’ve known each other for ten years now. Much has changed in these last ten years but we are still friends.

We ate at Braum’s. I figured that if I ate a light lunch before I left the house I could just get a sugar free ice cream there but as it turned out, my breakfast at eight lasted until nearly one o’clock. I opted to get a salad instead of one of the yummy burgers. It was their Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad.

It had some blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, grilled chicken, almonds, carrots, cabbage, spinach, and romaine lettuce. It also came with packaged croutons, saltines, and no fat cottage cheese. The dressing was in a pouch, so you could add as much or as little as you desired. Well the in the first five ingredients there were three forms of sugar, so I opted to use only a tiny bit (maybe a teaspoon) on top. I added the cottage cheese to the salad too. It was quite good. :)

For those on THM, it was an E salad because of the fruit and the chicken was lean, so it fit the parameters. I just stayed away from the croutons and crackers.

We had a great visit. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a good chat, so it was extra nice. Tiffany and her friend came by and got some ice cream cones (Tiff’s was sugar free but probably not the best choice ;) ) and sat with us for a little bit. Gwin is a trip!

I remembered at the last minute that I needed to take a picture and handed the phone to Tiffany. This is the result . . .

She’s fun to be with and I’m so glad to have her as a friend. :)

Well, we are supposed to use our rain passes at the water park this weekend. I hope it is a nice day, we have fun, and it isn’t too crowded. :)

Oh, I have been working on cleaning up the craft room this week and it looks worse than when I started! :o You know how that works, right? I’m getting rid of some of the things that I don’t need or use any more but they are now occupying floor space instead of the shelf space they were taking up. It’s just frustrating to have a bigger mess than when I started but it is necessary. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway. ;)

We have some dear friends coming next weekend and I’ve got to get things straightened up enough for them to have a decent place to sleep. So I’m on kind of a dead line and I’ve gone out of the house more this week than I have in a while. :D

I hope you have a good weekend. I’m hoping to see my parents at some point this weekend too. I’m missing them; it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been able to visit with them.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Ask First ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Teaching Children and Teens How to Make Requests

I mentioned on Monday needing to remember that sometimes Michael (my husband) asks me if I want to do something when what he really means to ask is would you do this with me. Well, since that reminder, I’ve realized that sometimes my grown children will do the same thing.

Recently Tiffany asked me if I wanted to go to the lake that today. I asked her, are you asking if it is something I want to do or if I would go with you because it is something you want to do. Thankfully, she was really wanting to know if I wanted to do it that day and I could truthfully answer, no. :D

This is something that I hadn’t thought about teaching before. So I thought I’d break down how requests should be made.

  • May I ________ (play video games)?
  • May we _______ (go to the park)?
  • Would you please_______________ (scratch my back)?
  • I’d like to _____ (go shopping) , would you please go with/take me? OR
  • I’d like to _____ (go for a walk), would you like to _____ (go) with me?


It is very mature to ask if someone would like to do something, but that doesn’t always make for clear communication. It also leaves the requestor open to hurt, if the person asked doesn’t desire to do what was requested.

It’s important to instruct teens especially, to ask for what they desire, rather than hint at what they want and expect the person to figure it out and offer. Especially if the teen will have hurt feelings if the outcome is not as they desired.

I hope I’m clear with this. If not, please ask in the comments and I’ll try to clear it up. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Final Zen-Untangled Tile

Well, this is the final week of the Zen-Untangled Project over on Tangle All Around facebook group with Alice Hendon. It’s been great learning all of the current official tangles. I don’t yet have the all down but I’ve done tiles every week.

Throughout this project I’ve learned something about myself; actually I reaffirmed something about myself. ;) It is hard for me to do something every single day, even if I really like that something. And I am more motivated to do things when I have a commitment. In this case, although I enjoy tangling, I don’t take the time to do it every day but am always glad that I make myself do something artsy every week. :)

I’m looking forward to playing with the retarder I got for the acrylic paints and do some more Bob Ross painting. :) So Wednesday posts may vary a bit in the coming weeks. ;)

This week the tangles were Vitruvius, Umble, Vega, Man-o-man, Schway, and Emingle. I have done four of these but Vega and Vitruvius were ones I have not done before. And I’ll admit, I didn’t really like Schway before. Well, actually, I don’t think I really liked any of these. :D

This week the string is very wavy and with so many blocky tangles, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Here’s the string.

I chose to use Vega and follow the snake-like line line. Then I chose to use Schway  in the background on the left and then some Vitruvius in one of the curves.

Here’s the scan and then a picture taken outside in natural overcast light.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to shade this with heavy black bits but think it turned out alright. :)

Well that’s it for this project and for my post this week. :) I hope one day I will actually complete the project as Alice intended, creating a tangled keepsake and instructions for all the official Zentangles.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Pizza Roll (Stromboli)

It is crazy hot here in Oklahoma, which is natural for July but makes the house very hot if I cook as usual. So I’ve been trying to use the Ninja Foodi more and I have to say, I’m loving it!

I found a recipe a few weeks ago that baked bread in it. Yep, bake is one of the settings. :) We love pizza but it is just too hot to heat the oven up to 425º to make it. So I thought maybe I can make a bread with pizza flavors in it and then we can just bake it in the Ninja Foodi.

So Saturday morning I started the sourdough pizza dough. :) We love sourdough pizza dough. After it had risen the requisite 5-6 hours, it was time to form it and let it raise the remaining 1-2 hours before baking.

Unfortunately I had a pretty bad headache and had to lay down. However, Tiffany and Michael rose to the challenge and proceeded to finish off dinner. Now I was planning to make more of a loaf of bread but Tiffany didn’t understand that and instead made more of a stromboli.

They started by patting the dough out. It was supposed to be in a long rectangle but the picture they took seems to look more like a large circle.

Then a thin bit of pizza sauce.

Then it was topped with some low fat toppings. We used some turkey pepperoni and a couple of strips of turkey bacon.

Normally we would have added 2 ounces of low fat mozzarella cheese but we didn’t have any, so Tiffany added a few crumbles of colby-jack cheese (which may have been a little too much fat but it just made it a light crossover, if so).

Then we add some fat free cheese. It’s our personal choice. ;) And rolled it up.

Clearly, it fit into the foodi nicely and it could handle another half batch of dough when we need it. ;)

We baked it on 400º for about 20 minutes. I’ll need to look into how to keep it from getting quite so dark though.

We sliced it . . . it was a bit crusty. ;) But oh so good! We served it with more pizza sauce, for the drier bites.

Over all, it was a good first attempt. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

How He Asks and How I Respond

Today I just share a reminder. Even though I have known for several years that when Michael asks me if I want to do something, he is really meaning to say would I do the thing. For example, if he asks me do I want to take a walk, he means would I take a walk with him. It is a subtle difference but really a big difference.

The first is asking if it is something I want to do, for which I answer according to my desire. The second is asking if I would do it with him. I am always more willing to do something for or with Michael, even if I am tired.

And even though I know all this, I still sometimes fail to remember this and respond appropriately.

So the reminder is to remember how your spouse asks for things and respond accordingly. ;) I know I needed the reminder.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Incredible Pizza Tulsa ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Incredible Pizza Fun

I like miniature golf but it is way too crazy hot in Oklahoma to play outside. Several years ago we went to an indoor neon mini golf  with Brian and Lauren and really enjoyed it. Then a couple years ago when our friends came we for a week, we went to Incredible Pizza in Tulsa to play their indoor mini golf; it too was neon but not nearly as cool as the one we played in McAlester.

Any way, we needed something fun to do when we went to Edmond to celebrate Brian’s birthday and Incredible Pizza was the winner–mostly because of the mini golf. ;) We went for dinner because they have a deal where you buy an $18 game card and get the buffet for 99¢. Yeah, that’s pretty good for dinner. :D

I promise, I wasn’t mad at all. :D I’m just not very photogenic. I did not eat on plan at all. I did eat a salad but I decided to just have fun and eat whatever I liked. Unfortunately, I ate a little bit too much. :D Oh well, live and learn.

After we ate, we played mini golf. Yes, it is a bit expensive for just eight holes ($4.50 or $4.00) but it was fun and we weren’t outside in the sweltering heat. ;)

Lauren beat us all this time! She even got a hole-in-one on the last hole! :D Unfortunately they didn’t have score cards, so we used my phone and just kept a running tally of what we girls scored. The guys played together a hole ahead of us.

Those are my girls! Love them to bits.

After we finished that, Brian and Liam played a game together.

He was having soooo much fun!

Then the guys and Tiffany played the virtual reality game. It too was expensive but they really really enjoyed it.

At one point they were all down on their knees. :D

We played the mini bowling and we all played different arcade games. Lauren and I played some air hockey (I won ;) ). I always enjoy air hockey and skeeball, which we also played. I’m not really any good at any of it but I had fun.

Michael and Liam both rode motorcycles and were in the same game together. So fun!

There really wasn’t anything I wanted to play, so I took Liam over to the kids ride section and let him ride.

There was one that we both did together too.

It was a fun day and we enjoyed ourselves. It wasn’t crowded at all, which was nice. And it was nice and clean.

After we left there we checked into the hotel and went for a swim. It was a good bit of exercise. ;) I took a book with me and enjoyed reading it after showering.

We had the air conditioner set pretty low because we all like to sleep in the cooler temperatures. It was a good thing because a storm came through and knocked out the electricity for about two hours! Consequently we did not roast.

I’ve stayed at this hotel before and remember the beds being a bit softer. Of course that was quite a few years ago. This time the beds were quite firm! Ugh!

We had hoped to swim before checking out in the morning but they don’t open the pool until nine. We decided to go get a little something to hold us over until brunch with Brian, Lauren, and Liam and were extremely glad that they were treating us to brunch because there was NO hot food. Yep, no sausage, biscuits, waffles, bacon, or eggs. Just some muffins, fruit, quick oats, cold dry scones, and cereal.

We met them at Neighborhood Jam and had a delicious breakfast! The Heap was delicious (not on plan but delicious)! I got pulled pork as my choice of meat on top of my hash browns with pico, avocado, cheese, and a biscuit with two eggs over easy on the side, by request — usually the eggs are served on the same plate. It was scrumptious! I think everyone enjoyed their breakfast. (I wrote a bit more about the wonderful food at Neighborhood Jam here.)

It was a really good time spent with family and look forward to next time.

Oh, we did end up going to the water park with my sister and her girls but it rained and we got day passes to use another time. At least we had about 45 minutes in the pool before we had to leave. The kids went down the slides, over the obstacle course, and down the lazy river at least once before the siren blew to get out of the water.

We got out and ate our lunch before it started to actually rain and then moved to the car. We sat out there for about another half hour before we could get our passes. It was nice to visit together and look forward to working out a time to use those day passes without a threat of rain. =))

Well that’s it for me today. I hope you have a good weekend. No clue what we are doing but I’ll enjoy myself, whatever it is. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº