Behind the Scenes of One Mama's Life

2012 in 2012 – Weeks 8-9

Yikes! It’s been two weeks since my last update! But I have a really good reason: I had foot surgery last Friday. It should have been a simple surgery, but since it was on the foot, I can’t put weight on it while it heals, so I can’t walk for 2-3 weeks. The fact that it’s on my right foot means I can’t drive either. So life’s been a little complicated, yet a little boring for the last week! As a result, I’m going to be combining the last two weeks’ purges into one.

So, for both weeks, here goes:

  • 1 Pair of Socks
  • 1 Cell Phone
  • 4 Chargers

Thrown Away:

  • 4 Re-Usable Plastic Food Containers (re-used 3 of them again in an art project with plaster of paris)
  • 12 Pairs of Socks
  • 1 More Pair of Tights (Diva is hard on her tights!)
  • 2 Pairs of Underwear
  • 3 Adult T-shirts
  • 2 Adult Pairs of Pants
  • 2 Children’s Pairs of Pants
  • 1 Broken DVD
  • 5 Almost Empty Bottles of Old Cleaners
  • 1 Dish Washer Detergent Dispenser
  • 1 Tattered Shelf Liner
  • 1 Broken Glass
  • 4 Old Sponges
  • 3 Cracked/Broken Plates
  • 2 Expired Food Packets
  • 1 Broken Game
  • 2 Dried Out Bottles of Glitter Glue
  • 3 Broken Tokens
  • 1 Stack of Used Bulletin Board Letters


  • 2 Hoppy VanderHare Rabbits
  • 1 Thomas Waterfall Building
  • 4 Pieces of Switch Track
  • 2 Pieces of Wacky Track
  • 2 Pieces of Criss-Cross Track

As you can see, I did get some items listed on ebay before the surgery. I am thankful that I am able to print postage from the computer, and the postal carrier will just pick them up at the regular mail delivery time. My kids really helped me to get things packed up and out to the mail box. Thanks Diva and LegoFan! I did sell six other items, but they won’t go out until Monday, so I will wait and include them in next week’s totals I am hoping to get cleared to do a little more walking so I can get more items listed in the next week or two.


  • Donated: 6 Items
  • Thrown Away: 51 Items
  • Sold: 11 Items

Weeks 8-9: 1725 – 68 = 1657

Not too shabby for someone who has been cut open and laid up for a week!

With 43 weeks left in the year, I now must average 39 items per week. But I’m not sure how well I’m going to do this week while I’m still living on the couch – we’ll see!

2012 in 2012 – Week 7

Ok, I’m just squeezing this in on Saturday instead of Sunday; at least for some of you who live in later time zones (Hi Heather from Cali!)! This week is the first week that Saturday has rolled around and I looked over at my corner where I keep my donation pile for the week and said, “Ooops!” I had three things. So I spent part of my Saturday morning seeing what I could do to rectify that situation. It seems having the accountability of posting about this each week provides that proverbial ‘kick in the pants’ I sometimes need to get moving.
So here goes:
  • 3 Articles of Kids’ Clothing
  • 7 Articles of Adults’ Clothing

Thrown Away:

  • 2 broken Toys
  • 1 Pair of Socks
  • 1 Pair of Tights (Diva is hard on her tights!)
  • 1 Pair of Underwear
  • 4 Pairs of Nylons
  • 1 T-Shirt
  • 2 Broken Thermometers

I did not, as I had hoped, list or sell anything on ebay this week. But I did take some more pictures to be ready for a mad session or two of listings coming soon.


  • Donated: 10 Items
  • Thrown Away: 12 Items

Week 7: 1747 – 22 = 1725

Guess that’s what happens when you wait until the last day to work on your weekly project! I guess I’ve blown that ‘ahead of the game’ status I mentioned last week. But, the bottom line is that items are still leaving the house and we are still de-cluttering.

Until next week…


As this holiday season comes to a close with Epiphany, I find myself reflecting on how this last month or two went. As I think, I realize that this has been one of the best Christmases ever.

  • It wasn’t because I got the best gifts.
  • It wasn’t because we hosted the best parties.
  • It wasn’t even because we attended the best parties.
  • It wasn’t because we had the best clothes.
  • It wasn’t because all the food turned out great.

I am realizing that for the first time, I really put Christ in CHRISTmas.Here’s how:

  • We participated in Holy Heroes Advent Adventure;
  • We took my daughter’s doll cradle and some shredded paper (added for acts of kindness and sacrifice) and made a bed for Baby Jesus;
  • We wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a Manger;
  • We followed the genealogy of Jesus with a homemade Jesse Tree:
  • We celebrated the lives and Feast Days of some Saints who loved Jesus long before we were alive – we discovered we can learn a lot from their faith and example!
  • We made many of our gifts, removing ourselves from the malls (we did go to a couple of stores, but were determined not to participate in the madness);
  • We made Christmas Eve Mass a priority – it was something special – we arrived early and didn’t rush out. We lingered. We studied the beautiful Creche. Then we went home and read The Night Before Christmas, but the last thing we did as a family was to read the Nativity story from the Gospel of Luke.

It was such a beautiful time this year. There was no stress. There were no worries about the ‘perfect’ gift. There was just family and love. From the First and Holy family, to our immediate and extended family.

I am convinced now that this is a lot closer to the way things are supposed to be. It’s amazing that the more I let go of the way the world thinks I should do something, the more I feel at peace. How about you? How did you make your Christmas season centered more around Christ? Happy Feast of Epiphany!

Thrive90 – Final Results

I finished up the Thrive90 program a little over a week ago; and would have had my results posted earlier but Hurricane Irene blew through and we had no power. So, it took a few extra days to get the stats and photos ready. Not only that, our homeschool started up again and we’ve been a little busy.

Without further adieu…

Here are the results from the end of Phase II to the end of Phase III.

  • I lost another 3 pounds,
  • My waist was smaller by 1.25″,
  • My hips declined by 0.5″,
  • I saw 0.5″ less of my thigh,
  • My arm shrunk by 0.25″,
  • I doubled my pushups from 1 to 2 (laughable, I know),
  • My situps increased from 7 to 12,
  • Sit & Reach test for flexibility showed an increase of another 0.5″,
  • Wall Squat went from 15 seconds to 25,
  • I actually held the Static Plank for a full 60 seconds!

Ok, now for the overall results – from start to finish:

  • Total pounds lost: 8.6
  • Total inches gone from my waist: 3.0
  • Total inches gone from my hips: 2.5
  • Total inches gone from my thigh: 2.0
  • Total inches gone from my arm: 1.25
  • Total inches gone from my body: 8.75!!!
  • My pushups went from a pathetic ZERO to 2
  • My situps went from a pathetic ZERO to 12
  • My flexibility increased from 3″ to 7″
  • My Wall Squat started out at 4 seconds and increased to 25 seconds!
  • My Static Plank started out at 35 seconds and increased to 60 seconds!

One other stat that’s not on my fit test, but that I found significant was that I am now wearing one size smaller than when I began the Thrive90 program. Not only that, but it’s getting a little loose now – it won’t be long…

My final thoughts:

While I did not suddenly start enjoying working out, I did find that once I started each workout, I was fully engaged. I worked hard, no matter what the day’s video was.

The program is flexible. I was able to find a way to work out even with a sprained ankle that negatively effected me for three weeks (which explains my lower numbers for the end of Phase II).

There was a lot of variety within the workouts. Even though I was scheduled to do the same type of activity each week (ie. Tuesday was always Core work), the work out changed with each phase. In addition, there were a variety of workouts for each week: Core, HIIT, Strength, Cardio, Power Yoga. My entire body got a workout each and every day.

Tony and Dustin provided much support and cheerleading. I received encouraging emails each week – in fact, I miss those now that I’m done. They answered any question that I had within 24-48 hours. I also found support on the Fit Marriage Facebook page. These guys truly want to help people reach their goals!

Doing Thrive90 at home really helped me. I didn’t have to get in my car to go to the gym. I didn’t waste gasoline or time. I didn’t have to worry about whether or not I could do the exercises as well as other people – I could stop and start, if necessary. My kids were right there with me (cheering me on as well!); they did not have to go to daycare. The price was right – for what I paid (around the price of a one month membership to the gym), I got three months of workouts that I will always own and can do anytime I wish. But I got more than videos; I got support, a fit test, exercise forms, articles, and more. It was well worth it!

Finally, I want to give a shout out to both Tony and Dustin, co-creators of Thrive90:  You guys are amazing and you put together a great program! I thank you for helping me get started on my weight loss journey. I thank you for the support you have given me. I started this program “from the couch” and was able to complete it. You taught me some things I didn’t know and helped me to look and feel better. I will not forget this time, nor will I stop exercising. I will eventually move on to P90X!

Now to prove that I have not been making these numbers up, I am going to be brave and post photos. Please keep in mind that I was considered obese when I started, and Thrive90 is a three month program; so I am not going to look like I went from fat to thin. But what you will see is a definite difference – a definite improvement. It worked for me; it can work for you. If you have thought about a weight loss program, this may be the one for you. (Note: I am not a doctor and am not advising anyone to start a fitness program without consulting their physician first). Remember, I started “from the couch,” meaning that I had not exercised in ages. I spent my nights on the couch looking at the computer – it was not a pretty sight.

Am I stalling, you ask? Ok, so I’m babbling a bit too much. Please ignore the hair, it’s usually brushed and styled a little nicer. Here are those photos now…

I see a vast difference in my face; but I also see space between my arms and my hips that wasn’t there when I started. Thank you, Dustin and Tony!

* This is not a paid endorsement. I purchased the Thrive90 program from Fit Marriage. I did all the workouts provided and followed their schedule – these are my actual results and my own opinions. Some of the links are affiliate links as I truly believe in this product.

Calm After the Storm

I’m sure everyone’s done talking about Hurricane Irene; some feel it was hype, while others are still cleaning up. My thoughts and prayers are with those who got hit hard and are still struggling.

We were kind of in the middle – a huge amount of rain, many trees and branches down, and power outages galore. But for the most part, we were safe; and I am grateful.

But I want to talk about a different effect Irene had on me and my family. We got hit with a majority of our rain on Saturday night, into Sunday morning. Once the rains stopped, the wind didn’t. We made it through Saturday with only a few flickers; so we thought all was good. We were going to try to go to Mass at noon. However, that was not to be the case. The winds were just too strong for my car; and we decided we’d better not risk it.

We are fortunate to get the Catholic television station, EWTN, so we planned to participate in Mass via the TV. It’s not exactly the same, but we can hear the readings, participate in the prayers, and learn from the homily. Mass was due to be televised at noon, so we made plans to gather around the TV at that time. But that was not to be the case either.

The power went out at 10:49 am. It remained off until 1:30 pm on Monday. Then we had a fire in a transformer across the street and lost power again at 9:00 pm on Monday. It remained off again until sometime Wednesday afternoon. It was an interesting couple of days, but I want to get back to Sunday…

I had awoken early Sunday morning (probably due to loud wind gusts), and began the day reading my Bible. {I am participating in reading the Bible in 90 days} Then, when we couldn’t go to Mass, or even participate via TV, I gathered the kids around me and we did the Sunday readings ourselves – Diva wanted to do two of the readings herself {love that!} – and we prayed the Lord’s Prayer together. The rest of the day, even without power (and maybe because we didn’t have power), was one of the most peaceful days I have ever experienced.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my church and my faith; wouldn’t trade them for anything! But I spent so much of the day, in little chunks here and there, in God’s word, in prayer, and reading another book based in His word (I will be reviewing that book very soon, so come back and check it out – you’re gonna wanna read this one!!!).

There was no work; only rest. There was no noise; only peace and quiet (ok, the kids weren’t exactly quiet all day, but you know what I mean). We read, we prayed, we laughed together. It was a wonderful day – it was a Sabbath.

Now that I’ve re-stocked the fridge and freezer, and cleaned up parts of the yard; it’s time to get ready for TS Lee and TS Katia – they should converge on our area very close to one another, between Thursday and Saturday.

We’ll head to Mass in the morning as usual this week, but as these two storms approach, I can’t help but wonder what next weekend has in store for us…

This post is being linked to Building Our Homes Together.


* This post is being linked to Home Sanctuary‘s Company Girl Coffee and Prairie Flower Farm’s Building Our Homes Together.

When I think about Homes and Sanctuary, I think of Beauty. When we first had to move to where we are now (back in October), I was not entirely happy. We had to leave a very rural area with a large yard & garden on a very private street, to a whole new county with smaller everything. We no longer had a private street and silent nights.

We now live near a military base where things are regularly exploded. We now live near a railway and a fire station. This combination can make for very noisy periods; and noise can drown out beauty – if you let it. The noises that made me cry the first night here, are now so routine, that I barely notice them.

I was worried when we moved here that we would not have the wildlife that we were used to seeing. Boy, was I wrong – the wildlife has just changed. Before, we had wide open spaces, so we saw many deer and large birds. We were near cattle and horse farms so we saw many large animals. Here, we have trees, so we see squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, chipmunks, and many varieties of small birds.

Spring came; so did the flowers and baby animals. Our landlord did an amazing job of planting so many surprises that each week seems to bring something new. While I’m not as good as catching wildlife on film, I have gone on a tour of my yard this week and captured much beauty in our flowers.

For the most part, I have no idea what these flowers are, I just thought they were beautiful. I hope you enjoy:

I think this is Echinacea.

At first, I thought the black spots were part of this flower, but upon closer inspection, I found that they were ants!

The hummingbirds love this one – they can only see the color red!

Here’s a close-up of those flowers – love all the colors in this!

I love that God gave us so much functional beauty in this world! Ya know, it wasn’t until I studied botany with my children, that I learned just how important flowers are! Either I didn’t pay enough attention in school, or I was never taught how God created these beauties to benefit us in more ways than just to appeal to our eyes. Without flowers, we wouldn’t have many of the fruits and vegetables we rely on for nourishment. I didn’t know.

God is an incredible designer – His palette is truly amazing!

Lessons in the Kitchen

We homeschool. That doesn’t mean that we have just moved a classroom into our home. It means we learn at home. And there are many additional important lessons that can be learned while at home. Don’t get me wrong, we still learn the required subjects, it’s just that we can also learn by living our daily lives.

Today we have new neighbors moving in across the yard. They are moving into a house that is owned by the same landlord who owns ours, so we had a little notice about the move. I wanted to take the opportunity to teach my daughter a few things about hospitality and generosity.

Yesterday we got out our paper and rubber stamps and made welcome cards. We had fun creating together, learning that bringing a smile to someone else is fun.

Today, I decided that we should make some brownies to take over with our cards. but then I remembered something else. I have been couponing for about a year now, and one of the things I learned when I first got started was to always give back (thanks, Claire!). I also remembered what it was like for the first week or so when we moved in – difficult to find everything necessary to put a meal together. So, I combined the two ideas and decided to create a ‘meal basket.’

Diva and I got together and made some brownies. We doubled the recipe so the kids could have some later too, so I took the opportunity to reinforce some math as well. Since she is working on fractions, I asked her how much flour I would need if one recipe called for 2/3 c, then I told her that I had already added 1 c of flour and asked how much more I needed. It was fun, and I let her lick the spatula at the end!

While the brownies were baking, we made some biscuits – I forgot to take a picture of that – oops! Then we took the bottom of a cardboard box and covered it with tissue paper. We inserted two square paper plates for the bottom and began to fill it. We added spaghetti sauce, pasta, biscuits, some peach jam I made last summer, the brownies, and the cards.

While it certainly isn’t everything they’ll need, it is a good start to a home-cooked meal. I am so grateful to God for these little opportunities to model true Christian behavior to my daughter. I hope and pray that these lessons don’t get lost over time. I pray that she will fondly remember spending time in the kitchen with Mama, practicing fractions, learning baking skills, and loving thy neighbor.

Now if I can just contain her excitement as she continues to look out the window eagerly anticipating her new friend’s arrival – you see we found out they have a little girl just about her age…

This post is being linked to Titus 2sday over at Time-Warp Wife

Happy Birthday

Today, October 9th, is a special day in our house. Nine years ago today, I gave birth to my first-born son. To say it was a traumatic experience would be an understatement. I was due on September 30th and they finally brought me in on October 8th for an Amniotic Fluid Index (AFI). They found absolutely no fluid and told me that I would have to stay. I asked them to tell me how big my son was, but the technician told me that she wasn’t allowed to check as it was not on the doctor’s orders. I was induced shortly thereafter and was then in labor for 25 hours. Toward the end of that time, the doctors tried to assist my son with forceps – boy was he stubborn! At that point both my blood pressure and my son’s began to drop. While I didn’t want to do it, I was told I had to have an emergency c-section. When I was finally able to hold my son in my arms, I was informed that he was 11 pounds, three ounces; and 23 1/4 inches long. His head circumference was over 15 inches! The doctor told me that even if they had been able to get his head out that they would not have been able to get the rest of him out without breaking his collarbone. So, I am very grateful for the way God worked it out to protect my son. The nurses told me that he was the second largest child to ever be born at that hospital! Now, if that technician had just looked at his size during that AFI…

But fast forward nine years… He has continued to grow, just coming back on the charts last year, but still in the 95-98th percentile in height. We’ll see where he is officially next week at his annual appointment. He is an intelligent, happy young man who makes me smile and laugh on a daily basis. Though we struggle with allergies, asthma, Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD, none of that gets him down. He smiles, he laughs, he imagines, he creates – he absolutely amazes me.

I love you, my son, thank you for making me a Mama.

I love, my God, thank you for blessing me with my son. Thank you for trusting me with his upbringing.

Happy Birthday!


I know – two posts in one day when I have only posted sporadically in the past!

I was recently over at To Love, Honor and Vacuum and Sheila is doing a month-long challenge on simplifying one’s life. Like my last post, this is something that has been time perfectly (isn’t God good that way?) for me and my family. As we organize, pack and move (then do the same in reverse order) simplifying is something we need to do. We began with yard sales and actually raised a little money while de-cluttering the house. Now that the move is imminent, we have begun donating truck-fuls to a Rescue Mission and Salvation Army. It feels good knowing that our things will be helping others in addition to helping us pare down.

So I thank Sheila for doing this during the month of October – Simplify Your Life Month!


Last night my daughter, Diva, made her first Reconciliation with a group of other young people at church. They did a short prayer service as a group and then divided up to go to different areas. Diva wanted to have her first confession heard by a certain priest but he was unavailable last night. So acting like the angel she can sometimes be, she was very agreeable and was blessed to be assigned to our pastor who heard Littleman’s first confession as well.

The theme for the evening was that of the Good Shepherd (Luke 15:4-7). After the Gospel was read, Msgr. began a short homily. Shortly after he began, Diva turned to me said, “That’s like a sin!” Any fears I had about her readiness faded away. She understood.

As we sat in the pew, her excitement grew. They were called to line up at their assigned confessional. She got in line and turned back toward me. She smiled, blew me a kiss and flashed the sign (ASL) for “I love you.”

Littleman and I began to pray for her. We prayed until she came out. When she did, she was all smiles. After her penance, she turned to me and said she felt great! She also said she wanted to do it again and asked if she could go tomorrow! I told her she could go any time she wanted, but just not to start sinning on purpose so that she would have something to confess!

To top off the beautiful evening, she met up with a friend at the exit. They shared their excitement of the sacrament and compared recently lost teeth. All-in-all ~ a perfect evening! I love you, Diva!


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