Saturday, December 10, 2016

God Has A Funny Way of Answering Prayers

Greetings, Chaotics!
*Disclaimer: I wrote this over a month ago. I am SO sorry that I totally forgot to publish it!*

Today, I want to talk about answered prayers. As you know, God and I have a....very interesting relationship when it comes to our form of communication(prayer and answers to prayer). And how it has to do with all the events of the past 24 hours.

Sometimes, I'll pray for something specific and in His time, I get it, exactly how I asked. These sort of prayers are pretty cool to see, because I feel like God is really interested in someone as totally boring as me. That God...dare I say? Really cares about lil' ol' me. I know people say parent's don't pick favorites and all that jazz, but when this happens, it feels like God is saying., "You're my favorite!".

Sometimes, I'll pray for something specific and...hear nothing back. These are often the most frustrating, because I feel like I'm praying God's will for my life, but then even the crickets are quiet and I realize...whoops, nope, that's just me treating God like some genie in the sky instead of the Maker of my soul. Then I have to back track, which usually means that God needs to work on something in me.

Sometimes, I'll pray(crazy as it sounds) over a situation that's on my heart and that God just does what He wants in it. Usually, this happens after Sometime #2 happens and I haven't really come to the point that it's me, but I'm just tired of dealing with it on my own strength. These are my "wild card" prayers because I think I know what God is going to do, and sometimes He does it just as I think He will, but most times He doesn't and it knocks my socks off in amazement. In some instances, He'll answer more than one prayer at a time and then I'm just totally flabbergasted because, well, that's pretty awesome and woah, he's blessing me in more than one way!

Well, these past few months, I've had my stepchildren on my heart. Call it the Holy Spirit, Motherly intuition or whatever you want, but they have been on my heart. For those who know me well, this was sort of a shock in itself. My stepchildren are NOT fond of me, and, although I love them, I didn't them. So, they weren't usually on my mind or heart because they weren't my children. Until the past few months.

Because of the awkward position I was in(stepmother, not exactly fond of their mother), I kept my distance and did what I could....I prayed.

I prayed for their safety, because something in my heart said something's not right. 
I prayed for their family to come to know God, because, well, despite our feelings towards one another, I really don't want the children to be separated from God. I wanted all of them to know and love God.
I also prayed, and I don't fully know why, that if their mother was for some reason not being a good mother to them, according to God's standard and not my own(because I am human and flawed just like everyone else) that we would get full custody of them. But if that was not God's will that God will bridge a better relationship between all of us so I wouldn't have to punch her in the throat, I mean, so that my husband wouldn't feel divided between us and them.
As you all know, I have also been praying for more children. I thought God would open the door for us to have some of our own. And maybe He will. But as it stands, He hasn't. With this particular prayer, first I prayed for Him to miraculously open my womb. After a year of that not happening, I started to pray that God would provide the money for the surgery I need to reverse my unfertility. After a year of that not happening, I finally started praying my "wild card" prayer, just saying, "Look, God, you know I want more kids. I don't care HOW you do it- adoption, in-vitro, miraculously opening my womb, blessing us with the money to do the surgery, or if you just drop some kids on our doorstep. I really don't care anymore. I feel like kids are missing from our family and I want Your will to be done in it. So, do it however you think is best."
After months of no response, I assumed things were fine. The stepchildren were being kept safe, I was worried for nothing. And God was working on something in me to prepare my heart for more children. That He was showing me that He and I needed to have more heart-to-hearts on some issues because, He wasn't done with me yet. I was okay with this.
But then....
My husband got a call. First, a call from Utah, which was weird, because we know no one in Utah.
A few minutes later, a call from the children's grandmother. She wasn't sure what was all going on, but the kids may need to stay with us soon. Their mother had done some things and she may or may not get arrested for them. She'd call once she knew more.

My husband started to shake his head. "It was only a matter of time," he said.
I said, "let's not jump the gun, we don't know anything yet. Let's wait and see."

A few hours later....another call from their grandmother. We need to make arrangements to get them ASAP. Their mother was being arrested, CYS was involved, and her and her husband couldn't handle all three of the grandchildren. Could we take hubby's two?

God has a funny way of answering multiple prayers, doesn't He?

We drove the almost three hours to get to them. We were told the grim story of what the grandmother had just found out less than a day before, as well as what she and her husband had to deal with the past several months. I tried hard not to say too much, but once we had found out everything....something just overtook me.
Do you know what it was?
That crazy thing called Godly love.

Suddenly, these kids weren't just "hubby's kids that for some reason hate me." They were children that God loved and had a purpose for. They were children that God would do anything for. They were children that, for whatever reason, were dealt a crappy blow because their mother has mental health issues and couldn't seem to adult like what I assumed was the rest of us.
It didn't matter anymore if they hated my guts. It was of no concern to me that we may not get along.
God was answering the prayer of my heart. He was blessing me with more children. They were no longer "the woman we do not speak of" 's kids, they were now OUR kids. God said, "These are now YOUR babies." I get misty-eyed each time I think of it.
 Would I of imagined, in my wildest dreams, that I'd be blessed with two children that have had to process more dealing with their mom than most of us do in our entire lifetime? Did I ever envision myself in this way, once seeing them as "little heathen"(Oh, if only I had really sought God during our first two summers instead of trying to handle it all on my own! How much more understanding I'd have!) and now, as MY babies, who I love and would do anything for? Could I ever perceive that I, the person who wanted to do as little as possible with them, now has a mother bear instinct towards them, can't imagine life without them....?
God has a very, very funny way of answering prayers.
But do you know what?
I'm so glad He does.

Until Next Time,
~Mama Jenn

I don't know what the future holds for our family, as Papa and "the woman we do not speak of" battle it out in the court system. I do, however, know Who does :) . Regardless of the outcome, I will continue to do my best with these kids, and bathe them, and this whole situation, in prayer. I don't usually ask for prayer, but considering the circumstances, it would mean a great deal to us if anyone out there reading this would send up a prayer on our behalf. Thanks, and until next time...~Mama

Thursday, October 13, 2016

When Was This "Not Enough"?

Greetings again, Chaotics.
Lately, I have been feeling....discontent with my life.
I had fallen away from my Stepford ways.
I stopped trying to lose weight.
My journey towards debt freedom was lonely and stale.
Our homeschool "day" was literally taking a good chunk of our day.
My husband started talking even MORE on homesteading, which, at one time excited me, but on top of everything else, made me feel even more overwhelmed.
And then, out of the blue...

I got a call for a job I had applied at two months ago. A job I applied at because, at the time, I knew I could get it. A job that, at the time, I only wanted because I was angry at my husband.

I asked my husband what I should do. A large part of me dared hope that this would be the ONE time he put his foot down and said, "NO!" and command me not to do something. That he would see how very overwhelmed I already was with homeschooling, how much of a failure I felt at tackling our budget, how tired I already was between home and church activities.

Maybe he did. But, instead, he said in a tired voice, "Do what you think is best. I'll support you no matter what you decide."
Any other time, I would have been thrilled to hear these words. But that day, those were the last words I wanted to hear.

So, I took the job. Not because I wanted to, but because I figured maybe this was God opening up a door for me to finally do something right(tackling debt). I prayed on it, and when I heard no response from God, no sign on the side of a dumpster, I took it as God was just saying, "Do I REALLY need to say anything? Just take the stinkin' job!".

In minutes, I realized...the people at this particular location are not the same as those in another location I worked at. There was no friendly chatter, no talking about their lives, no joking about...anything. I thought maybe it was because I was new, and everyone was a bit uneasy around me. But after two weeks, I barely got three half sentences about their life beyond the job.

No biggie, I reasoned. It's just a job until I become debt free. Work and go home. 

In two weeks, I realized, these people take their jobs a bit more seriously than my previous location. And that, if we're being totally honest, I could really care less. We're not getting serious bucks to take this job that seriously. Most of us are barely above poverty line for income. We're not getting paid according to our passion for the company. We're getting paid because we don't have the(fill-in-the-blank) to do a higher-income job.

But I digress.

I have called off twice in two weeks. I want to feel bad about it(especially considering I've only called off twice in one whole year at my other location!), but I really don't. They are already trying to gently tell me, I could do better. And, truth be told, I know I could. But, at the expense of what, exactly? And to please...who, exactly??

I woke up the other morning, still recovering from a stomach bug, and these words graced my brain-
 When was this "Not Enough"?

As I cleared my mind of cobwebs, I got pen to paper and started pouring out what was swirling around in my brain.

When was this "Not Enough"? 
Today, I'm home with some sort of belly bug. I worked less than two weeks and I'm ready to quit. 
What happened? Well, I got this job because I had said something wasn't enough. 
Papa Bear's bringing home more than he's ever bought home-yet because he still takes out cash advances, I said it's not enough.
Papa Bear kept adding to my plate of responsibilities. Instead of rising to the challenge, I ran away and said, "this is TOO MUCH, I've had enough!"...but instead of easing my own load, I added something else. 
My children weren't content with the rate things were going. Instead of telling them to suck it up, buttercup, I said in agreement that all we're blessed with is not enough.
Instead of wisely managing what I do have, I kept spending like money was water. I said it wasn't enough. 
I was tackling most of the finances. Instead of proving to Aaron that it all could be done, I foolishly started wasting--then yelled at him for overspending because I had hoped the money remaining would cover what I blew. I said neither one of us were enough.
When did I lose my joy in homemaking? When I realized it wasn't progressing us, when I said what I did, what God entrusted to me, wasn't enough. 
It infuriates me that I got a belly bug...that I got a job outside the realize, I hate having to cater to someone that's not within my home's schedule, I hate not being the queen of all domesticated duties, I hate not being the boss of my own hours and days. I'm mad at myself that I could care less about this job, the service, about pleasing the very people who authorize my paycheck. 
I got this job to pay off prove to someone out there I was taking this debt thing seriously. But who am I kidding? I could of done that at home, being more mindful over Papa's money. 
It's not proving anything to Papa(**Side note- that night, he confessed it did. I'll explain below**). He's still spending money on the road. It's not proving anything to my kids. Except the complete opposite--how I value money over them. 
It's not proving to my debt journey friends a thing- they're not here. 
I feel like the biggest hypocrite in the world. I WAS a proud homemaker, I would constantly preach to other women what a joy it was  is  to be a homemaker. Now I'm embarrassed and horrified at the thought of someone I know seeing me at my job location. Now I'm falling behind in my housework. Now Papa and the kids are having to pick up the slack. Now I'm not sure if I want to keep going at this job.....

I stopped at that point because I started crying. I felt like such a fool. Someone, something had gifted me with this teach me a lesson. It wasn't about the money. It wasn't about proving something to, well, anyone. It was about ME. It was MY stinkin' thinkin' that needed to change. I was at my tipping point and the job was just the straw that broke this camel's back.

My husband and I had a talk that night. I really wasn't going to say anything. I was just going to suck it up and deal with it. I had taken the job, I was just going to need to learn to deal with it. But out of nowhere, my husband mentioned he was trying again to not spend a dime on the road. He was three days in, and he said, he was trying his best. He wanted next pay to be the pay he shows me a paycheck without advances taken out. The jaded part of me wanted to say nothing, to inwardly roll my eyes...because how many times have I heard that?!?. But I shut that hussie up and said words of congratulations. He then said something else....he noticed how he had been looking at the big picture(which, he had been lately-only thinking of our dream home without really thinking how we'd get there,etc.), and realized if he wanted to get to that place, that he had to take steps in the here and now to try and get there. As he said it, "I've been looking at the map but wondering why I keep tripping over rocks!".
Well, I started crying again. I told him how I hated this job, how I wanted O-U-T, how I discontent I was about not meeting any goals. He said he noticed, and that he wasn't sure why on earth I even took this job, my plate was already full, didn't I see how much what I WAS trying to do meant to him, to the kids, to our family? He then said how taking this job was the slap in the face he needed. He remembered how he promised me that as long as he was alive and able to work any job, that once we got married, I'd NEVER take another job outside the home. He knew then how much of a desire to be a homemaker for me was, but once he saw me at it(and not, you know, doing it Peggy Bundy style like his ex-wife did), realized how much he needed it, too. He didn't want me having to divide my time between a job that could really care less about me as an individual and a family that saw me as an essential part of making it work. That it is I who really makes our house a home, and without me fully devoting myself to it, it's just an empty shell that people share.

Well, if I wasn't crying before...I was REALLY letting the waterworks fly then.

We agreed, I was to quit.

The next morning, I realized both of us were doing the same thing, just in different measures. Papa was dreaming too far into the future without realizing the here and now. I was taking on too many of the here and now's trying to make the future into everything all at once.Because, wouldn't it be great if I lost weight, we got debt free, we had our emergency savings already in place, our pantry stocked, and a baby on the way..ALL AT THE SAME TIME?!?!
 I wrote down everything I was trying to accomplish, and put a number on the priority I wanted them done. That way, each time I start to feel discontent that everything is not falling into place at the same time, I have to remember, I am only one human being, and I can only do so much.

This is my list-
1. Start baby step 1 of saving $1000. 
   I texted Papa this, and told him, I won't quit my job until we meet this goal. If he's going to push himself to stop spending on the road, then I can push myself to make this job count in some way before quitting. If we both keep at it, we should have this by the end of November. I told him I really wanted to quit before snow and ice because, truth be told, nothing damper's a winter lover's attitude than actually having to put wheels under all that awesomeness and attempting to do stuff aside from making snow people.
2. Start saving a Repair/Replace Car Fund, and a Christmas/Birthday/Holiday fund.
   One of the main reasons we can't keep or maintain an emergency fund is that we treat our car emergencies like life or death emergencies and we act like Christmas(and birthdays,etc.) just springs up on us. No more!  After these two goals are met, we can actually enjoy the holidays without feeling like we're robbing Peter to pay Paul.
3. To have 2 months extra paid on all  our bills.
  This may sound like a silly thing, but it's not. Papa's a truck driver, and his ability to make more money slows down as he has to slow down on the roads. If we can keep our bills at two months ahead of time, then once the leaner months hit, we won't have to stress on if we can pay everyone because they'll already be paid.
4. To have a fully stocked pantry.
  This is my personal security issue. I want my dry pantry filled in case of anything, one freezer filled with just meats, and the other, with freezer meals I make. We're halfway full in the dry pantry, but once I leave my job, I'll have to start tackling the other two. IF I have time, I'd like to start using my youtube channel to record how I do this.
5.Baby Step 2- To have our debt fully paid by the end of 2017. 
I know this SEEMS impossible for us, especially on our income, ESPECIALLY with how much debt we have. But I'm trusting the God of the impossible.
6. To lose 50 pounds.
I have lost 10-ish pounds working my bum off during the summer. I need to do this not only to be a healthier me, but also because of  goal #7
7. To have the money saved up to do our DFS(Debt Free Scream) on the Dave Ramsey Show and get my reversal surgery done by 2018.
8. To start Baby Steps in Homesteading, while saving up for our dream home&land.

I'd like to juggle all these things at once, but I have tried and it doesn't work. While all these things seem like a ticking time bomb that need to be started right now, I know doing them all without giving each the total devotion it needs is just a recipe for disaster. Then nothing gets done and I become overwhelmed, tired and an angry, snappy Mama Bear. Even if this goal list takes longer than the times given, I'm going to trust God knows what He's doing.

So, no more of "This isn't enough." I'm going to be content with the step we're on now, and not listen or worry about what everyone else thinks. I'm going to give myself to the goal we're on and keep on keepin' on until we get it DONE, before moving onto to the next one.

Anyone else like this as of lately? If so, I'd love to hear about it, or what you're doing to combat it!

Until Next Time,
~ Mama Jenn

Thursday, August 25, 2016

What's in a (Diet) day? Wednesday

Greetings, Chaotics!

Here's what I ate on Wednesday-
Pre-Breakfast Drinks: 2 Cups of water and 1 cup of Tea flavored with my Garcinia Cambogia packet

Breakfast- 1 cup of water, 1 energy bar, and 1 multi-vitamin

A.M. Snack- Cheez-Its and 1 glass of water

Lunch- 1 energy bar and 1 cup of water

Afternoon snack- 3 cups(roughly) of popcorn, 1 glass of water

Dinner- Ham and Cheese sandwich w/ 2 Tbs.(roughly) mayo, lettuce, pickle, and banana peppers. 1 Serving(about 24) cheddar and sour cream chips, 2 cups of salad with about 30 mini croutons, 3 Tbs. fat-free ranch dressing, and 2 glasses of water. 

And Here's what I did-
1. iWalk Strong 3 Mile(I alternated between using just a regular scarf and my ghetto weights since I don't have the stretchy band mentioned).
2. 7 Minute Total Body Toning Workout(I modified some of the moves because, well, I'm fat and can't do them)
3. Wake Up and Go with Denise Austin(again, modified a few and didn't realize it stops half-way through!)


Calories Consumed- 1675
Calories Burned-443
Total Calories(Calories Consumed minus Calories Burned)- 1232

Please note- I went over budget today. My Pre-workout calorie goal is 1539 calories. And I feel it- I woke up with a bit of a tummy ache :(  I will try better today(Thursday) to not get too crazy.

Until Next Time,

~ Mama Jenn

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What's in a(Diet) Day? Tuesday

Greetings once again, Chaotics!

Here's what I ate and did yesterday.
Pre-Breakfast Drinks- Water, Tea, Garcinia Cambogia, and more water. 

Breakfast- Water, Energy Bar, and my Multivitamin

I bought a huge box of these, so expect to see them for awhile LOL

Lunch- Slim Fast and water

Popcorn, 3 cups

Dinner- 2 cups salad, 1/8(roughly) cup of croutons, 3 Tbs(roughly) of Fat Free Ranch Dressing, and 2 servings(roughly) of Yellow Rice and Pigeon Peas with some leftover chicken from yesterday. 

I think I added too much Pigeon Peas- I realized I was satisfied half-way through and had to stop eating! 

And, my workouts-
1. 1.0 Mile Happy Walk
2. Wake Up and Go Kickboxing Bootcamp
3. Energy Boost 5 Minute Walk


Calories Consumed-1125*
Calories Burned- 248*
Net Calories(Calories Consumed minus Calories Burned)=877*
*Note- these totals are from LoseIt!

Until Next Time,
~Mama Jenn

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What's in a (diet) Day? Monday

Greetings Chaotics!

As promised, here is Monday's pictures of what I ate.
The start to every morning- a cup of water, a cup of tea flavored with my Garcinia Cambogia Packet, and another cup of water before my workout. 

Breakfast- a cup of water, my favorite Energy Bar, and a multivitamin

First Snack of the day- a bag of White Cheddar Cheez-Its and a cup of water. 

Lunch- a Slim Fast Shake and a cup of water. 
My Second Snack of the day- a Special K Chewy Snack Bar. 

My Dinner- A cup of water to start, followed with a bowl of salad(2c., roughly) topped with chicken(1c.), croutons(1/8c.), and fat-free ranch dressing(2Tbs., roughly), a baked potato with 2 Tbs. sour cream and 2 Tbs. butter, and another cup of water

Also, here are the workouts I did yesterday-

1. 3-mile walk
2. Wake Up and Go with Denise Austin
3. 2-mile walk in the mall*

*PLEASE NOTE* I usually don't do this much. I only walked around the mall because the kids had asked to go to the library that's about 45 minutes from our home. I noticed the last time we were there that 2 laps around our mall = 1 mile, so I told them if we were going to make that drive from now on, we were going to squeeze in a walk before we go. They agreed to it. We don't go to the library often, but at least now when we do, I can squeeze in an extra workout :)


Calorie Budget- 1539

Calories Consumed-1409

Calories Burned(working out)- 598

Calorie Adjustment(Calories Consumed minus Calories Burned)- 811

*Note- these are according to the LoseIt! Website. 

Dieting Progress, Week 8

Greetings, Chaotics!

Well, last week, I made no headway weight-wise. But, at the same time, I didn't really attempt much, either.

I really have no explanation for last week. I didn't have an unwelcome visitor, I just...lost momentum. The six-week hump turned into a two-week-long slump and I HATED it. I cried several times because I felt like I was falling back into old habits and all my work from previous weeks was in vain. I felt like "Fat Girl Jenn" came roaring back to life and I would never break the cycle of overeating, being lazy, and just never being truly healthy.

I did do several workout attempts. And it usually ended in me sweating and messing up 15 minutes or less. Which isn't my new "normal", but the "I'm just starting and this is not what my body is used to" old me. UGH!

If I didn't understand before, I understand a bit better now- what I eat affects me. During the week of the unwelcome visitor, I let myself go food-wise. I still ate smaller portions than usual, but it didn't matter- it still made me feel crappy. I guess I tried to congratulate myself on smaller portions, but now I get it that I MUST try to eat BETTER. I can't get away with just counting calories.

So, my personal goal for September is to try to incorporate more produce however I can. I bought the items to make my own salad mix instead of buying the pre-cut and assembled bags(because 1. My husband has noticed the cheaper ones have all the pre-cut veggies in the front of the bag...while 98% is just iceberg lettuce, and 2. We loved the chopped salad mixes, but we aren't exactly loving the prices). My goal for the next week or two is to have at least a side salad with my dinner every day, or a big salad at least once or twice a week. After that, I think I'm going to give the cabbage soup diet a try(which, if you don't know much about can read about here.) for a week, and see how I feel beyond that.

Funny how I said I wasn't going to go on some wacky cabbage soup diet, and now I'm seriously considering it, isn't it? I'm not even sure if anyone reads this anymore, so I guess if I sound like a hypocrite, it will only be to myself.

Oh, before I forget...I do have another goal. I am going to try to upload pictures of what I ate each day. I thought I'd be able to just do one post a week with the pictures, but my phone is running out of space(gee, wonder why....). I'm also going to post the links to the workouts I do since no one responded with wanting to see me do said workouts. Not that I'm complaining, that might actually be a blessing in disguise considering I looked like a flopping whale last week due to low energy levels. I won't do a full-on blog entry, just upload the pictures, tell you what it is and provide the workout link(s). I'll still attempt my weekly updates and see if I get too overwhelmed or not.

This week so far, I am feeling SO PUMPED to start getting back into a routine again! Maybe it's just the energy bars(LOL), but I am really excited and ready to push myself this week!

Here's to a great week 9!

Until Next Time,

~Mama Jenn

Monday, August 15, 2016

Dieting Progress Week 7

Greetings, Chaotics!

Last week, I mentioned I was feeling week 6. And it's true- I was feeling IT. The struggle was real, folks. As I got closer and closer to the end of the week, my diet just kept slipping and slipping. Yes, I was still at or under my calorie budget. But I was eating crappier and crappier foods each day. My body started to feel crummy and there were several times I just cried because I was so mad at myself for self-destructing what I felt like was weeks of hard work. I stopped taking my multivitamin, too.

My oldest, who is also dieting, started seeing me and caving as well. Again, nothing too extreme, but still...she started to feel crappy and lost energy as well. Which made me feel even worse.

Thursday was the icing on the cake. I decided that all this just HAS to do with the fact that I didn't take my weekly date myself night. So, I decided that, no matter what, I was going to fill up that bathtub, get my secret stash of chocolate out of the freezer, light that candle, grab my tablet, and stay in that tub until I looked like a human sized prune.

The only problem? Everything.

Because of the week I had, I decided, I need to treat myself MORE, to just get it out of my system, so to speak(because that worked so well for me before....not.). So, I grabbed a bag of semi-better for you nacho chips that was 3/4 full, two and a half Reese's Peanut Butter Cups(my husband has been bringing them home melted as of lately, so the other half of one was all over the inside of the package instead of in the cup). I put the bathtub to the hottest water setting because, well, why not? I have in the past and it felt like ah-may-zing, especially after several days of kicking butt and taking names workout-wise. I lit that candle. I found something of interest on YouTube. I poured the last(*sniff*sniff* :( ) of my Cucumber Melon Bath and Body Works Body Wash into the tub, got my razor out to shave my legs at some point, took my clothes off, and sank in. Ahhhh.

At first, I started to eat the nacho flavored tortilla chips. I thought, I'm not going to worry about the calories. I'm just going to inhale it. I slowly started to eat one chip at a time, savoring the different spices. But then, after about five chips, I just said, okay, savoring moment over, inhale time!

I paused long enough to inhale the Peanut Butter cups, then continued on with the nacho-flavored tortilla chips.

Within five minutes, I stopped. I felt like I was having a hard time breathing. I realized, oh, maybe I'm full. I looked at the container I had put the tortilla chips in, and realized, I had eaten almost all of them. Not all of them, but most of them. I kept trying to force myself to eat more, but then something hit me.

Do you know what hit me? Nausea. Nausea hit me.

Suddenly, I felt like I was going to puke. I pushed the container away, sat back in the tub, closed my eyes, and took several slow, deep breaths. I am NOT throwing up tortillas in the bathtub. I am NOT throwing up tortillas in the bathtub!

As I kept repeating this to myself, another realization hit me.

Holy snot, when did the water in this tub get so hot?!?

What a few minutes ago felt like heaven suddenly made me feel like a lobster in boiling water. I was nauseous, I was sweating profusely, and my skin felt like it was boiling. I tried to stay in the tub, saying this was a treat, I needed to get this out of my system, etc. etc....

Then ended up jumping out of the tub, blasting the AC on and sitting in front of the fan, trying to not puke and make my heart beat normal instead of like it was going to jump out of chest.

And once again...crying.


So much for my date night >:(

I ended up laying in bed the rest of the night, trying to calm the raging storm that was my stomach and trying hard not to move so my heart wouldn't decided to take a walk out of my mouth. And praying for help because I was sucking so bad all week.

I don't know why, but I weighed myself the next morning. I didn't take a picture, because, honestly, I was afraid it was going to say "Get off of me, fatty!" Or, "After the week you had, you've got to be kidding me."

And do you know what I saw? Do you?

Only something that could of came from God.


I cried again. There was just no way! I stepped on the scale two more times.



Are you serious? I mean....ARE. YOU. SERIOUS?!?

I looked back on the week and realized, maybe the week wasn't as awful as I thought. I still worked out....not as much I can, but I still tried. I did eat my non-diet fare, but I was still eating a child-sized helping of most of it(except Thursday). I was sleeping so much because I was feeling crummy that, well, duh me, I wasn't eating snacks or finding an excuse to eat more.

I still didn't take a picture, because I didn't feel like I earned that weight loss.

Yes, I see once again that I do need to make a better attempt at eating better for my body foods. And this pay, I do vow to change my diet for the remaining two weeks of August. But, at least there's a silver lining in the crumpled aluminum foil of my week, no?

Friday evening....I got my period.

Crap. Crap-la-de-da-tastic.

I ended up spending the weekend eating super small portions and curled in fetal position in my bed over cramps.
Stupid nacho flavored tortilla chips with more sodium than all the oceans combined. I hate you.

Yesterday, I tried to workout a little bit. I had forgot I had joined a challenge on LoseIt! to workout at least 15 minutes every day for the rest of August and it started yesterday. So, I quickly found a 15 minute Denise Austin Workout and forced myself to do it.

Then I did a 5 minute quick walk routine with Leslie Sansone.

I was going to push myself to do a lower abdomen workout, but then my husband called, and by the time we got off the phone, it was time to tuck in the kids and go to bed.

This morning, I'm still feeling a little iffy because of my unwelcome visitor, but I'm going to try and push myself to get at least 15 minutes of working out in today. I'm hoping my unwelcome visitor will go away tomorrow and I can get back to my usual workout routine once again. But, for today, I am just trying to get back on track with Slim Fast and get back in the habit of just working out in some way. And hoping my last week's failures will not mess up my energy levels this week. Again.

Hopefully, this weekend, I can jump start my personal challenge of eating more produce and hopefully getting my energy levels back or better than where they were. If I do, I will try to upload pictures and/or writing what I eat/do a few times next week.

Anyways, here's to hoping for a better week!

Until Next Time,

~ Mama Jenn

Monday, August 8, 2016

Dieting Progress Week 6

Greetings, Chaotics!
Sorry for not writing last week. My computer got a virus and was down for the count until I could figure out how to get rid of it.

I can't believe I'm on week 6 already. Don't get me wrong- I am feeling it. This is the week where, in previous attempts, I usually make this a habit or give up and quit.

I won't lie- this morning was tough. I overslept, Hubby and I didn't work out together this weekend, we didn't get enough sleep pretty much all weekend. I tried to keep portions in check, but Friday? I have no explanation for Friday except "chaos". I see now I can't just eat whatever anymore and assume it won't affect me. I was sluggish all weekend and the food wasn't even worth it.

Today, I did my 45 minute workout, but it took everything within me to complete it. I had totally skipped my Friday Freak Clean Session(cleaning my whole house in 2-3 hours like a mad woman). So, today, I am trying to get back into my workout routine AND trying to play catch-up on getting my house clean.And yes, cleaning your house counts as a workout. No wonder most women in Stepford are so thin, LOL.

Otherwise, last week, I did really good. God was really helping me to resist(up until Friday, anyways...but again, that's my fault). I had actually pushed myself to go from working out 45 minutes to 1 hour! I also got over my "ten pound slump". My "ten pound slump" is what happens to me once I lose 10 pounds...I stop losing for a bit. Last time I had attempted this, I stopped trying and quit. This time, though, I pushed myself to go harder workout-wise...and it paid off! I lost 3 pounds!

My total now lost is 13 pounds!!!

I'm still using Slim Fast Powder, and the Garcinia Cambogia. Also, I'm not sure if I mentioned it before or not, but I also discovered this AMAZING bars from my local Fred Meyer(It's a Kroger Grocery Store). They're from their brand, Simple Truth. My favorite is the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and a second is their Peanut Butter Extreme. I eat one after my workout and I can't say enough how they are such a treat for me to have! The Peanut Butter Extreme does have a bit of a...vitamin-y aftertaste. Like it tastes like an energy bar loaded with vitamins. Which, I guess, that's what it is...but the Peanut Butter Chocolate one does NOT have that taste at all and I LOVE them so much! I usually buy a mix of both because my store doesn't always have enough of the one to tide me over for two weeks. I guess I'm not the only one that loves them!

As I said, I eat one after my workout, for breakfast. Then I have a Slim Fast Shake for lunch, and a small plate of what every one else is eating for dinner. I do also have 2-3 snacks in between....I don't buy the Slim-Fast snacks only because I didn't know they had them when I went out and bought a stupid amount of snacks last month from my local Grocery Outlet. I'm not even sure if my local stores carry a decent variety of their snacks. But I do try to keep the snacks between less than 100 calories and no more than 170 calories. Usually, I'm pretty good at keeping them around the 100 calorie mark or less.

I was debating on if I should upload pictures of my meals, to hold myself accountable, with each weekly update. Not completely sure yet if I will or not...just depends on how busy I get in the weeks ahead. I'll try to start tomorrow, since I'm technically halfway through my day meal-wise today.

Sorry if this entry sounds a little...scattered. Between the sleep throwing me off, the weekend I had, and trying to get back into a rhythm today, my brain is just not all there. Hopefully next week's entry will sound a bit more not so scattered.

Until Next Time,
~Mama Jenn

Monday, July 25, 2016

Dieting Progress, Week 4

Greetings, Chaotics!

Last week, I mentioned how my unwelcome visitor decided to drop by, how I ran out of my beloved Garcinia Cambogia; and how I wasn't fully sure that between these two events if I'd be able to stay on course.

Well, I'm pleased to say I came out of the week not completely caving in. Usually, when my unwelcome visitor makes its arrival, it's usually the undoing of me diet-wise. My inner fat girl comes plowing through, like a locomotive on a mission and gosh-darn it the girl is HANGRY. She sticks around a few days, like a tornado, swallowing up everything that is edible, covered in chocolate, or salty. Then she departs and I'm left, like a tornado victim, crying for a few days but mostly trying to pick up the pieces of her destruction(usually chocolate bar wrappers that I discarded along the house as I secretly tried to eat it ever so carefully so the kids wouldn't hear it).

This round, however, it wasn't so bad. Yes, I did have one day where I just could NOT work out(I was downright weary, y'all), but overall, I mostly stayed under or about calorie budget for a week and forced myself to workout. I actually got upset at myself for not being able to workout on Wednesday, and I did try for about 10 minutes before shedding tears in frustration at how tired my body felt. I did not religiously adhere to my Slim Fast Plan every single day, but I did try to keep my portions as small as I could. I didn't stuff myself, I actually found myself still stopping sooner than usual because I felt like my body was saying, "okay, that's enough.".

But I did have a bit of an emotional moment that I wasn't planning on. On Wednesday, I was sitting at the table with my kids as they ate lunch. At this point, they are somewhat used to seeing me with just a glass of Slim Fast while they have something else, but every so often, one of them will try to say something or ask why I'm still just "drinking" my lunch. Anyway, Wednesday was just a bad day overall. The kids were eating a ham and cheese sandwich, and I wanted one SO. BAD. My oldest thought it wasn't fair I got "chocolate milk" for lunch(even though I've told her it doesn't taste much like real chocolate milk), and asked if she could try a sip in exchange for a bite of her sandwich. She kept taunting me, saying, "You know you want it!" and finally, I caved in and we swapped a bite for a sip. She wanted more, but it was that moment that I realized how much she has been making fun of my efforts to lose weight...not just today, but since I started. I closed my eyes and said something I had seen on a community board on Lose It!, "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over again?" She just sort of snickered and said, "Mom, just have a sandwich, it's JUST a sandwich!" I don't know why, but I sort of snapped. I looked her square in the eye and said, "Solstice, my mother died when I was 13. She was 49. My dad died when I was 22, he was 58. I am not doing this just to be skinny. This isn't something I'm doing just to torture myself. I just turned 30, and I really don't want to think of my life as, according to family genetics, as half way over. I'd really like to outlive my parents and be able to see you guys grow up and see my grandchildren.I would like to see you past the age of 14 if I can help it so just KNOCK IT OFF, OKAY?!". She just looked down, slightly smirking, and I said, "I'm serious Solstice! I'd like to NOT DIE next year and I AM trying to be healthier not just for myself but for YOU AND YOUR SIBLINGS so get that goofy grin off your face!" She didn't say anything and just finished her food. After I cooled off a bit, I did go back and apologize because I did realize that this is kind of strong for a 12-year-old to process. She simply said, "No, mom, you're right....I shouldn't be making fun of you for this." I posted it on Lose It! and everyone said I did the right thing. I still felt a bit bad spewing my mouth like that at her, though.

My husband came home later than usual Friday. I told him in that argument I posted about awhile ago that I WILL NOT pressure him to work out, or be healthier. So, I had half-expected him not to remember anything about his last week's "I need to workout!" speech. But he surprised me! As we went to bed, he said, "Are you going to set your alarm so we can workout tomorrow?". Then on Sunday, he told the kids we HAD to be done with Family Movie Night at 9 so that "He and Mama could work out."

Can you SEE my jaw on the floor?! No? Well, just pretend you do, okay?

We did one workout that was tough even for me on Saturday, and the Leslie Sansone one mile walk on Sunday night. I got a little sad over Sunday, though...I was feeling a bit lazy(I'm not used to working out at night), so that's why I opted for the 1 mile instead of the 3. I felt kind of bad because I didn't sweat at all. Papa thought it would be funny to chase me around the bedroom trying to give me HIS sweat. It's days like these that I remember why I married that man.

Today, I woke up feeling sad and sluggish. Papa got an extra day home, so he had to leave today instead of his usual Sunday afternoon...but that didn't make his leaving any better to bear :( Also, I had just worked out before bed...although not my usual intensity, it was still a workout and I was still a bit tired after the fact.

My son and youngest daughter had asked last night if they could join me today, so I asked them if they wanted to join me, and they did for about 20-30 minutes, before going back to bed. I was just happy to hear their chatter as I worked out.

A little while later, my daughter came out of bed and for some reason, decided to weigh herself on my new scale. I finally bought a digital scale...even though I hadn't met my goal weight to do it, yet. It was mostly because I was sick and tired of having to use my phone to zoom in and see which little line it was telling me I weighed. Anyways, she wanted to weigh herself on the new scale. When she saw exactly how much she weighed, she moaned and looked like she was going to cry. She said, "Maybe I need to start watching what I eat and stuff like you do.". I was trying hard to not automatically think the worse, seeing as I'm a person that has struggled, then tried to embrace, and am currently working on, my weight. So, I said, "let's get some more information...maybe you're right where you need to be, or maybe you just need to play or exercise more, I'm not sure." So, we googled how to determine what her weight should be for her age and height, and she is a bit(not much!) off of where she should be roughly. I told her if she wants to try to lose a few pounds, I won't stop her. I also said if she needs help, since no one ever really taught me at her age, that I'd be willing to help. But the actual commitment part will be all her. Just like with my husband, I said I'm not going to nag her or question what or how much she's doing...which is hard for me! She said she wanted to give it a try, we looked on Lose It! to see how long it should take her to safely lose a few pounds, and then set a time frame for her to do it. She looked at me and said, "Wow, I could finally have the body I thought I'd only get in Heaven! The body I always dreamed of!".

A part of me wants to be proud she's taking this step, but the more sensitive part of me wants to tell her that it's just a number....but then I recall how cruel kids were to me when I was her age(yes, she is the EXACT same weight I was at her age). I know that she's had some confidence issues since starting puberty. I know she's joked about her weight, about how much she eats...and I know I used to do that too. But, "to every jest there's a shred of truth", and I know if my mom had shown even a tiny bit of interest in me trying to get to a healthy weight, I would have grabbed it for all it was worth. So, I told her my suggestions to help her get started, I told her not to get too crazy over it...losing weight, no matter if it's 1 pound or 2,000 pounds...takes time and energy and effort. That even if she doesn't get to what the internet says is "her healthy weight", that she's still her and as long as she's comfortable in her own skin, that's all that matters. I gave her a notebook to record her thoughts, log in her food, and her weight into. I also thought a reward would be in, I told her, for every so many pounds she lost, she'd get a book of her choosing. Her goal is 2 books. She wrote in her notebook and asked to look on Youtube for a more "hip"(well, "Not as mom-ish" were her exact words) workout for her to do later.

So, even though I'm feeling a bit "blah" today, I'm still really, really happy. My husband worked out five times in the past two weeks(he also cleared our land of weeds on Saturday afternoon, which, according to Lose It! counts as a workout). He also lost a few pounds since he went to the doctor a month ago! Also, my daughter is excited to try to get healthy and eat more sensible portions. I can't help but thank God for the changes I have seen in them over the past two weeks!

As for my own progress....I have lost weight!

Starting Weight- 210(ish?) pounds
Current Weight- 200.8 pounds

Not to toot my own horn, but.....*Toots own horn* !!! Yay!!!!

My goal is to ultimately get back down to my high school before I became a teen mom...130-150. I'd really like to just get down to 150, but my thinnest was 135, so we'll see!

What about you? What are some goals you guys have set, weight or otherwise? I'd love to hear about it!

Until Next Time,
~ Mama Jenn

Monday, July 18, 2016

Dieting Progress, Week 3

Greetings, Chaotics!
I'm a little worried about this week, and I have some good news.
First off, the good news-
My oldest had started ASKING for the Leslie Sansone 1 mile workout. That is GREAT NEWS to me, because, I usually have to beg her to workout with me, and she'd usually quit halfway.
Friday, I wasn't sure if she was trying to get out of going outside with her siblings or what, but she suddenly was begging me, "Can we PLEASE do the one-mile happy walk now? I REALLY want to do it!!! PLEASE???". And even though I had got through two hours of house cleaning to prepare the home for hubby's arrival and was BEAT, I still managed to walk my way to a mile with her. My son joined in, too!

Second, after an...event of sorts, my husband got mad at himself and said, "I can't do this anymore! I'm getting too fat for this! We're working out on Saturdays and Sundays together! Got it?!" :D :D :D
I nearly fell off the bed! I had been begging my husband to join me but after seeing his less than enthusiastic response repeatedly, I quit trying(remember that "I got mad" post...two posts ago?). And guess what? We did workout this weekend! He did grumble at first on Sunday, after a horrible day  two weekends of trying to install my water pump on my car. I'm talking the law of craptastic was hitting him full-force on this! I wanted to help, and jumped in when he asked me to do something, but other than cleaning this part or adding goop to that part, it was really all on him to do. So, I was half-expecting him to not want to work out on Sunday. I woke him up, and his first response was, "Are you kidding me? I don't want to do ANYTHING today!" But then as he woke up a bit more, "I don't FEEL like doing this....".
 Moments later, "Well, maybe. I'm still sore. I dunno..."
Finally, "Okay, fine. But it's going to have to be an easy and quick work out!"
I didn't say anything during this verbal battle he had with himself. One of the greatest things being Stepford has taught me thus far is sometimes, just to zip my lips and saying nothing when I want to say something potentially destructive most times yields the greatest response out of my husband! ;)

So, I had pushed myself a bit more last week because of others around me! I was only expecting to do four days worth of working out, and a few hours of intense cleaning the 5th day(hey, it counts as a workout! I checked!) , and instead did SEVEN DAYS of working out AND a few hours of intense cleaning!

Also, my scale isn't giving me the go-around as first week, my weight kept fluctuating on their between 210 and 205. I don't know it kept doing that, but halfway through last week, it finally started to find a happy medium between 204 and 205, depending on the time of day. So, yay! It's still progress towards 200!

Now the things I'm worried about....

I don't have my Garcinia Cambogia! :( I ran out on Friday and was expecting to go get some...but because of the water pumps(yes, there was more than two involved in this transaction!) and the law of craptastic, I wasn't able to get out to the store I went to get it. I'll be able to get some on Friday, but until then, I'm hoping to sike myself out a little by just drinking the tea without it and hoping I won't be chowing down like I'm not on a diet.

At first, I thought well, my stepmother said it can stick in your system for a bit even after you stop taking it, so I should be okay, right?

But then....
I got my unwelcome friend!
*cue sobbing hysterically*

Now I have NO IDEA how this week is going to pan out! I'm hoping that what my stepmother said will work out in my favor. After all, I did have my last one on Friday....and Saturday, I did have a hard time even trying to eat my usual "YOLO" day breakfast(cheddar cheese bagel, cheesy scrambled egg, and a piece of pork...this week, it was cheddar wurst). I ended up eating only half over breakfast, and the other half later in the day as a late lunch. While getting another water pump, hubby and I decided that we should make it a mini-date since there's a Wendy's next to the auto parts we got small Frosty's and I ordered a small fry...only to end up sharing that with him, because I couldn't eat it all. And yesterday, I got a little sick after eating 3/4 c. of ice cream in honor of National Ice Cream day ....but that may have been my unwelcome friend announcing its arrival, I'm not sure yet.

We shall see!

This week, I'm going to try to do another Leslie Sansone Workout, this time, a 45 minute, 3 miles one. After finding her 1-mile happy walk, I started doing it twice a day in addition to a 20 minute Richard Simmons workout anyways, I think it won't be pushing myself too much to just do her for 45 minutes instead of her and Richard...right? Here's hoping!

Also, if y'all happen to be on Lose It! and want to add me as a friend, my e-mail to find me is

Here's to another(hopefully) good week of scale and non-scale progress!

Until Next Time,
~Mama Jenn

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dieting Progress, Week 2

Greetings, Chaotics!

Remember my last post where I said I enjoyed dieting and exercising?

Well...I still do. Sort of.

I don't know if there's such a thing as a two week slump when it comes to dieting and losing weight. But after a not-so-good weekend(or two, who am I kidding), I'm starting to feel a bit out of sorts with myself. I enjoy the whole not eating until I feel like a whale washed up on shore thing. I really don't miss feeling stuffed and bloated because I tried to compete with my husband. And with the Garcinia Cambogia, I don't have that "Everybody shut up because Mama is HANGRY" type-feeling as bad as I did trying to do this without it.

I did have a possible episode of it this weekend, but honestly, I still don't know if I can account it to being hungry as much as I can account it to...possibly overworking myself and just wanting a cheeseburger and fries.

It really IS a weird feeling. I am not hungry. My stomach isn't growling. It's just....the smell of food, tho.
 I can't explain it. It's like, as soon as I smell something good, I want it, but then, when the smell goes away, so does my desire for it...eventually.

My inner fat girl (pep?) talks have went something like this-

*smells onion rings while driving by a restaurant(don't ask how I can distinguish this from all the many smells that come from driving by a restaurant)*

"Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Onion Rings!"

*Starts drooling*

"Wait, do I really WANT onion rings?"

*Wipes mouth, internally silences herself to feel if she's hungry*

*realizes she is not physically hungry*

"But...onion rings! No, no, I'm not hungry. I just want them because of the smell.Right?"

*nods to herself*

"But those onion rings smell AMAZING, though!"

"No, no....I am not hungry for them. I don't...but they smell...but I don't...."

*light changes, I drive past said restaurant*

A few miles later...

"See? You weren't hungry. You were just craving it due to the smell."
*Fist bumps self*
"But....if I could be left alone in a dark alley with one of those onion rings..."

"Jenn, shut up. Those onion rings cost more calories than you workout in a day. JUST SHUT UP."

"Okay, okay. I'm not HUNGRY for an onion ring.Plus, the weight loss gurus would NOT approve."

See what I mean? It's weird.

Not the talking to myself, because, y'all know I do that more often than I care to admit. But the sensation. The craving sans not being hungry thing. It's always been both, at the same time and now it's just one and I feel weird. Anyone else know what I'm talking about?

I've also had to be a bit more mindful about my water consumption. The first week, I started to realize I was Several times, I felt like a headache that was drowning in my brain space was forming. I did google it, and apparently, there is a such thing as drinking too much water too fast. Granted, a gallon isn't a ton or anything. But for someone who usually drank maybe five or six cups of water on a good day....a gallon mostly by noontime was a bit too much too fast. I reduced my water consumption goal to either a half gallon to three quarters of a gallon and have to force myself to space it out all through the day. Most days, I can still get in a gallon by the end of the day without thinking about it, but if I don't, I won't beat myself up
over it. But, so far, the only day I really tend to not get a full gallon is on my cheat day(s).

I have started to be a bit more aware of how to better spend my workout time. Yes, I love me some yoga, and I probably will do it from time to time, but it seemed like a waste to do it for almost an hour and, according to the LoseIt! App for my height and weight to only burn 100-ish calories.That's not even enough to burn off my cup of yogurt I have everyday. So, I switched it up last week and this week. I started doing Richard Simmons dance workouts, and then yesterday, I found Leslie Sansone. Which, after doing the workout, realized my stepmother had suggested a DVD of hers when we talked about weight loss last....weird, I know. The even weirder thing? I had my kids join me yesterday for Leslie's 15 minute walk routine, and my oldest(who, is becoming more and more like my husband when it comes to the idea of working out) actually said she enjoyed it! :O Fist bump to Leslie!

I did try a full length(1 hour) Richard Simmons workout with her last week, but she said it felt weird doing a dance workout with a man shimmying on the screen, so she stopped half way through. I guess Richard isn't for everyone, but I am certainly loving his passion this week!

With all this said, even though I kind of messed up on the weekend, I still managed to lose a pound! Go me!

I also decided that once I reach my 200 pound mark, I'm going to buy a digital scale(because having to zoom into my phone just to see where it's indicating on my current scale is getting old), and one small thing for me...maybe...not sure what it's going to be yet, though. I'll post pictures when I reach this milestone and get both.

Anyone else out there trying a new workout, a new meal plan? If so, I'd love to hear about it!

Until Next Time,
~ Mama Jenn

Friday, July 1, 2016

Stepford Chronicles- Dieting for My Husband's Sake But Mostly My Own

Greetings, Chaotics!
Okay, I have something to confess.

It may come as a surprise to some.

Are you sitting down for this?

Okay....*deep breath*....

I have to confess...



I may or may not actually enjoy working out, and I'm dieting again...and I may or may not be liking that, too.

Are you going to be okay hearing this news?

That's not a representative of the Fat Girls Motorcyclycle Club in the back, ready to revoke my membership, is it?

No, I don't need a bar of chocolate, I haven't lost my mind.

I think.

Okay, in all seriousness....yes, I am watching my calories and I'm exercising. Remember my last post here and my  YouTube video here? Well, I thought I wasn't going to "do one of those crazy diets" like I said in another video. I was going to try and just eat real foods, because that worked so well for me a few years back when I went from my biggest weight- 220 lbs.- to something that didn't make my skin feel like it was about to explode- 198-200-ish(depending on the day and how much chocolate may or may not of been consumed). I thought it would work like last time, because, hey, I lost weight and ate better and worked out and everything was awesome and unicorns and glitter and all that jazz, am I right? husband.

You see, as much as I hate to admit this, but there's a fat person code. It's out there, it's unspoken, and yes, whether you acknowledge it or not, if you are fat, you do abide by most of its unspoken rules.

What kind of rules, you ask? Well, depending on your region of the country, the wording may vary. The top two rules that I break are-

1. If you give me food, I will pretty much eat it.


2. If there is another fat person in the same room as you as you eat, and they tend to eat more than you do, and you see this, you will try to self-consciously compete with them by forcing yourself to eat as much or more as they do. And if they eat faster than you do, then guess what? Pretty soon that casual eating experience starts to look like two sumo wrestlers at a food eating competition. Except no one wins. Except maybe the indigestion product companies.

I have concluded that my husband has become my supplier. Just like a crack addict meeting theirs in a back alley somewhere, my husband will arrive in the shadows of the night(because, hey, he's a truck driver and he's never guaranteed home at any day or hour), and I will meet him at a semi-private location(the kitchen). I will pace around frantically and with slight jitters to physically show that I need "the goods" and "I'm starting to have withdrawal symptoms". He will look around nervously to see that the food cops(i.e., my kids) aren't lurking around the corner, ready to do a seize on the goods. When there is no sign of the coppers and traffic around us is relatively still(i.e., the kids are on devices or watching TV), then he will either deliver the goods from a bag hidden in a special location(his coat pocket, his back pocket, behind his back, or his meal bag). I will glance around nervously to see if anyone detected the noise of said bag being opened/ moved, and he will either place it in my hand while kissing me, or he will quickly drop it at a pre-disclosed and agreed upon location for me to pick up later(the freezer). We will then exchange payment if we haven't done so already(a kiss), and then go our separate ways out of the kitchen, one at a time so as not to look conspicuous, and then we return about our normal duties.

What is this my husband is supplying me? Is it crack? Speed? Dope?

Nope. It's his weekly offering of chocolate.

Also, when he gets home, it's like that Bible story of the prodigal son. You know, the son leaves his father's home, spends his inheritance, becomes poor, contemplates eating pig food before thinking, oh, hey, maybe I should just go home and become a servant for my dad so at least I won't have to eat this crap. So, he returns, and much to his surprise, his father welcomes him with open arms, kills the fattened calf, and they have this big par-tay, because, hey, what once was lost has now been found!
Except that, it's my husband. He leaves the home every week, in his church clothes, gets super dirty doing truck driver related things, contemplates eating pig food(I mean, gas station food), before realizing, oh, hey, it's almost time to go back home to my wife and kids. And then he arrives on my door, the smell of diesel fuel and cigarettes still lingering a bit on him. Much to his surprise, his wife and children are there to greet him, welcoming him with open arms....killing whatever "fattened calf" I may of found on sale during my last shopping trip, and we have this big par-tay(okay, we have a feast and either games or movie night,  complete with popcorn and at least 1-2 desserts, but close enough), because, what once was lost has now been found!

I'm not sure how long those New Testament people par-tayed, but I'm pretty sure they didn't do this every. single. weekend. 
Keep in mind rule #2, and....yes, you have a recipe for disaster.
Oh, and indigestion.

I knew something needed to change, as did my husband. As our numbers on the scale started to climb, and we started to see some unpleasant side effects of living the fat life, we started to try and get serious.

It's a'climbing, and not in a good way(*-_-)

We tried doing what we could, we tried eating less, we tried eating better. We did exercise here and there.
But, the fat person code.
And money is tight.
And...freaking chocolate, and bacon.
Stupid chocolate and bacon. Why do you have to taste so good and ruin everything?!?!

Anyways, so I thought maybe if I tried to take this working out thing a bit more seriously...maybe the better eating would follow, or, if nothing else, maybe I'd actually lose a few pounds and that would propel me to take this a bit more seriously. But, of course, it didn't.

Do you know what it took for me to finally get angry enough to do something about it?

A huge blow-out between me and my husband And his leadership skills, or in my head at the time, a lack of.

You know those people who self-destruct because of things other people around them do? Well, that's what happened. Sort of.

I got so mad after trying so long to get things in order...I self-destructed.

"You want to be selfish about money? FINE! Then I'm going to take out our emergency savings and buy all of us clothes and things I've been putting off, because, budget!!!"

"You don't want to lead/be a good example in our health? WHATEVER, DUDE! I'm going to start working out and dieting by myself, then! If you want to stay fat, you're going to have to do it by yourself, because I'm not joining the pity-party fat club meetings anymore, DANG IT!!!" 

So, in my anger, I went out and bought, amoung other things....all this.
I got most of this on sale. Because, although I was angry, I'm not stupid. Most of the time. 
 That's right! This gal is on a diet!
I'm trying to keep it as simple as my simple little brain can handle right now. So, my diet "regimen" includes...
1. One of the two teas pictured(I alternate when I get bored with one), flavored with the Garcinia Cambogia packet.
2. 30 minutes later, a Slim-Fast Shake and a multivitamin
3. One gallon of water, sipped over the course of the day.
4. One more Slim Fast Shake at lunch
5. A container of yogurt for a snack
6. A small portioned dinner, one helping, no going back for seconds(that's what the plate is for, because I need to learn to portion myself better).
Please note- I am no longer drinking coffee at this time. I have started to drink less since April. I'm not sure if I will continue doing this or not. I do feel a bit sluggish/tired sometimes, but I'm hoping it will get better as I continue.
To give you an idea of what I'm considering a "small portion". If it doesn't fit on the plate, I don't eat it. 
 Oh, and I said working out, right? Well, after trying several things on and off for two months, and not finding one that I wanted to become frienemies with(because, let's be real here. Denise can become a little too happy and a little too annoying after awhile. I mean, we get it, Denise. You love helping people lose weight and be healthy. Tone it down, already.), I was SO HAPPY to find out that two or three people uploaded to YouTube a workout I used to do religiously when I was in my late teens! *Happy Squeals!*
Inhale with Steve Ross! 
 Now, before any of you say "Yoga is just stretching out of bed, it's not a REAL workout!" and all those funny meme's we see on social media about yoga, let me tell you, Steve will kick your butt, but make you laugh in a snarky way the entire time. And he will put music on in the background while kicking your butt via downward dogs and happy cows, that you will remember from growing up and then you won't be so mad at him for your hurting arms or sore legs. 
Or maybe that's just me.
I know this may come as a shock to some, but yes, I actually do love yoga. I was suprised to find out that, after three kids and a husband later, isn't as easy for me! Yes, that 150 pound young girl that thought she was obese(seriously, I wish I could slap my younger self), but could do a few(not all) of the advanced moves is now breaking into a huge sweat trying to push herself to do the beginners moves!

But I am still freaking loving it. 

For the next month, I'm going to try to do Inhale with Steve Ross at least four times a week, and keep with my diet regimen at least six. I'm giving myself what I heard another guru call a "YOLO day", because calling it a cheat seems wrong and dirty. I will still abide by the small plate rule, though, and I will still be attempting at least a gallon a day even though it's my cheat  YOLO day.
So far, I'm on week one. I did already backslide one day this week(Wednesday), because of my daughter's volunteer job and not being prepared food-wise for it. Now, I know better and will try my best to plan for it instead of hoping the kids get the memo to pack a meal. Because they always forget to pack a meal. 
Today will be my last day one week. And lookie! I lost some water weight! Went from 210-ish to 205-ish! Go me!

Five Pounds! Yipee!

Anyone else out there trying to shed a few pounds or just be a little bit more health-conscious this summer? I'd love to hear about it! Feel free to comment below or on my Youtube page.

Here's to a (hopefully) slimmer summer!

Until Next Time,
~ Mama Jenn

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Reading 2016

Greetings, Chaotics!

Today, I thought I'd share what our each member in our family is reading this summer. I don't include my husband in this, because, although I have bought him many books, he rarely reads. *shrugs*

So, with that said, here is what the children and I are reading this summer!

My Youngest Daughter(Age 9)
*The Beginner's Bible
*Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia!
* The Fire Cat
*Greg's Microscope
*Nate the Great
*Titanic: Lost and Found
* Junie B. Jones: Monkey Buisness
*Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth
*More Junie B. Jones books of her choosing(we have several, and she really likes them)
*The Chalk Box Kid
*The Paint Brush Kid
* Riding the Pony Express
*Clara and the Book Wagon
*Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie
* Prarie School
*Third Grade Detectives #1, #2, #4, #10
* Jake Drake: Bully Buster

My Son(Age 10)
* Robin Hood
*Swiss Family Robinson
*The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
*The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
*Treasure Island
*The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson
*Sadoka and the Thousand Paper Cranes
*House of Sixty Fathers

My Oldest Daughter(Age 12) 
* The Time Machine
*20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
* Famous Men of the Middle Ages
*The Screwtape Letters
*The Unaborted Socrates
*Mary Jones and Her Bible
*The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial(Audiobook)
*Vivan Apple At The End Of The World(Audiobook)
*The Boy Born Dead(Audiobook)
*Words in the Dust(Audiobook)

Me(30, I mean Forever 21)
*Consumer Reports Books: How to Clean Practically Anything
* I'm Not the New Me(note- this is a re-read, from my college days. It has some language in it, but this woman is my spirit animal at attempting to figure herself out)
* The Complete Tightwad Gazette(Also another re-read, but from my single mom days.Not fully reading, but grazing through it because several of the sections don't apply as technology isn't the same,etc.)
*Homesteading(mostly grazing through this, not fully/completely reading it)
*The Good Wife's Guide(Yes, I know there's a list *out there*, but a wonderful lady whose website I follow made it into a book)
*Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness
And yes, I'm still(still?! Yes, STILL.) reading...
*Created to Be His HelpMeet

What are y'all reading for the summer? Any goodies the kids and I should be adding to our list? Anyone doing a Summer Reading Program at home/with their local library?

Until Next Time,
~ Mama Jenn

Summer Schedule 2016

Greetings, Chaotics!
Today, I thought I'd share our family's schedule for the summer. As I mentioned in a previous post, it will not look very glorious or Stepford-like to some. Yes, we are still homeschooling through the summer. The kids are doing what I call "Language Arts Boot Camp" and it's about as fun as it sounds(*hint* my kids are not lovin' it).

Anyways, here it is!

Monday-Friday Summer 2016 Schedule
5:00 Wake Up, Pray, Coffee/Tea, Personal Devotions/ Reading/Blogging

7:00-9:00 Water grass& garden boxes, pick weeds, feed pets, start breakfast, try to start dinner, and/or try to start some house cleaning task

9:00-10:00 Kids wake up, get ready for day, and eat breakfast, do Family Devotions

10:00 Summer Reading(What we're reading this summer can be found here.)

11:00(ish) Language Arts Boot Camp

12:00-12:30 Lunch

12:30-5(ish) Kids go outside, I finish a cleaning task or two, continue cooking dinner if needed and workout. Walk to the playground for kids to play

5(ish)-6 Free time. I finish dinner if I didn't finish it up to this point. 

6:00-8:00 Dinnertime, Everyone does a final cleanup blitz for the day, baths

8:00-10:00 Technology/Screen time for kids

10:00 Bedtime

I'd love to hear what fellow Stepford wives...or Homeschool Moms..or just plain ol' Families are doing this summer! Feel free to leave me a comment here or on Youtube to let me know!

I also intend on putting up two Vlogs up on Youtube this week- one where I talk "politics", and another where I share a store haul I did. 
And don't forget- if you want to see/read something from me, let me know! 
Stay Sunny! 

Until Next Time,
~ Mama Jenn

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Monthly Menu Plan-June 2016

Greetings, Chaotics!
This month's menu is centered around two things.
1. I am trying to get my grocery bill under $400 this month to meet our family's Summer Budget Challenge goal.
2. I am also trying to use up items in our freezers because we are going to need the room for the produce we're attempting to grow.
With these two things in mind, most of the meat items we already had from previous sales, and most of the fruit items we had from(dare I say?) last summer- this early spring and have been chillin' in our freezer this whole time or were from cans I got on sale that happened to be hanging around in our pantry.
If you see a meal that you'd like the recipe for, please comment and let me know!

Week 1- May 30-June 5
M-F: Hard Boiled Eggs and a banana
Saturday: Sausage and Egg Sandwich on either toast, bagel, or English Muffin
Sunday: Scrambled Eggs, Home Fries, Papa Bear Pancakes, Sausage

M-F: Pinto Beans and Brown Rice
Saturday: Leftover Pizza
Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: Memorial Day BBQ(BBQ Chicken, Hot Dogs, Cheddar Wurst, Hamburgers, Corn on the Cob, Salad, Baked Potatoes, Watermelon)
Tuesday: BBQ Chicken Salad
Wednesday: Cheese Burgers and Fries
Thursday: Baked Potato Buffet
Friday: Cheesesteak Pizza, Pull-Apart Bread
Saturday: Son's birthday meal(Cheeseburgers, Jo-Jo's, BBQ Chips, Salad, Ice Cream, Birthday Cake)
Sunday: Leftovers

Week 2- June 6-12
M-F: Plum Bread
Saturday: Bacon, Egg, and Cheese on Bagel OR Muffins
Sunday: Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Papa Bear Pancakes, Homefries

M-F: PB&J Sandwiches, Pretzels, Carrot Sticks
Saturday: Leftover Pizza
Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: Salmon Patties, Rice, Peas
Tuesday: Corn Chowder, Whole Wheat Biscuits
Wednesday: Slow Cooker Chicken and Pepperoni, Rice
Thursday: Lentil Rice Casserole
Friday: Fruit Cookie "Pizza"
Saturday: No dinner prep. Invited to Pastor's House. Dessert- Strawberry No-bake Cheesecake.
Sunday-No Dinner Prep. Father's Day BBQ @Church. Dessert- Strawberry No-Bake Cheesecake

Week 3-June 13-19
M-F: Apple/Pear Crisp
Saturday: Sausage, Egg, and Cheese on English Muffin
Sunday: Sausage, Scrambled Eggs, Homefries, Papa Bear Pancakes

M-F: PB&J, Popcorn, Homemade Mac N' Cheese w/ peas and corn
Saturday: Pizza Leftovers
Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: Zucchini and Corn Quesadillas, Rice
Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie, Salad
Wednesday: Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs
Thursday: Chili Dogs, Corn on the Cob, baked Potatoes
Friday: Double Bacon(Canadian and Regular) Three Cheese Pizza, Pull-Apart Bread, Salad
Saturday: (Celebrating Father's Day) Lasagna, Cheese-Stuffed Pull-Apart Bread, Ice Cream Lasagna
Sunday: Leftovers

Week 4- June 20-26
M-F: Peach Bread
Saturday: Bacon, Egg, and Cheese on Wheat Toast
Sunday: Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Homefries, Papa Bear Pancakes

M-F: PB&J, 15 Bean Soup
Saturday: Pizza Leftovers
Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: 15 Bean Sausage Soup, Corn Bread
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Lemon-Garlic Chicken, Brown Rice, Green Beans
Wednesday: Turkey Burgers, Home Fries, Carrots
Thursday: Homemade Mac and Cheese with Corn and Peas
Friday: BBQ Chicken Pizza, Pull Apart Bread, Salad
Saturday: Salisbury Steaks w/ gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Peas&Carrots, Apple Pie
Sunday: Leftovers

Week 5-June 27-July 3
M-F: Strawberry and Oatmeal Bread
Saturday: Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Burritos
Sunday: Bacon, Home Fries, Papa Bear Pancakes

M-F: PB&J, Chicken&Orzo Soup
Saturday: Pizza Leftovers
Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: Pinto Beans and Rice, Corn Bread
Tuesday: Chicken and Orzo Soup, Rolls
Wednesday: French Toast w/ Strawberries in Syrup
Thursday: Creamy Sausage and Tomato Skillet
Friday: Breakfast Pizza, Cheddar-Garlic Biscuits, Salad
Saturday: null and Chips, Ice Cream
Sunday: Leftovers

Until Next Time,

~Mama Jenn