A Family Life Blog

Posts for Momprenuer Balancing Act Category

No Time To Can

I have no time to can these days. With a busy life, new baby, and just a general sense of crazy that surrounds my life I am a little short on time. However when I saw these amazing strawberries on sale I had to grab them up. Of course I had high hopes of turning them into a fabulous batch of jelly for my family to enjoy, then like a brick to the head reality set in and I realized I had no time to do so.

Since I had already purchased the berries (where was that reality reminder in the produce isle) I was simply going to have to find a way to save them for later.

july-029I decided to freeze them!

I am only making Jam so they don’t have to hold their shape or anything so I did a basic water freeze to save for a later date. I usually pack my frozen fruit in juice for eating a baking but I am turning these into jam so I didn’t want any extra sugar to start the process of the berry’s letting their natural juices out in defrost. I wanted to save that for later.

So all you have to do is simply wash, chop, add a bit of h2o and freeze flat in a freezer zip lock.

Ok so there  are a few pics that are not related above! They include our beautiful son sharing the best thing to do with the left overs! And my favorite apron because it rocks!

If you have any questions please let me know!



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Work From Home Moms Share Their Struggles

Video Credit : Life Time Moms

Wonderful Video from Angela Chee of Lifetime Moms on how to balance working from home!

Guess what we are not alone, and other mothers get distracted too.I am constantly shushing someone during a conference call or trying to balance the choice of getting up early or staying up late. I am far from figuring it all out, but some how just the knowledge that others are in my crazy boat amply names the SS TRYING TO DO IT ALL makes me feel less stranded on a messy deserted island.

What are some of your tips for working from home?

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My day With The Bellyflops

Kids & Family, Momprenuer Balancing Act - Jenna - July 17, 2012

My boys and I snuggled in this evening after baths and teeth to read a few books on the couch as is customary in our home around this time. It had been a long day and to be honest I was spent and still had at least two hours worth of work hanging over my head.  I got all the wriggly bunch of boy tamed long enough to crack open a library book. I hadn’t even looked at the title now or when I tossed it into the library bag last week. Gone are the days of lingering and here are the days of just get it done so this is normally thank God I belong to a good library and stay in the kid section otherwise I might have read them some horror book due to my absent minded book selections. Give me  a break at least I am reading to them right….

Any way back to the couch. We opened the book with a cute family of five pigs on it. Thinking back this is probably the exact reason I chose it.

A Day with the Bellyflops

As I got about 2 pages in I started to snap out of  my half engaged fog and realized this book was about my family and could have been written by anyone visiting my house on any given day. The cute little family of pigs has a dad that works away from home and a mom that cares for her three piglets and works from her home office . Of course this is a children’s book so it is full of cuteness and tender words. Francine Bassede must be or know a work from home mom because she hit the nail right on the head with this one.

This book was so cute and really captured just what it is that us mums work from the house have to go through. Even my oldest son stopped and said “wow this sounds like us mom”

Don’t take my word for it. Go get it and read it and tell me what you think! What is it like in your work from home house now I am curious is it just me and Mrs. Bellyflop that share the same story or are there more of us out there!


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How to do a DIY Boys Birthday!

I would like to take this time to say a very Happy Birthday to my sweet Wyatt! He is FIVE! Wow I cannot even believe I am typing that right now! I thought maybe typing it would be less weird than saying it but, nope it’s just as strange to use the big FIVE before his name here!

Since I just had  baby & am like crazy busy this one kind of snuck up on me…GASP you say! Yeah yeah yeah It happens. So I had to pull something together quick, and on the cheap! Thanks to the inspiration from a scrap of fabric which later became the theme to my party I was able to do a totally DIY Boys Birthday party ! Here’s what we did!


Of course we started out with a Birthday Breakfast complete with candles and singing which is customary in our home.

I had invited several of his friends via Facebook & email! Thank God for this digital time we live in. I would have so failed as a mom that had to mail out everything via post mark. That would take real planning.

Any way we planned it at the park where I simply had cupcakes & games and candy! DONE!

Everything  pictured I made from what I had around the house! A fabric banner with his name, decorations, & I reused streamers & balloons from other parties. I put candy in my canisters I keep on my counter & just made cute signs, An ice tub with juice boxes just decorated up, & my favorite thing…My hubys tools for center pieces!  I picked several colors and mashed them together so I could use more of what I had. I recommend this so you can be more flexible with your decorations!

Wyatt told me it was the best birthday EVER!

See they don’t need much. I loved this party. It was super easy to put together, so I was less stressed and able to enjoy the party more. I had fun doing it & I can only judge by the look on his face in some of these pics that Wyatt did too!

*If you would like more detailed instructions on anything you see here I would be happy to post them, just leave a comment as to which ones you need!

Happy Juggling Mamas


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Teacher Name Tag Holder Gift

It’s that time of year again! Schools almost out!

No more school, no more books, no more teachers dirty looks! Well at least that is what I use to scream going down the hall pig tails flapping. Now it’s more like……….

No more school, No more missing books, No more lunch money, No more pleeeease honey’s!

Ahh yes how things change!

The end of the year for this mama means home made treats, parties, & teacher gifts. All as one last super mom effort before I am off the hook for summer!

Here is what I came up with for this years teach gifts. A Teacher Name Tag Holder for all those badges & keys our teachers have to tote around on those less than chic lanyards.

I actually got the idea after seeing something similar &  using a few ideas  to put together my own theme! I hope you enjoy….

Here’s what you need!


Scrap Fabric for flowers I found at Wise Craft ! Also there is a template there you need to print ! I printed it about a year ago and have used it a ton. I used this tut to make mine so all the flower credit goes to Blair at wise craft! I just added pics of mine so you could see the colors I used and such.

1/2 yard to 2/3 yard lanyard fabric

Button for flower

Lanyard tags if making badge

Lanyard hooks or key chain

Scrap paper if making name badge ( I made badges for my pre-k teachers but you could just make the lanyard if your teachers have school badges )

Glitter glue for name badges or teacher poem

One cute assistant! I got mine at Conover baby .com but she is a one of a kind so you will have to manufacture your own!

spring-2012-326Of course you will need the usual sewing subjects like scissors, thread, pins, machine, needle ect. I thought of that after the fact but if you are at this tut you probably figured out you need those things!  If not I am sorry ! Did I mention I have three kids and have to make 5 of these and it’s two days before I have to have them done?

spring-2012-338First decide what colors you want & stack em up ! Cut out two of the large & four of the small. I used different colors & added to my small to make it more fluffy! But you can follow the directions at www.wisecraft.com also and get it done just the same.

spring-2012-341Now we just fold & sew like so….

spring-2012-342Fold each pedal wrong sides together & lay on top of the two big pedals alternating, and stacking like this. Keep going until you have two left. Then fold the two you have left in quarters and place in the middle. Sorry no pic of the last two but you will see what I mean.

spring-2012-344When your flower looks like a flower sew it together with a button in the center. Taking care to grab a bit of each piece as you stitch. I also  left a long tail to sew to the lanyard when I was done.

spring-2012-348Now we will make our Lanyard. I realized when I was putting this together that I didn’t get very good pics. This was about the time my cute assistant got hungry & I lost her to a milk induced comma…so I found this tut on fabric lanyard if you need some extra help. She does it the same as I do but with better instructions!

spring-2012-366Now take your flower from before & use the long tail to sew it onto the lanyard! I put mine on, and measured about half way down on one side as a good spot to place the flower.

spring-2012-367 If you made a name badge you can stick it on and call in done! I have also put coffee cards on the end, or key chain gift cards work nice if you want to really spoil your teacher.

I hope yours turn out cute, you survive the last few weeks of school, and you have a wonderful summer break!

xoxo Jenna

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Top Female Earners

Momprenuer Balancing Act - Jenna - May 16, 2011

It’s no secret I have been doing some serious soul searching. Part of that search is the search for a new career. In my research i found an article that broke down the top paying careers for woman. They are pretty much the same as men and are not really family friendly.

However I wonder if there are any readers that have any of these careers, and are willing to share how they feel and what they make.

So what are these careers? According of to the Bureau of Land Statistics the top Five are as fallows…





*Computer Programer

*Occupational Therapists

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Tapped out in the burbs is it time to move?

Momprenuer Balancing Act - Jenna - April 13, 2011

I was running errands yesterday and listening to NPR on my travels.  Neal Conan was sharing a story on blacks moving back to the south. 

Between 1916 and 1970, African-Americans living in the South moved in waves from the Jim Crow South in hope of new opportunities to cities like Cleveland, New York and Chicago. The latest census data shows that African-Americans are on the move again, this time in the opposite direction. In recent years, surprising numbers of African-Americans packed up their families and moved below the Mason-Dixon Line and from cities to the suburbs.

Jobs and a lower cost of living are part of the appeal, but there is also a cultural and historical attraction, a desire to return to places that previous generations called home.

It was a very interesting story, with several guests weighing in on the topic from all races. The main point that captured my interest was that of fellow business owners that had experianced  a saturation in the market of suburbia. With today’s tough times the need for more than one business in the same market is just about zero, making it even harder to survive, let alone thrive in the average north eastern strip mall.

For these reasons many families, business owners, politicians ect. are pulling up stakes and relocating to a less saturated market with a lower cost of living.

This really got me thinking. At what point do you start to look outside your area for opportunity? Would you make such a move if you thought you could make it some where else?

To me the thought is entirely possible, and quite exciting, however to my dear husband it is not at all on the table. I think the whole idea of a new prospect, place, & people would be amazing. I suppose that is the dreamer in me. The steadfast work horse in him works best head down, one foot in front of the other. To say the least it would be a major compramise for our family.

So ok, there are huge risks as well as the unknown, and adjustment. So would you consider it? Would you pull up stakes? What are the factors that would sway your desicion?

Leave me a comment and lets discuss…….

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To upgrade or live with? That is the question!

Momprenuer Balancing Act - Jenna - March 29, 2011

In these tough economic times we are all paying close attention to spending. I come across fellow business owners that maybe pulled a p&l once a year now sleeping with it a night. So what do you do when you have not replaced any of your office technology since 07 when you cut out your morning latte?

While you may have added in a business lunch here, and there, or a latte once a week. Many of us are limping along some of our outdated computers, copiers, software, and even office chairs, to avoid  dipping into the profit to make that dreaded big ticket item purchase.

So whats a business gal to do?  That computer is the sole cause of your recent high blood pressure but hey it’s still working & cash is king so buy or save?

In this case I am going to say something that contradicts my usually save save save motto. This is no time to be left in the dust because you don’t have the right equipment to get the job done. You don’t have to go bring in  a consultant to redo your entire office but there are some purchses  you should make to ensure you are up to par.

So here’s the skinny, If you have equipment that you know is slowing you down it’s time to upgrade. If you have employees that could be more productive if they didn’t have to reboot, unjam, baby along or stand on their head to get the tools that are suppose to help them do their job work right, imagine how much more effective they could be. Here are the top on the fence purchases for most business owners.

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While you don’t have to go all out on software there might be some that you need to go ahead and get the newest version. Again look at what is causing you pain and make a decision. A construction bz may not need the new office suite but your accounting software may no be supported  soon. You can go through your most used software and google or call to find out if there are patches or how long there will be updates available.

In terms of your actual machine I would say consult a profession IT person to see if there is anything you can do to your current server or machine to speed it up and make it run like new. Often people have their lap tops packed full of pics, docs, and unused items that can be removed and get you back up to speed. If  your dinosaur should be put in a museum that make sure you do your research and don’t just buy whats on sale at your big box store. Chances are you are going to want this one to last and you don’t want to be stuck in this same spot in two years.

Can you hear me now?

If you still flip your phone you may need to visit a phone store. Especially if you are trying to use social media in business. Phones are kind of like mini computers these days but not all are created equally, some offer Internet, and email but it is in an entirely different format than the full version which may limit some essential options. Be careful to make sure your providers don’t try and hit you with big network or data charges, and make sure you check to see what you are eligible for in way of upgrades, rebates, ect.

My Dad gave me this stapler!

Basic office equipment can most of the time be used for years and years. If you have a stapler from 1967 that still works and you can get supplies for it that buy all means keep on truckin. However if you are trying to get patients into your Chiropractic office with mustard chairs from 1967 you may want to look for some ways to update on the cheap. There are lots of ways to re do an office with out spending alot.

So the rule of thumb is if it slows you down update. Think in terms of bikes! If your colleagues are on motorcycles and you are riding a radio flyer tricycle, you may want to make some smart purchases to catch up or get left in the dust with only your juice box to comfort you. However if there are things that work just fine and you you really know that you can wait than do so. you can always keep your eye out for those items and if a killer deal comes up that you can go ahead but don’t go pay full price for a want item.

I hope this helps in some way! So what are you going to replace and what are you going to hold on to?

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Fellow Business Mom on Blog Talk Radio

Momprenuer Balancing Act - Jenna - March 21, 2011

I am all about gaining support, in site & inspiration from other Mompreneurs that have gone before me, or are in the trenches with me. So I just had to bring you this link to Blog Talk Radio broadcast that is focused on moms in business.

This posted from Dori DeCarlo’s Group at http://www.businessmom.net

Every Thursday join me on Word of Mom on BlogTalkRadio at 2pmEST/11amPST and MomTVat 4pmEST/1pmPST.  Word of Mom shares MOMpreneurs and BusinessWomen building their business and helping others do the same. I endeavor to bring these amazing women to the forefront in a format that is relaxed and unpredictable, to say the least.  Join me, share with us and connect with other MOMpreneurs and BusinessWomen making it happen.  Together, we can make a difference.

Did you listen?What do you think? Do you enjoy hearing from other moms who do what you do?

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What the folks at Walstreet journal have to say about financing your business

Momprenuer Balancing Act - Jenna - March 15, 2011

After my post last week on women  in history I was inspired to further explore some of those fun business ideas I have had in the past. One thing that kept coming up as a major reason why some of them never saw the  light was that I did not have the capitol to get them off the ground. This fact got me thinking ( I know twice in one day scary) so I sought out some information on business finance and found some great information at the Wall Street Journal on how to finance a growing business.

I encourage all my fellow mamas to check it out and remember your dreams can happen any time you make them happen. What are your dreams for your business or a business you would like to start.

Happy Monday

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