A Family Life Blog

Posts for busy moms

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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Meals for $10.00

As a mom of 2 1/2 on a budget I am always trying to fill up my hungry bunch with healthy foods, while trying to maintain a weekly food budget of $100.00! Most weeks I come with in $25.00 of this goal with coupons and meal plans, but recently I have found that I am in a slump.

If you’ve been in such a slump you know what I mean. When you could practically photo copy your weekly list, and use it from week to week your there :) So what are we to do about it? Not wanting to go over budget, and having the luxury of non picky eaters this mama has been surfing the net, and is going to try some new recipes for $10.o0 or less!

There are several sites, shows, blogs, and article devoted to menus that claim to produce yummy meals for $10.00 or less to feed a family of four. I am just starting and will keep you updated, but what I have found so far is that this should be pretty easy. Some of my regular meals are even pretty cheap and would fall into this category but that’s not the goal here, the goal is new and fresh on the cheap!

The system seems to be buy on sale and in season, and think fresh. Believe it or not it is cheaper to eat fresh and in season than processed :) Obviously it’s healthier and tastes better to! So think beyond the #ramon noodles and lets dive in.ny0210_bbq-pork-panini-sandwich_sm

Here is my list for this week along with my top sites I found. But think outside th box. I found it helpful to assign a guesstimated dollar amount to each item on my list so I could add up and stay on track. If an item was over I found a sub or ditched it all together. You can also check your local adds to see whats on sale so there is no surprise and plan for a week trying to use in season or on sale items in multiple dishes.

My Menu this week for Dinners

Grilled Pork Chops, Corn on the cob, fruit salad www.foodnetwork.com

Hot Dog Bar , Chips, Corn Salad ( use left over corn) www.grillmaster.comfnm_070110-fc-hot-dogs-062_s3x4_lg

Paninis, Cheese Tort pasta salad www.tasteofhome.com

Steak Salad on the grill, grilled bread,home made frozen yogurt www.foodnetwork.com 97643_92x69

 Home Made Pizza, Fruit salad kabobs, yogurt dip www. just me:)


I hope this inspires you to mix it up a bit for your family. Even if you are on a budget ! I would love to hear what you come up with :)

-Juggling Mama yum!

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Fire in my pants

Kids & Family, Momprenuer Balancing Act - Jenna - November 3, 2010

Today after a particularly busy day my bouncy little three year old came up to me and announced “I have fire in my pants” of course this caused a reaction of laughter from everyone at the table including myself.  When I asked him to tell me  more, he began to run around frantic, zig zagging in every direction and announcing “fire fire fire in my pants”

I was rolling at this point but had to ask ” buddy where did you come up with that?” much to my surprise my sweet little brown eyed boy looked straight at me and said” Mommy you always have fire in your pants that is why you never sit down cause it burns”

Yes, at this point my jaw dropped to the floor, and I was not sure whether to laugh or cry. Even my little guy can see how much I go & do. Even he has taken into account my inability to not sit and be still. My sweet three year old just ment it to be funny and it was at the time, but it defiantly made me stop and think.

Of course I can’t just stop everything and commence  to painting my nails when ever I want, but do I really want to be known as the lady with fire in her pants? I think not, so I sought out some really great advise from some trusted friends and colleges. After gently letting me in on the secret that I am indeed already known as the lady with the fire in her pants, a small  light was shed that there  is hope for me still.

It is true I have to prioritize better, and learn to not take on so much. But the recurring theme to their advise was to just slow down a bit. Often times we get so wrapped up in thinking ahead that we end up bouncing from one task to another with no transition at all. The best advise I was given was to simple take on one thing at time. Which for me means focusing solely on just one task. Then once you have completed that task take a minute to acknowledge your accomplishments no matter how big or small, and then and only then move onto something else.

I am not sure if I will ever be rid of the stigma of being the lady with fire in her pants, but by applying this new life lesson given to me by some very wonderful people. I at least hope to be able to correct this tendency to overdo enough that my kids, friends, and family notice something else, anything else about me than how on fire my pants seem to be.

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How I keep it all straight

Momprenuer Balancing Act - Jenna - August 31, 2010

People ask me all the time how I can be involved in so many things and keep it all straight. I just smile and say something cheeky like “well I do own a cape”. If they only knew the huge number of sticky notes, and lists it takes to keep me in line. Even then I drop the ball by forgetting a due date, or plowing right through an important event, because it didn’t make it on to my list.
I am a self professed lister and I would be no where if I couldn’t write it down and check it off as I go. Even now there are three calanders and two lists with in eye sight. So when I look for a new organizer it has to stand up to my crazy busy life.
No little week at at glance will do for this mama. I need a planner that will be big enough and tough enough to handle all my lists, appointments, and kids social calendars.
My favorite by far is the Mom’s Plan It Organizers and calendars. I just love these, because there is enough room to list and actually write things down in your busy sloppy mom sort of way, and the calendars are laid out with times as well which really helps keep it all together. You can get them at most major retailers or www.amazon.com !
So there it is that’s my secret……a really good planner. But don’t tell anyone I don’t really wear a cape under my shirt. We wouldn’t want to burst anyones bubble.

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Making sure a newbie doesn’t have to go it alone

Kids & Family, Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - September 29, 2009

If you are reading this blog chances are you  are a busy mom! emphasis on busy.. but there was a time when you  had a different emphasis on your mom title…new!

You remember the time… the excitement, the fear, the sleeplessness mixed with post-partum & a sharp dose of reality. These first years of mother hood for me were survived with a good bottle of wine,  thick book on “what to expect” & a close group of trusted advisors.

If there is a new mom in your area, she may be needing a friend to help her through. This may mean that you have to reach out to her beyond your comfort zone, but think back to those deer in the head light days of yours & imagine going it alone. You’ll be glad you reached out and so will she.

Here are some simple ways to reach out to a new mommy……..

Visit a new mom & coo over her not her baby

start out with.. my you look great! New moms need to know they are doing a good job & looking great! They have had enough unsolicited advise & baby only visitors…trust me!

Bring a meal

The very best gift you will ever give a new mom is a meal, shall I repeat? the very best gift you will ever give a new mom is a meal!

Clean her house

Or hire it done! Either way more time for her will help.

Watch baby while she takes a walk or gets a pedi

A new mom needs time herself. Often she may not want to admit it, but the road back to yourself after baby can start with me time. Give her some me time by offering her some needed me time ALONE!

Pick up groceries

Call when you are out to see what she needs, or just pick up some basics & drop them off. This is a good time for coffee to :) Lots of great mom advise comes over a cup of joe & a counter.

Lend a hand or a funny story about baby care

A new mom may be having a hard time nursing or diapering. Whatever it is often times just a story of your own blunder helps to reassure her. If the mom asks for help, lend a hand but don’t push.

Invite her out to activities with her baby

New moms need a gal pal but don’t want to leave there baby. So inviting her out to girls night out may not really help, but a stroller date at the park could do her wonders.

We are all busy, but in the end all we really have is our relationships & there are some very simple ways you can make a big difference in the life of a new mom .

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