A Family Life Blog

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Kids & Family, Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - June 19, 2012

lilly-lake-2012-045This is my lovely bunch of kiddos on a bridge in Rocky Mountain National Park. my Sissy Kari captured our happy faces from below after an outing at Lilly Lake. I think she did a great job..don’t you?

lilly-lake-2012-049 However this is my favorite picture taken on the trip! It takes a great photographer, and or sister to put up with the “just one more with silly faces” picture!   I LOVE SILLY FACE PICS! What about you? do you prefer the smile or silly’s?

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It’s Ok

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - March 6, 2012

Today I am reminded that it is ok to be imperfect. That is really hard for me to admit, but it really is ok and sometimes it is even necessary. So today try to think of something you usually perfect that you could let go for just today.Instead of doing that perfect thing perfectly, try to be with a perfect person imperfectly!



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U tube is the new grandma

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - November 21, 2011

Tis the season for home made goodies in my house. I am by nature a pretty crafty girl, but not all crafts can be tackled with sheer will, most need a little know how. So what happens when your want to andyour know how don’t exactly match up?

 In the decades past we had our Grandmothers and Mothers that naturally showed us the way & shared their skills with us. However for this reason & that it seems that those skills are  either being lost all together or being found in new places. So whats a girl to do that wants to learn new things in this fast paced, right now world……. U tube of course!

Anything you need to be tought or shown how to do is available on this vast library of web videos. I am amazed at the sheer number of things that are available to learn at the touch of a button. Do I think that a warm fire, and a cup of tea with grandma would be a better way to learn that new crochet stitch, well yes of course, is that possible? Do you think I would be writing this post if it were…… I’ll let you add it up!

For that reason I have declared U Tube the new Grandma! Or at very least the new source for show me how knwoladge . I have no idea what they will think of next and I really hope my Grandkids can come to me for their show me how to needs. To ensure that I think I may need to make a U tube video  for them to watch later!

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Be involved in school no matter how much time you don’t have!

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - August 28, 2011

Recently I read an article that stated the obvious…Children, teachers, and schools do better when parents pitch in. I will spare you the break down of the 1000 words of what you already know. DUH! But what do you do when you are a mother of 4 who works full time & already volunteer’s elsewhere? There are a number of ways you can help out and make a difference even if you only have 5 min a week!  Really!

Don’t think that if you can’t organize the next bake sale you are not of good use to your school.There are even things you can do with out setting foot in the school it’s self. All you have to do is ask and your child’s teacher, the PTO leader, the secretary, and the principle will have plenty of ideas. Here are a few I have gathered to get you started…….

If you have 5 min

Send an email reminder for you teacher to the other parents

Offer to help lead the bus line once a week

write a quick not to thank your child’s teachers or staff pick a new one each week and by the end of the year everyone that enriches your child during the year will know they are loved & appreciated.

Volunteer to bring a store bought snack once a month

Donate to the next food drive or clothing gather

Tell your crossing guard thank you

Take the time to sign and actually read what the teacher sends home each week

Pack a special note for you child

If you have an hour

Sign up to help once a month in your child’s class

Create a flyer for the PTO

Gather supplies for the next function

update the class or school web page

Take your child to a special lunch

Bring your teacher a coffee

Organize a study group for your child & her friends

Be a team parent

Sign up to bring a dinner item once during conferences or bring your child’s teacher dinner on your night

If you have more than an hour

Join the PTO

Become a class parent

Start a club for your school

Organize and spear head a fund raiser

Coach a team

Volunteer for recess duty

Some of these things may be very small, some may take a lot of commitment, but no matter the size of your contribution you will be making a difference for your school, your child, and thier teachers. What you do does matter, if we all do what we can then we are doing our best!

Happy school year mama’s!

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Pushing The Envelope

Kids & Family - Jenna - June 21, 2011

Recently my boys, and I were chill’n in the afternoon trying to beat the 90 degree heat with a little a/c and movie time. We had just settled on a Disney Channel afternoon feature when to my surprise I was greeted not by mickey mouse, or even  the annoying Hanna Montana. No either of those would have been fine for my little boys eyes. Instead I was shocked to have a twilight like vampire scene playing out right in front of me, and my 4 & 7 year old boys.

My guys were a bit shocked as well and hid their little eyes right away. I couldn’t believe it. The particular commercial was for movie so I thought well we just won’t watch the Disney Channel until after the air date of the movie. I hated the fact that my safe channel had been wrecked by the vampire craze of some rouge marketing team that had decided to forgo morals in place of what sells. But I could live with a week of no Disney Channel .

So after a week of protecting my little ones from all things underworld I was flabbergasted to see they were turning it into a series! Oh Super! I know what your thinking, just pick a different channel lady whats the big deal?

Well so me the big deal is how far are we going to push the envelope? As is it our society is so enthralled with violence, and shock value the average child has witnessed a few hundred murders, crimes, and dismemberment’s, so now we are going to add the blood sucking soulless underworld to the mix.

I just don’t know what should be shown on children’s tv in the name of ratings. I don’t want my kids to be totally sheltered but I also don’t want my kids ok with seeing trauma conflicted my vampires on children  from the Disney channel or even the threats of it. I mean I’m just saying but how many crazed 12 year olds do we need? Isn’t the proof in the pudding here? I would think that the school shootings, deaths, drugged , lazy, and half crazed kids running about would be enough to have someone say maybe we should to whats right not what makes money.

Just my two cents looking out for my two boys!

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Life In the fast lane on Mothers Day

Mom Time - Jenna - May 5, 2011

Earlier today I found myself scrubbing a toilet used by four boys as the Eagles hit Life In The Fast lane  came streaming in from the kitchen radio. At that exact moment I was running through the weeks tasks, one of which was the upcoming plans for Mothers Day.

How ironic that I was the one up to my elbows in, well I am not going to mention it here. But just trust me it wasn’t pretty. But seriously I am the one in the thick of mothering, and I am trying to plan out how to fit in all the things we have obligated ourselves to doing for our mothers. This while they sit happily in semi retirement wondering what time I will be arriving bearing gifts, neatly pressed grandchildren, and my husbands handyman services.

Don’t get me wrong I appreciate all that they have done. I beleive I have been expressing this for 30 years now. I don’t mind doing things for them, and of course I want to honor them. But for pete sakes at what point is it my Mothers Day?

I do not enjoy a husband that feels that it is his duty to accommodate me on Mothers Day, as I am not his mother. My kids are small, and while I love their home made gifts. The cereal in bed I have come to cherish over the last few years I wouldn’t trade for the world. That being said however I must state that  it seems no one is going to suddenly say ” happy mothers day Jenna, what is it that you would like to do today?” or ” gee how could we help you feel relaxed and loved today?”  It seems that the only one that is going to be doing that is me!

And what the heck is wrong with that any way? Why can’t we say” I love and honor you” to our moms with a card and maybe a small gift, then take the darn day to ourselves .  And why can’t our moms see this as well? Surely they were plagued with the same ill fate of being everything for everyone while sacrificing their own happiness.

I am not saying you should be selfish here but what is the point of the day if we don’t get to honor ourselves as moms if no one else is going to? I feel part of honoring yourself is giving place to your needs. So if a walk on the beach is what brings you peace than you should be able to do it and enjoy it. I feel like I am not able to enjoy this day that is suppose to be for recharging and honoring my efforts as a mother.

This mothers day I am making a declaration to honor our mothers with a card, a call, maybe even flowers. I will send them all the love and light I can each time I think of them on this day, and then I plan on doing as Liz Guilbert in Eat Pray Love advises, and dropping it. What I mean by this not that Iam not honoring them, rather I am going to give them their place and then unapologetically honor myself as a mother as well.

I am all for showing love, respect, and honor to the women in our lives that have raised us, been there for us, and still remain in our hearts. These moms deserve their praise. We deserve ours as well. You only live once and if no one is going to do it for you than honey you are going to have to do it for yourself. It may be planting your garden, or reading your book on the porch, a long run, a hot bath, or a fishing trip with the very boys that did such unspeakable things to your toilet just days before.

What ever it is that recharges you, please please please just to it this Mothers Day. Do it for me, do it for yourself, do it for the mother it will make you be on Monday. And for goodness sakes do it with out apology, with out shame, and like no one is watching. After all you are living life in the fast lane right now.  The pee covered, matted, brightly colored, messy, fast lane and it isn’t slowing down any time soon. So what better time moms!

From the bottom part of my heart to yours…..Happy Mothers Day Moms! Enjoy it! Really ENJOY it!

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Brain Boosting Breakfast

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - April 26, 2011

Off to the races!

If you are running out of the house with only coffee in hand, and hoping to take on a to do list as long as your arm you may be setting yourself up for a crash.

Lets go back a bit…. The alarm rings at O dark thirty, and you lug yourself out of bed. Before you even get to the bathroom your day is starting to play out in your head. It is as if you are ramping yourself up for the world series, but this is just your Tuesday. After hustling and bustling combing, feeding, last minute homework, client prep, pets fed, car started, missing shoe found, you are out the door!

Sure you feed the kids a well balanced meal, maybe even a little bit of what they left on the plate made it into your mouth , but the only thing you are walking out the door with is two well taken care of kids, a briefcase, a large to do list , and a cup of coffee. Am I getting it right so far?

Considering this is how my morning goes most days I am betting I am not the only poor mom who is left tackling the day on meir fumes. Leading experts state that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While this is no breaking news to us moms who make sure our kids have a brain boosting good for you packed first meal to start them off right, we often miss ourselves in this crucial step.

According to moms I recently spoke with some of us are grabbing a value meal item, or a pastry from the coffee shop, some hit up the burrito lady and a few of you even just spend the first 15-30 minutes of your day at the office feeding yourself. So what gives? Why do we always forget ourselves in the morning hustle & bussel even when we know better.

Well, all the reasons are quite frankly an entirely different Oprah. What is for sure is that skipping breakfast, and then grabbing junk three hours after you have been awake and run the equivalent of a mini marathon both physically, and mentaly  are effecting you in more ways than you know. Studies show that children who eat breakfast do better in school. It doesn’t take much further thought to realize adults will feel better and perform better at work as well. Whether you work at home, on the farm, at the office, at school, or on the road, it is not a good idea to skip breakfast. Eating a good breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Why it’s a bad idea?

When you skip breakfast, you are likely to become tired when your brain and body run low on fuel. By mid-morning, you might grab a cup of coffee or wolf down a sugary candy bar to wake up again. This might work for a few minutes, but by lunch time you are hungry, crabby, and perhaps your mood might make you a little more prone to make unhealthy choices at lunch.

Skipping breakfast is a common strategy for losing weight, but not a smart one. Many people believe that they will lose weight if they skip meals, but that just isn’t true; the body expects to be refueled a few times each day — starting with breakfast.

Actually, eating breakfast is good for weight loss. In fact, people who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain a healthy weight.

What to make….

Making a healthy breakfast is actually easier than you think, and as we just learned can make all the difference in your day, your productivity, and your waist line.

Try having a smoothie takes five minutes and If you are crunched for time just rinse your blender and leave in the sink for dinner time, no one will mind. You can also buy pre made juiced beverages. Make no mistake these are not sugary breakfast drinks they are juiced and usually in the fresh fruit isle or at a health food store. I like Bolt House Farms . Also try fix ahead, I make a batch of breakfast burritos with a whole wheat tortilla, turkey bacon and egg whites to have on hand when it is crazy busy. I am not appose to breakfast bars as long as they are not packed with sugar and you can pair them with a protien like a shake or even a cheese stick can be good. A good one is the eat natural bars or really any thing with more protein than sugar.

Another great idea is simply try to get up 15 minutes earlier and plan on sitting gown with your family for breakfast. It doesn’t have to be a June cleaver butter covered meal reserved for Saturdays? You can have what they are having and just sit and talk for a few minutes. We all know the benefits of sitting down for dinner with our clan. Taking a few minutes in the beginning of the day can root the family and really help start every ones day out right.

I know it is busy and some days we may blow it but lets try it! lets try it for at least the week! I would love to hear your stories, and share any ideas for a quick healthy breakfast that helped you stick to it and feel great.

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St. Pattys Day at our crazy house!

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - March 17, 2011

This year our green holiday is on a Thursday. This fact may seem unimportant to you, but to us it carries a bit more weight. You see the dreaded forth day of the week marks a work day for me, I have a friends kids after school, we have swim lessons, my husband has a coaches meeting, throw in home work, the eve of my mothers meeting which usually entails baking something & frantically organizing last minu deteails, and a broken dryer needing to be fixed and well lets just say it’s gonna take alot more than a pinch to wake me up from that nightmare to make a green cake.

So all I could muster up was a smelly cornbeef & cabbage crock pot dinner & green applesauce. I am sure my Celtic grandmother is rolling in her kilt but hey whats a busy mom to do? This is all I got this year and no little green man came and cleaned my house last night so a Very Happy St. Patty’s to all my Moms who love their family, their jobs, and all things green……..

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
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Love is enough

Kids & Family - Jenna - February 14, 2011

heartI love Valentines Day! I know I am a sap. My friends say if I were a color I would be pink for sure. So naturally I adore this gushy, blush colored holiday, however commercial it may be.

Given the combination of the times, and my ridiculous schedule  a romantic date with candles, great wine, stimulating conversation , and a hot black dress are not happening this year. I admit in years past I would have been disappointed by the truth surrounding the check book and day timer on this of all days. But this year I can honestly say that I was so happy to share the love with my boys at home, and it only cost $30.00 for a wonderful evening.

Sexy black dresses were not worn, the wine was actually ice water , but there were candles, wonderful conversation, one of my favorite meals, and three of the most wonderful men a girl could ever hope to have at her table.

After a vacation last week, a very expensive trip to the dentist, and the hustle and bustle of February for a bookkeeper the fact I was able to make an appearance at the class party, pull enough glitter and red paper together to make homemade cards, and call to order Chinese was a feet in itself. But after we were all set at the kitchen table, chop sticks in hand, the flicker of left over Christmas candles lighting the sweet faces of my boys I was overcome with joy.

It may not have been the picture perfect valentines date girls dream of, but It was my favorite of them all thus far. Myold jeans provided ample room for dessert, there were no crowds, no one hushed their belly laughs, or had to wait on an overstressed waiter for a refill. There was just us, just three men and a princess enjoying eachother more than anything.  

It is times like tonight wrapped in a blanket watching a Disney movie with my family that it hits me. I can work very hard and buy them a chocolate filled car, or a five foot heart on any given holiday, but it is always the moments that all I have to give is myself that I am surprised to get the ever sought after “mom you are the best mommy in the whole world”

We can all get busy, life can throw us the most amazing curve balls, and well money comes and goes, but today I am reminded that love truly does last forever. Your kids mot likely cannot tell you the gifts you purchased two years ago that broke the bank, but I assure you that the moment you stood before them with only your heart, and love to pour out they will for ever hold in their hearts, and take with them.

Happy Valentines Day Moms. You are all amazing and doing a wonderful job, just remember ….”the greatest of these is Love” and it is especially true in mothering as I found out over take out this very evening.


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It’s that time of year again, TurkeyDay! For some of you this means a day of warm baked goodness, parades, feasting with family & football. Not that these things don’t occur but for many of us this day also means juggling.

Since having one set of parents has become the anomaly I am pretty sure I am not the only one that has to figure out how to  include all of the family in your day. Whether you or your husband or both have step family, extended family, or just plain ol’ crazy family this can get tricky.

The complexity of family drama have vastly accelerated past what to do with the wine after uncle so & so has had too much. Oh, if it were that simple. I remember when my Husband & I first were married. We spent hours in the car, ate 4 meals, undoubtedly hurt someones feelings that we couldn’t stay for THEIR traditions, and never got to watch an entire game. Of course we came home with a weeks worth of left overs, but dealing with all the family made me want to vomit.

Don’t get me wrong we love our family, but the fact that no one could for go their issues to eat a flippin turkey in the same house, but each timed their dinner with in an hour of each other, and demanded us there was, well a little much.

So what’s a girl to do, well this girl bought a house with a big dinning room and now I get to host the holidays, oh, everyone is in the same room, but it is me that needs to have the wine hidden. I guess they can be in the same room, and for a few years it was just stuffy & uncomfortable, but now it is loud and opinionated, and full of maddness & love all at the same time. It is still not with out it’s disappointments, failures, and triumphs,but some times in a blended family that is all you can hope for.

Not that I recommend hosting all the holidays like I blindly decided was a good idea NO! DON”T! TRUST ME!  But I have to say I get it!I understand, I sympathize with the millions of you that will be thankful until you puke this year.

I wanted to write a warm and fuzzy “what am I thankful for this year” post this week, but I just had to fallow my heart on this. So as you try to fit everyone in, make an appearance to keep his mom, your step mom, his dads girlfriend’s mom, and everyone else happy this year remember this…..

Be thankful & take small bites it will all be over soon! Then you can enjoy the leftovers with coffee as fuel for your annual blow up the credit card balance day with a million other moms after the same toy at 4am! Ahh Gotta love the Holidays!

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