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Work at home mom solutions

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - December 2, 2011

Lately I have found myself feeling like I live at my office…ok I do live at my office! I mean, I feel like my work is always there, I get no break. Working from home can be a big challenge, particularly with a family. When you are the one taking care of the house, the kids, the bills, the dog, and running a business all out of your house. It can feel like you live in an office with no break room.

Here are some tricks of the trade that I have learned along the way to help keep up, and separate work from play when they share the same address.

Make a work space

Your business needs its one square footage to grow. A place with a door that separates it from the rest of the house is best, but any barrier such as a screen will do. This will ensure you are focused when you work, and create a space that allows you to be at work when you are working, and leave it behind during family time. Not to mention keeping the kids out of that big presentation never hurt anyone. If you are short on space try a cool blind, revamp the garage, or even just a corner away from the rest of the family may work.

Plan out your day

Write it down & stick to it. Make sure you are not scheduling in too much, and only allow yourself to concentrate on the job at hand during any given time period. This practice will create peace and a sense of accomplishment when you have completed your tasks. Careful though, be realistic, and don’t freak out if things come up, and you can’t get it all done. Someone once told me, if you don’t get all the things on your list done, then your list was too long to begin with!

Get organized

This is the single most important thing to the success of a work at home mom, or any professional for that matter. Would you go to the office, and have your coffee pot next to your files, or your laundry on top of your desk? I don’t think so. Keeping things neat and tidy will help you stay on top of things, and create efficiency. You are busy enough why add that extra ten minutes of searching for an invoice, or project info to your load. To help me achieve this I use bins with labels to separate clients, and to prioritize. When it’s out in front of me I have to think less, I just grab the appropriate file and get to work.

Remember cluttered desk, cluttered mind:)

Take a time out

Remember keep your family life, and work life as separate as you can. We work at home moms walk a thin line, and wear a ton of hats. This can take a tole on us, and we can get burnt out really quickly. It is vital to our business, and family that we take care in not overworking just because the office is down the hall. Unlike other work situations our work is never done. There are no coffee breaks, or lunch hours. Our days are full of forgetting to eat, and cramming in as much work as we can before preschool release time, and while the baby naps. Try penciling in a coffee break in your daily to do list, any enjoy it! This five minutes may be the little sanity break you need to keep going. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help. If it gets to be too much call in reinforcements! Try hiring a teen to come play with the kids while you work in the next room, or do the house work! Trust me a burnt out, over stressed mom is no good to anyone so don’t go there.

Hope these tips helped. If you have any ways you stay in the at home game, with out losing your mind let me know, I would love to hear some.

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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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The Business Moms New Five Minute Life Saver

I am always busy. A quick snack for my crew has been microwave pop corn. I have had a box on hand for years but after our family decided to toss all things trans fat and partially hydrogenated. I was at a loss as to what to use as my go to snack. I found this great idea on line the other day and loved it. I posted it on my face book page and it went viral. I had friends and family calling me to say how great an idea it was. It was not my idea and I don’t claim to take credit for it but I had to share it with my fellow moms.

It is such a great idea and healthy to boot! Heres where I got this great idea!

Popcorn was my dietary staple for much of college.  If only I’d known this little trick:  Do-it-yourself microwave popcorn.   The DIY version has none of the artificial flavors, colors or chemicals present in store-bought varieties.  It’s also cheaper and produces less environmental waste. 


Here’s how it works:  Into a standard brown paper lunch bag put ¼ cup popcorn kernels.  Add 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and a big pinch of salt.  Fold the top of the bag over twice and fasten with two staples (no, it won’t spark in the microwave, I promise).  Lay the bag on its “back” in the microwave and run it for about two and a half minutes until the popping of the kernals slows to just every few seconds.  Dump into a bowl and eat as is, or fancy it up with melted butter, salt and other seasonings.  

Your kids will think you’re a genius.  


For more tips, recipes and ideas for healthy family cooking, go to www.momskitchenhandbook.com

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working mothers making kids fat????

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - March 3, 2011





A recent study published in the journal Child Development concluded that the length of time a mother was employed outside of the home increased the chances that her children would be overweight. I found this take on the recently publicshed article at www.emaxhealth.com personaly I think any mother that is not paying close attention to her childs nutrition and activity can be to blame for an overwheight child. As a working mother of two kids that eat very well and are very active. I can tell you it takes extra planing and is not the easiest to accomplish on some days. However they are your babies and they are worth it. Also if I can do it I am sure you can too.

There are  a wealth of programs, recources, and information to support any mom, working or not to make the best choices for her family.

What do you think?

The fallowing article is not my own but is a copy of an article I found at the link below.


The study authors were careful to say, about their conclusions, that a mother’s working is not the cause of obesity, but rather an association.

The researchers from American University, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago, chose a sampling of 900 children in grades 3, 5, and 6 in 10 different cities across the nation. The findings showed that the longer the mother was employed, the higher the child’s body mass index measured. The 5th and 6th graders showed the highest increase.

BMI lead to child obesity link finding

The researchers looked at the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the children and found that a there was approximately a 1-pound weight gain for every six months that the child’s mother worked.

The study authors said they did not directly know why the weight increased. They did, however, have some theories regarding the time that families had to eat together, the time they had to make healthy food choices, and the time they had to prepare healthy food in the home as all being possible factors for weight increase.

The study surprisingly found no link between the amount of physical activity, the time spent unsupervised, and the time spent watching television with the increased BMI for the children of working mothers.

Childhood Obesity on the Rise

The incidence of childhood obesity is now 17 percent and has tripled over the past 30 years.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), obese children are at higher risk for immediate and long-term health problems. Their website states that obese children have higher risks of cardiovascular related diseases, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems. They are also at risk for being overweight as adults which brings their risk factor higher for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

It is important as a nation to bring awareness to this growing epidemic and to provide some real and workable solutions. Although there are already programs in place, more needs to be done as the numbers are on the rise. Food industries also need to be involved by taking a look at their products’ ingredients and the way that they market themselves to children.

Some solutions for combating obesity are physical activity, healthy nutrition choices, and healthy lifestyle habits.

Medline Plus’ website encourages families to:

“If a weight loss program is necessary, involve the whole family in healthy habits so your child doesn’t feel singled out. You can encourage healthy eating by serving more fruits and vegetables and buying fewer sodas and high-calorie, high-fat snack foods. Physical activity can also help your child overcome obesity or being overweight. Kids need about 60 minutes each day.”

Also read: Change Diet Before Pregnancy for Healthier Kids

Previous Studies

Other studies in the past have also found this link between working mothers and obese children. One study conducted in 2003 found that for every 10 hours a mother worked each week, the obesity chances increased by 1 to 1.5 percentage points. Another study ion Japanese schoolchildren in 2007 found that the BMIs were higher in those children who had full-time working mothers and were more likely to be overweight.
A Mother’s Choice or Necessity

Never before in history have women had so many choices. One of these choices is whether to stay home with their children, or to work outside of the home. Although some mothers feel a necessity to work; others make the choice to gain employment.

This is a highly debated topic with strong opinions and emotions on both sides of the coin. To have the mother work or not work is really a personal choice that should be made by the individual family according to their own unique situations and needs.

Possible Solutions and Resources

Lead author Taryn Morrissey, an assistant professor in public administration from American University points out, “The implication is not that moms leave the workforce. If that were to happen, childhood obesity would not go away at all.”

Morrissey also says that there are steps working parents can take to ensure their children eat properly, such as ensuring that there are always regular meal times and skipping the fast food when they can.

“I know that families are really time crunched so that is often hard but doing as much as you can could be one way to try to prevent this,” she said.

This study suggests that it was not conducted to create more of the “guilt factor” for working mothers, but rather to bring awareness to balancing home and work for healthier families. Families already face so many difficult choices in their lives. More flexible working hours for mothers, increased telecommuting options, better child care options, and healthy nutritional programs to implement at school and in the home may be some solutions to creating a healthier home and work balance.

There are various online communities and resources available for mothers to share their challenges and struggles with working outside of the home and wanting what is best for their children. It is important for mothers, working, or non-working, to also take some time for themselves, away from work and family, to recharge; even if for just a brief time each day.

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Hope for the juggling mama with a good personality

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

The other day as I was screaming through the grocery store after being with clients all day, but before picking up kids & heading off to sports, activities, working from home ect. I had just minutes to spare when I turned a corner a little hot & crashed into another woman.  Trying to be polite I  lifted my gaze and only to find one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen in the chip isle. Just as I was offering up my apologies I was handed a stern look, and a tongue lashing from the this beautiful lady, & lets just say her language was not so beautiful.

This mid isle collision got me thinking about the meaning of beauty. At first glance this woman was stunning but the words from her mouth and demeanor instantly made her just as about as appealing as a toad in heals.

I don’t know about you but beauty isn’t exactly on the top of my list as a busy working mom. I am not saying I sport sweats and messy hair all the time, but I have made it to a client meeting with chipped nail polish and a run in my hose. I use to feel bad about this until I realized I am only human, and I can only do what I have time in the day for. I am forced to rely on my personality and kind nature to get my compliments.  The thing is that apparently that shining personality (which is all I have)  is more important when defining beauty than you might think.

According to most men they are more likely to marry and hire  a srtong confident woman who is also kind and nurturing than a physically beautiful one.  For those of us that have had three kids, run a business, and have zero time for themselves there is hope!

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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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What’s For Dinner

We have all been there, you get in after a long day at the office, running around, picking up kids, you still have several hours to put in at home later on, and you have your brood to feed. Someone pops the question “hey, what’s for dinner?” You freeze in a state of panic as you have no idea what so ever is for dinner, nor how you are gonna pull something together with the little energy you have left.

 As juggling mama’s we have a ton on our plate, all the time. So it comes as no surprise that we all falter in a few areas. The more moms I talk to that live the life of super mom, wife, career woman,and super star confess that meal planning and cooking are their achilles heal. I too have suffered this plight, but am happy to say that I found a way to beat the 5 O’clock witching hour with out pumping my family full of take out and microwave fair.

Here are my best tips just for my fellow juggling mama’s:

Think Ahead

Every Sunday I brew a good cup of jo get a comfy blanket, the paper, my favorite cook books, a note book, and some chocolate (that one’s just for me :)

With my supplies in hand I whip out the adds and see whats on sale, and match it to my coupon’s. From this I go to my cook books and start looking for recipes that will include whats on sale. I plan out six meals usually. I base them on what’s on sale and what I have in the freezer, but you could just go straight to what looks good to you if you are not a coupon fan like me.

As I make my list I write my meals in the upper right hand corner so I remember what I planned while I am shopping. This has come in handy several times when determining what I forgot or what sides to change up if I find something that looks good at the store.

The little details that save my bacon

In addition to adding my meals to my list I add them, and a few other things clues to some key places to help me along post shopping day.

  • I post my meal plan to the family calendar so I know what we are having. This also comes in handy when hubby comes home early and wants to start dinner. He can go right to the calendar and know what we have and what to use. I also put the source of my recipe next to the menu plan so he or I can find it easily. I get very inspired from magazines and books so I could have four new recipes from three different places on any given weekly plan. This really helps.
  • Another great tip that I couldn’t live with out is putting what to take out in the way of frozen foods for the next day into my calendar or day planner. I get a cue to take out hamburger for chili the night before so I am never adding time to my meal prep for defrost.
  • Plan accordingly, there are nights for us that we have church functions, sports, ect and I know that they are just crazy, so I save crock pot meals or easy stuff for those nights.
  • Be flexible if it doesn’t work out just pump a meal then you have one less to add to your list next week.

Don’t go it alone

There are a ton of sights, and books, ect. to help you out. Just google meal plan help and there is something for every one. I also am a magazine junky, I subscribe to several food and cooking magazines. Pretty much all of them have weekly meal plan sections, fast meals,and sectioned recipes to choose from. This also ensures no more repeats, or boring dinners.

Another Idea some of the moms I know do is a meal plan exchange. You all operate on the same system planning one week then pass the list.  You get a month’s worth of meals with only four friends. You also get lots of variety and new recipes to boot with out the magazine or web site subscriptions.

This is the best way to be as organized in the kitchen as you are in the office. Another benefit is you will save a ton each month that you don’t just dial for pizza, or walk aimlessly through the store without a plan. Try it this week and let me know what you think!

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Help my patients are spent before the coffee is done

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

Your alarm goes off but your already awake because your kids have been in bed with you for an hour and there is no room for you anyway. You try to move your sleeping arm from the tangled mess of limbs and solid bodies. You are unsuccessful and the bambinos are awake.

Instantly  like little puppies with closed eyes and open mouths. they begin to bark needs. A drink, a show, I need my blankey, Mommmmmy hold me, No hold me ,Owwweeee he hit me, nuh uh, Snuggle me peese, ou oh I Peed.

You want to tend to their every need however you have not even visited the potty yourself,and your husband is leaving in five minutes and the bread for his lunch is still in the freezer. A fleeting thought that you could put the loaf in the dryer with a single pair of his pants that will need to be thrown in the dryer in the next 5 minutes passes across your mind but you realize that you should just microwave them both.

Un thawing the bread, heating up the pants, creating a well balanced heart healthy lunch out of only a can of fruit, and half a piece of lunch meat will be no small feet but it must be done. Mean time the welping from the room gets louder and you think you heard a soggy diaper hit the floor. (great!)

You manage to pull together the lunch, the pants are mostly dry, and you kiss your husband good by as you stumble back to the coffee pot for yourself and remember you have to pee still!

While visiting the little girls room I am reminded that I was going to get up well before my family because it is Monday and I was suppose to have a conference call at 7am, It is now 6:45! Ugh That impending sense of doom that the rest of the day will be headed in this same direction makes me want to cry.

Many a morning start out in a blurr like this but no matter how hard I try this scene just repeats it’s self ! So here I go another day started out at least a day late and a dollar short.

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Sunday Night is when Monday starts for me how about you?

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - January 10, 2011

I just realized that Mondays actually start on Sunday night after dinner for me! It seems to have been going on for a while. I get all dinner done and start in on cleaning up the kitchen when the wheels start turning. I barely get the kids bathed and in bed before I just have to start writing the list that I have been running in my head all evening down to be analyzed and planned out.

Everything from meals, to work, kids activities, engagements, appointments and everything in between.  Some of it isn’t even taking place until Friday or next weekend but I feel like if I don’t get it in the day planner or on a list it will not get done. Worse if i don’t get it out of my head and on a list than it just rolls around in my head and I cannot sleep.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that my Monday defiantly starts Sunday night. It has been this way all my life so I am not sure I should change it or just go with it and accept it. I do wonder if I am the only one though!

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Early to rise makes a mom healthy weathly & wise

Kids & Family, Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - January 6, 2011

You may not be a morning person but if you are a working mom you no doubt have had to start rising earlier than you want on most days. Some times this is forced and most often we would love to stay in bed just a wee bit longer each morning.

I for one have been staying under cover until I have a hubby tapping my shoulder, a 3 year old at my bed side, a client leaving messages, and the dog wants out. So I fly out of bed feeling rushed and anxious and pulled on in every way. Sure I get the job done but it sets the tone for the rest of the day. From that hour on, it seems no one get the best of me all because I have been on duty since the moment I opened my eyes. Litterly ! So when I read an article that said more women felt better equipped to deal with the day if they were up even 15 minutes before their families. I was well convicted! I use to be that lady but not these days.

I find when I pulled myself out of bed even a half hour before every one else, I am  more ready for life that day! I get a cup of coffee, spend some time with my bible, and organize my work day. I also get to spend a few minutes with my husband so we can go over some shared duties now instead of 5 minute before it happens. Not to mention the professional benefits  of being able to lay out my schedule, and have a clear mind to start work if I have not started already.

Let me tell you the extra 10 minutes is nothing compared to starting your day on the right foot. You have a ton to deal with and your day is gonna fly so make sure this morning there is some time to prep your heart, your mind, and your body for the juggle ahead!

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