What 45 Looks Like

I was on a weekend getaway with my family recently in New Hampshire, when I bumped into an acquaintance who lives in the town next to mine. We knew each other well enough to say hello and chat a bit. We talked about skiing and North Conway and how great it is.

She asked me if I skied and I told her I hadn’t put them on since before children. Since my oldest is 14, that makes it about 15 years since the last time I had skied. I was bursting with pride because I didn’t fall down once!!

I told her how excited I was that this 45 year old body could still behave like a 20 something’s. She looked at me like she was a bit confused. She then said, “Wow! You do NOT look 45.”

I didn’t know what to say.

Is this a compliment?

What does 45 look like?

Do I look older or younger?

Then I went back to, what does 45 look like?

I thought about it for a few days and this is what I have come up with.

1. 45 looks tired. I can’t remember the last time I slept in my own bed without a kid waking up in the middle of the night needing a hug for a bad dream or an arm or leg in my face.  I have 4 kids who are active and require me to drive a lot, cook, do laundry and a lot of cleaning. We also do lots of homework, lots of arguing and an awful lot of laughing.

Kids sleeping in my spot on the bed :-(

Kids sleeping in my spot on the bed 🙁

2. 45 looks bigger. For me, anyway. I have been fighting weight gain since the sperm hit the egg 15 years ago and the numbers keep going up, unfortunately.  I am having fun working out, trying to get the numbers back down, though.

I love my taekwondo!

I love my taekwondo!

3. 45 looks lighter. I no longer care so much about what others think. Obviously, there are a select few people in my life that I truly love and respect and I care what they think but, overall, people can and do talk crap about me and I simply don’t care. As women, we spend so much time worrying about what others think and say about us when it really only matters what we think of ourselves. I don’t think I understood that truly until I hit my 40’s.

Kids making me "pretty".  They wrote "mom" on my face :-)

Kids making me “pretty”. They wrote “mom” on my face 🙂

4. 45 looks ballsy. Yep, ballsy! I do things now that I never would have done in my 20’s. I speak publicly about being a business owner and try to help as many people as possible. I get up in front of strangers and judges and do taekwondo at tournaments. I recently got on skis for the first time in 15 years (I was terrified). I am on the radio. I write. I put myself out there and allow myself to be vulnerable.

That is me, filled with anxiety about to go down the mountain.  Well, okay it was the bunny hill but that counts!  :-)

That is me, filled with anxiety about to go down the mountain. Well, okay it was the bunny hill but that counts! 🙂

5. 45 looks (or feels) like a kid who is still learning how to be an adult. I hugged my oldest the other night, he was upset. I caught our reflection in the mirror while hugging and thought to myself, how on earth did I get the honor and privilege of parenting this kid? I am still a kid myself trying to find my way through this life, and here I am making the rules.

6.  45 looks grateful.  I am grateful to have a husband who loves me and four children who teach me why I was put here on this earth.  I am grateful for a roof over my head and food in my belly. I am grateful that my parents had me young and I have them both in my life still.  I am grateful for REALLY good friends and I am super grateful for such a tight knit extended family.

7. 45 looks happy. I am happy.  I truly appreciate what I have. I love my husband, my children and my businesses. I understand now, more than ever, that money really can’t buy happiness.

Me and my love out having fun :-)

Me and my love out having fun 🙂

 

I am grateful that this woman made me really think long and hard about what 45 looks like.  I don’t know if I look my age.  Hopefully, when people look at me, they see a mom, wife, friend who tries to be a good person, because every day I try to be a little bit better than I was yesterday.

 


Jenns Bio Pic 2Jennifer Ormond is a Boston-based entrepreneur, author, radio personality, blogger, mom to 4 amazing kids, and wife.  Lover of business, coffee, writing, children and parenting.  Queen of sarcasm and eternal optimist! 

Connect with Jenn at mommybusiness.net, coffeebreakcafe.net, or jenniferormond.com. On Twitter- @jennormond & @mommybiz7

 

 

Getting Creative With Sun Butter!

As a mom to four children with many activities and food allergies, I have to be creative with meals since most of them are eaten on the go.  Sandwiches seem to be the go-to option in our house.

With the new year right around the corner, I am trying to come up with some new sandwich recipes to spice things up a bit.  We have been in a super boring food slump.

We have peanut and tree nut allergies in our family so nuts of any kind are not allowed.  (Except for the nut writing this 🙂 )  Sun butter is a staple in our home.

Last night, I decided to try and be creative with sun butter sandwich recipes. It is safe for my kids, they like it, and it is high in protein. I dug out an old peanut butter recipe book I have had for years.  I substituted sun butter for peanut butter and  had a “tasting party” and got valuable feedback from the kids.

First we tried “The Elvis” sandwich. This was Elvis Presley’s favorite sandwich, the book said. My version was sun butter spread on both sides of the bread, bacon, thinly sliced bananas and honey, on toasted bread. Sounds strange but was SO GOOD! This sandwich got the highest ratings from the “tasters”.

The "Elvis" sandwich :-)

The “Elvis” sandwich 🙂

Next up on the strange sandwich list was a grilled cheese with sun butter! Yes, it sounds nasty but honestly it was really good! It was a little sweet and salty. You know those little orange cheese crackers with peanut butter in the center? Kind of like that but much better, because I added butter and toasted the bread. The “tasters” liked the sandwich but couldn’t commit to actually eating it on a regular basis.

Grilled cheese with sun butter!

Grilled cheese with sun butter!

Last, but not least, for our sandwich tasting party was a BLT with sun butter.  That too, was strange and delicious at the same time. Unfortunately my tasters were not on board. 😞

BLT with sun butter

BLT with sun butter

 

Only one of these sandwiches made the cut, but at least we came up with something a little bit different.

 

We also like to dip just about anything in sun butter, veggies, cookies, crackers or just eating it plain.  My current fav is the traditional ants on a log, a little sun butter smeared in celery topped with raisins. 🙂

YUM!

YUM!

There are so many things we can do with sun butter.  I am just grateful that within my house full of food allergy kids, they actually enjoy the taste.

It is one of my secret pleasures as well.

Feel free to send me some of your favorite sun butter recipes (or post on fb of course)!  We would love some suggestions :-).

Jenn@mommybusiness.net

Happy New year!

-J

 

 

 

 

Photo credit Shutterstock.com for ants on a log

Review & Give Away!! Connects by Fathom Company

I am not an obsessive shopper, by any means, but I loooove finding great new toys for Little A and her friends. I was thrilled to receive a collection of Connects, by Fathom-Toys, to review.

Connects are little, colorful, plastic, chain-link pieces that come in sturdy clear containers to keep them corralled. Of course I asked- the plastic is free of BPA, phthalates and lead and is compliant with ASTM F963 and EN71.

I could hardly wait to open the containers. 6 1/2 year-old Little A and her 7 year-old cousin wasted no time getting started. I had a strong feeling that my daughter would love them, but I was surprised to see my very energetic, talkative, very busy nephew sit for 45 minutes working on a beautiful, intricate necklace for his mom- AND THEN HE CAME BACK FOR MORE! It was awesome to see these two little ones, who are usually running around, maybe secretly competing for loudest child in the family, sit together, quietly focused and creating little pieces of wearable art.

Connects: bright, colorful little links

Connects: bright, colorful little links

We’ve had our Connects for about a month now, and they have quickly become one of Little A’s go-to sources of fun and entertainment and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. She loves to sort and count them, make long strands, design and create necklaces, bracelets, spy-belts to hold her clip on spy gear, leashes for her stuffed animals, and more. I like that they are portable- they don’t weigh much and are fun to bring just about anywhere.

I love that Fathom-Company is a mom-owned business. Marcela is a sweet, determined, hard-working mom who started her company with the goal of creating a multi-use toy to engage her daughters- and she did!

“I’ll still use these when I’m a grown-up!”- exclaimed by Little A as she listed all of the things she plans to do with Connects!

Other cool ideas included in her rant:

    • Make a dress
    • Cover my whole body in them
    • Make anklets and knee braces. (??)
    • OMG- I can make ornaments!
    • Make bags
    • Make banners & decorations

She did have one suggestion for improvement as she was cleaning up a big pile of Connects: “I wish that they were magnetic, so I could just use a big magnet to clean them up!” While I think that’s smart thinking, I’m going to disagree with her suggestion. I would be too nervous to have so many tiny magnets in the house with little kids and animals! Sorry kid- you can pick them up the old fashioned way. 😉

If you’d like to try Connects, you can enter to win a Tall Pail- 950 pieces!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’re already itching to start your own collection, you can order online and save 15% with Mommy Business promo code MB2015!

While Fathom-Company did give us a collection of Connects to review, all reviews are always our honest opinions. Plus, I love them so much I’ve already purchased more to give as gifts!

Follow Connects on Instagram for some great ideas for fun projects!

Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter app and notified by October 10 at midnight eastern time. Prize will be shipped directly from Fathom Company.


MSTK bio picMelissa Kaye is a Boston-based green living expert, writer, radio personality, food safety advocate, mom, and wife. She is currently working her way through grief and learning how to live without her would-be 10 year old son, Joshua, who died July 7, 2014 of E. Coli. With her husband and two daughters, she has founded Joshua Kaye Foundation, which will honor what was important to Josh- community, fairness and animal welfare. 

Connect with Melissa at mommybusiness.net or on Twitter @mstkaye and @mommybiz7. 

I Will Keep My “Fake” Facebook Life, Thank You Very Much!

I am SO tired of reading the posts and cute little FB memes about everybody’s fake happy life on Facebook and how it’s all a bunch of bullshit.

face book pic screenshot

I will take that happy bullshit any day over the dark, depressing crap that is on the TV news.

Turn on the news and before you know it, 6 minutes have past and you’ve heard about 12 people murdered, 2 six-alarm fires, and 5 more foods you should never eat.

Newspapers are the same.  We are conditioned to believe that bad news is the only news worth delivering. Quite frankly, I am tired of listening to only the bad stuff.  I don’t want to hear only about how awful this world is because I have come to see that there are WAY more beautiful things happening than bad.

Based on people’s FB’s pics and posts, I would say that most people agree with me.

I wouldn’t say that everyone is faking their lives on social media, they are simply expressing the beauty captured in their lives.

I read a hilarious and totally relatable post on this topic the other day.  This mom’s point of view was that life is messy and ugly and everyone should stop posting pictures of calm serenity when it is really chaotic.  While I agree on one hand-  being a mom is busy and life is messy, for sure, I feel that if we can find a few moments of beauty, why not share?  It doesn’t make you a liar or a fake, it makes you an optimist or a person who can see beauty the through the crap.

facebook screenshot

I consider myself a person to be one of those people who sees beauty through the crap.  I have removed the people in my life who only see the bad.  I barely watch the news or read the paper (I do pay attention to the bigger picture things that affect my life directly) but over all, I am pretty happy and positive. Knowing about the six-alarm fire 7 towns over does not help me or my stress level.  This is tragic and real and people are hurt- I get this, but having devastating news shoved down my throat hourly doesn’t help anything. In fact, studies show that exposure to negative news can cause major stress issues, even mimicking PTSD.

Seeing smiling faces and happy memories on social media does bring me happiness.  I love seeing pictures of my high school friends and their families. I love seeing (and getting to know) people that I probably wouldn’t lay eyes on in real life. I love learning about new places and recipes. I also love hearing opinions from people that I know and respect.

So this girl, is going to keep her “fake” Facebook life and love every minute of it.

Please, everyone, keep sharing happy posts and pictures.  I, for one, truly appreciate it. 😊


Jenns Bio Pic 2Jennifer Ormond is a Boston-based entrepreneur, author, radio personality, blogger, mom to 4 amazing kids, and wife.  Lover of business, coffee, writing, children and parenting.  Queen of sarcasm and eternal optimist! 

Connect with Jenn at mommybusiness.net, coffeebreakcafe.net, or jenniferormond.com. On Twitter- @jennormond & @mommybiz7

This Recipe Is SO Good, I Had To Share!

While scrolling through Facebook the other night, I stumbled upon a healthy recipes website that I really liked, so I took screenshots of the recipes I wanted to mess around with, got inspired and tried a bunch of new things.

This recipe really caught my attention because it was a homemade Nutrigrain bar.  My kids LOVE real Nutrigrain bars, but I don’t buy them because they have GMOs and we avoid GMOs as much as possible.

We have allergies to peanuts, tree-nuts and gluten, so I modified the recipe to work for my family.

OMG- it is so good.  We are all loving it.  Had to share.

 

Not pretty or perfect but delicious and relatively healthy!

Not pretty or perfect but delicious and relatively healthy!

Dough:

2 cups of Gluten Free King Arthur flour

1 cup of coconut oil

1/2 cup of agave

1 egg

1 cup of gluten free oats

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 teaspoon of salt (you can do a half if you like)

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of cinnamon (or to taste, I did a bit more)

 

Strawberry Purée:

Quart of strawberries (1 of the dirty dozen, so I chose organic)

Sugar to taste.  I used a tablespoon

Little bit of (non-GMO) corn starch to thicken it up

Thickened strawberry puree

Thickened strawberry puree

Put the liquid dough ingredients together and mix with an electric mixer until it looks like it is almost creamed.  Slowly add in dry ingredients, continue to mix.  When all ingredients are mixed well, move to the fridge to chill.

Agave, vanilla, coconut oil and one egg.

Agave, vanilla, coconut oil and one egg.

While the dough is chilling, put the strawberries in a pot with a little bit of water. Heat it up and stir. Let it cool and put it in a blender or food processor and blend until puréed. Put it back in the pot and add the sugar, heat up and stir. Add cornstarch, the hotter it gets the more the cornstarch will work, so only add small amounts until reaching the desired thickness. Allow to cool before adding to dough.

Clean organic strawberries!

Clean organic strawberries!

When the dough has a nice chill, roll it out.  This is where somebody who has some baking talent can make these bars look pretty-unlike mine 😀

This dough could use some help but it sure tastes yummy!

This dough could use some help, but it sure tastes yummy!

Roll the dough flat. Then, using a pizza cutter cut out rectangles.   Scoop out purée onto one side of the rectangle.  Fold the dough to cover the purée and pinch the edges of the dough together to keep the purée enclosed.

Strawberry puree on the dough before folding

Strawberry puree on the dough before folding

Bake at 350 for approximately 8-12 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before eating.

Icing could be added to the top to make it look and taste more like a pop tart too!  Each one of my kids mentioned that would be cool to do.

Home made gluten free, nut allergy safe nutrigrain bars!

Homemade gluten free, nut allergy safe nutrigrain bars!

Enjoy!

image

 

 


Jenns Bio Pic 2Jennifer Ormond is a Boston-based entrepreneur, author, radio personality,    blogger, mom to 4 amazing kids, and wife. Lover of business, coffee, writing, children and parenting. Queen of sarcasm and eternal optimist!

Connect with Jenn at mommybusiness.net, coffeebreakcafe.net, or jenniferormond.com. On Twitter- @jennormond & @mommybiz7

 

I’m Gonna Miss This

I will never forget the night my mom called to let me know that my nana was not going to make it through the night.

I was home folding laundry watching the season finale of The Apprentice. My kids were sleeping.  My husband was working.  I had paused The Apprentice while on the phone. When I hung up I un-paused the show and Trace Adkins had just taken the stage.  He began to sing and I was mesmerized. He sang a song about how life can be so crazy but “you’re gonna miss this” -the chorus and the name of the song. Like country music does, it tells little stories of life. I heard my life in it.

It hit me so hard at that exact moment; Trace was right. I already missed my nana and she was still here. She was in a coma-like sleep and had been for a few days, so technically the nana I knew and loved had already left us.

I cried. Then I cried some more.

The next morning my nana was still hanging in there. Not conscious, but still breathing.

I went out and bought Trace’s album and listened to that song over and over. Later that day when she passed away I cried even more.

IMG_5076

I never said a word to my kids about that song but each one of them told me months later how much they loved that song and how it reminded them of Nana Alice.

That was in March of 2008.

I am thinking about that tonight as my children have a group of friends over and they are swimming, music is blaring and they are laughing, shouting and singing. They are LOUD. They are fun, happy and loving life.

I sit back on the deck and watch them swim, not able to hear myself think because it is so loud, but

I wouldn’t change a thing. I am soaking up every sound, every laugh and every smile.

fun summer nights!

These days, these years, they are the best ones of my life.

I know I’m gonna miss this. ❤️

 

Because I Just Can’t Get Enough of This Video!

I keep finding myself watching this video every time I check a text or get a call. And my friends and family are telling me the same. So, with Little A’s permission, I am sharing it with you. I hope it makes you smile!

 

PS- I regret that I was holding my phone the wrong way… I was operating in stealth mode so I wouldn’t interrupt her groove.

 

True business perseverance…. Small business spotlight!

In New England we have gotten a LOT of snow.  They say this was worse than the blizzard of 78.  I heard one news reporter say Boston got over 100 inches since January 28th.

giant snowman

To say that it has been difficult to run a business is a complete understatement!  Between closing full days mid-storm, closing early, opening late,it has been a nightmare for my business and all of my small business friends.  Then when it finally stops snowing, there is the cleanup.  After the 70 inch mark, there was just no place to put the snow anymore.  The snow mounds are so high, you can barely see out of most windows.  Then there are problems that come with so much snow that you just don’t even think of, leaks that never existed suddenly appear.  Heavy snow on weak roofs have caused some roofs to cave in and collapse.  My husband had to get on our roof twice and shovel.

My deck, you can see the umbrella attached to the picnic table

My deck, you can see the umbrella attached to the picnic table

A local business in my neighborhood has had to close their business for the four weeks.  It is a dance studio called In Sync Center of the Arts.  They are one of the most well run and talented dance studios in my area.  What drew me in to this dance studio 5 years ago was how many classes they offered- not just for dance, but taekwondo, lego club, music lessons, and drama. I have four kids and I loved that all of them could take a class at once and I would get a whole hour all to myself :-). In the lobby, they have big screen tv’s that show all of the classes so you can see everyone at once.  LOVE IT!

The week before February vacation,  Insync’s next-door neighbor’s roof collapsed.  Thankfully it was empty and nobody was hurt physically.  Financially, it is devastating.  There are 5 business all in this little strip mall and they are all closed.  If I had to guess how many people were employed between the five businesses I would say hundreds.  Hundreds of people out of work because of something out of their control!  It’s heartbreaking!

The UPS store is the roof that collapsed, to the left of Insync.

The UPS store is the roof that collapsed, to the left of Insync.

Teri, the owner of Isync, was trying to unplug and relax for a few days during Feb vacation with her husband and kids.  She actually left her phone in her hotel room while out for dinner, only to return to hear about the nightmare she has now been living for weeks.  She had to cut her vacation short and rush home to make sense out of her new situation.  She was not allowed on the property. The electricity and gas is shut off and everything is roped off until it is deemed safe.

Most people would curl up into a ball and feel sorry for themselves, but not Teri.  She had her team up and running the next day seeking out temporary space for her business.  They brought their phones and laptops to a fabulous little coffee shop (mine 🙂 ) and worked as a team and didn’t stop until they found space that would work.

She ended up with two spaces, one by day and a high school for the night classes.  The high school is perfect because there are so many class rooms that it allows many dance classes to go on at the same time.

Amazing strength, creativity, and the drive to go on.  All admirable qualities that I believe most entrepreneurs have.  Teri has a crazy awesome team loaded with talent and is clearly flexible.

Awesome, talented staff!

Awesome, talented staff!

I am honored to be a customer of theirs and I love how they are handling this situation.

There is so much negativity and tragedy shown on the news and social media, I just had to share how a real life woman turned some serious sour lemons into delicious lemonade 🙂

insynlogo

Yummy oooey gooey black bean brownie recipe!

I am on a mission to get more protein in my children’s (especially my daughter’s) diet.  They won’t eat very many green things and are super picky.  I think most kids with food allergies tend to be picky, and mine are no different.

I have been trying to master this black bean brownie recipe for weeks but up until today they tasted like….  well… beans!!

I adjusted a few things this morning and it was a hit!!  They are SO GOOD!!!

 

black bean brownie 3

 

Here is my super easy recipe!!

 

Ingredients:

1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
3 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  ( I use Vermont Nut Free cocoa powder)
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I also broke up a nut free chocolate bar for the topping and added nut free butterscotch chips)

Throw all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender to puree, except the toppings.  I added a touch of water to the blender to help it along.

Black bean brownie

Grease a pan (I used a glass pie plate) and pour in.  Place your toppings on top.   Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  Let cool.

Dig in and enjoy!!!

-J

black bean brownie 2

A little love reminder…

Do you ever catch yourself looking at somebody you see every day, a little differently? Tonight, my husband said something that was kind of funny in a dry, sarcastic manner. I looked at him without thinking and for whatever reason I found myself gazing at him finding him extremely attractive.

I think he is attractive in general but I feel like most of the time I don’t actually see him.

I go through the motions of life, busy with four kids, a business, a dog, a few gerbils, a guinea pig, writing children books, a blog/radio show, family and friends. Most days I am blinded by getting to the next activity or “to do” thing on my list.

Then there are times like last tonight where a small glance turns into a full on, full of love moment.

 

image from Shutterstock

image from Shutterstock

We got a lot of snow these past few weeks (life in New England). My husband has been out snow blowing and shoveling our businesses most of the time (small business owners). The kids and I have barely seen him. He came home last night and taught my oldest son how to play a Beatles song on the guitar.  My heart melts when I get to enjoy moments like that.

I love that my kids love the same qualities about my husband that made me fall head over heels in love with him so long ago.

He still gives me butterflies when I see him.

It was such an unexpected treat to really see the guy I fell in love with 25 years ago.

Happy Valentines Day!