Guest Post- A True Story of Surviving Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but really we should be trying to be more aware every day. The statistics are shocking- 1 in 4 women has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime. Please take the time to read and share this post so that together, we can help that number dwindle.

Our very good friend, Emily, is one of the strongest women I know. She handles motherhood so naturally, while holding down a full time job as a women’s health nurse practitioner, where she offers not only her medical expertise, but her unwavering support for her patients and still has love and energy for her family and friends. She is one of the strongest and most loving sources of support in our circle of friends, so I am not surprised that she wants to share her story to help other women.

The two things I remember most about that night were relief, and hearing the neighbors sliding their chain across the latch as I screamed for help. Relief because there was no more denying that this was abuse. The sound of the chain because it was in that moment I realized how alone I really was.

All the rest sort of floats around these two memories. The sound of his key in the lock. His smashing my head against the wall, slapping me across the face, kicking my gut as I gathered his belongings into a garbage bag. The heinous names. His hands around my throat as I punched with all my strength to get him off me, the fingerprint bruises on my neck.

Relief, and the chain. Those are what stand out, the clearest of all the memories.

Of course, it didn’t start with the events of that night. It never does. It started out well, probably even too well. It usually does. When the first insults came, the experience was akin to walking peacefully along a beautiful pedestrian cobblestone street, window shopping, sipping a latte, and then suddenly being struck from behind by a motor vehicle. At first, I had no idea where it came from, what I had done, how I could have foreseen or prevented the crash. Then, little by little, I started to sense that danger was lurking in unpredictable corners. I would still walk the pedestrian street, but now I would look both ways before crossing.

How did this happen? I am a strong, smart, educated woman. He was bright, funny, on track for an impressive career. I have also always been an accommodator, and until the dissolution of that relationship, was often willing to bend my needs somewhat to meet the needs of someone else. In bending those needs within that relationship, my insecurities grew. And I began to believe some of what he said to me: the names he called me, the cutting insults. The rational side of me knew he was being abusive and mean, but the seedling of doubt that lived in my gut let way to full-grown blossoms. When his jealousy and control took over, I let him convince me that it was because of how strongly he felt, how special I was. I made excuses, I made compromises, I bent and swayed until at times I no longer recognized my vital self; I turned from friends and loved ones on his demand, I isolated, I gave in.

It took a time of separation, after he had graduated from college and I stayed on to finish another semester, for me to let real anger set in. My anger, and the hardening which came with it, were what allowed me to extricate little by little. By the time that night came, it was all the push I needed to free up any doubt or hesitation about ending the relationship. There were incidents even during our semester apart, but until the physical violence bubbled up and over, all I had were words and feelings as evidence. I will never again understate the power of emotional and psychological abuse. The physical is painful and glaring, but the other cuts deep into the soul.

When that night finally came, it followed a jealous episode in which he had shown up at the restaurant where I was working. Though the potential for the attack had been there all along, the more he sensed my pulling away, the closer he got to lashing out. He was losing control, and as often happens with abusive people, my growing disillusionment was the tipping point.

When that night finally came, there were no sirens. My neighbors slid their chain locks, no one called the police. Though after it was over, after he had gone the police did come – in response to my father’s desperate call from Vermont. My dad had been on the phone with me when the key slid in the lock and the shouting began. He gave the police all the information they needed to locate me. After taking my statement, they arrested my attacker at dawn, in his family home three miles away.

Around that same time in my life, I met the man I would marry. To say he saved me is inaccurate. To say he loved me completely is true. Loved me, trusted me, and has never needed to know everything about my every move, never needed to control me. Still, my husband did not save me. Nor did my father, or the police.

I saved myself when I wrote out my victim’s statement, and when I refused to recant my story a few months later. When I stood up in court during sentencing and requested my attacker be required to complete the Emerge Program for Abusive Men as part of his probation so that, hopefully, any future partners might be spared. I saved myself when I refused to go back to the relationship despite his begging. When I became a nurse practitioner: working with women, advocating for them, connecting them to services, empathizing with them in a deeper way than they will ever understand. When I gave birth to four boys I am parenting as positively as I can so they may grow up to be respectful, kind, non-abusive men and partners.

In those early days following the attack and subsequent separation, I would have flashbacks at any given moment, almost as a dream flies through your mind while in deep sleep. It was as though bits of myself, my childhood, my essential being, were crashing back into my mind, heart and soul as I began to realize I was safe again. Safe to cross the pedestrian street without looking both ways.

This is my story, but it is not rare or unique. I share this 12 years later because I simply could not have shared it sooner.   Right after the attack, several people close to me knew what had happened. However, as I have moved on, have grown a new circle of friends, gotten married, had my children, I don’t tend to bring this up in casual conversation. I share it today because it is important that those who see me and know me now – a competent, confident, professional mother of boys, a musician, politically vocal woman, and friend – will know I was once stuck in an abusive relationship.

Every one of us knows someone or has been a victim of partner abuse. The statistics are daunting, and the only way we will overcome these numbers is by teaching our children how to not be abusers, themselves, and how to stand up to abuse when they recognize it. We need to help them understand that they cannot control or demean others; to teach them what it is to hit below the belt, and to help them understand why it is important never to go there. We need to teach them not to bully or make fun of others, even behind their backs; teach them that name calling is unacceptable, and that they are never to perpetrate violence, especially against someone physically weaker than they are.

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If you know of someone in an abusive situation, or are concerned about a loved one, know that they need you even when they push you away. They are either being forced to isolate by their abuser, or they are not ready to leave and are afraid you will judge them. Be their friend, their family, even if you can’t understand what keeps them stuck. You are not there to push them out of their corner; only they can do that. Give them the Lundy Bancroft book, Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry Men, so they can read it and know they are not crazy, they are validated. And, no matter what their partner says, there is no justification for abusive behavior. At the end of the day, never be the neighbor who slides the chain across the lock when someone screams or whispers for help. In dangerous situations, calling the police, even anonymously, is perfectly acceptable. Otherwise, open the door, be the friend, be the family, don’t back down. Someday, they will likely find their way to the surface and they will need you in their corner as they heal and come back to themselves.

If you need help, please check out these resources:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

In MA:

Safelink Hotline 1-877-785-2020

Emerge Counseling and Education to Stop Domestic Violence

Emily Swisher-Rosa lives south of Boston with her husband and 4 amazing sons. When she’s not seeing patients, she keeps busy taxiing her boys to activities, playing the violin, and singing in her church choir.

Fish Food In The Sock Drawer…. Totally Normal, Right?

I don’t know about you, but laundry hanging out of every drawer and stacked up on top of the bureau makes me NUTS!  Today I couldn’t take it anymore so I stopped what I was doing and started sorting out my oldest son’s drawer.

This is a real bureau in my house right now as you read :-(

My son’s bureau

Not only did I find toddler sized socks (he’s 15 😳) but I also found size 5T jammies.

I also found a bottle of fish food that was dumped on the bottom, who knows when….

Dried up, old fish food!

Dried up, old fish food!

I shook out each pair of underwear and each pair of socks and little dried up pieces of fish food fell out of them.

So this leads me to believe a few things.

First of all, one of the kids spilled fish food into another kid’s underwear drawer and didn’t clean it up.  They also didn’t tell anybody or ask for help cleaning it up.

Fish food WAY too close to the underwear drawer!

Fish food WAY too close to the underwear drawer!

Secondly my two teens (13 and 15) are always arguing over socks so I KNOW they both saw the fish food and decided to just wear the socks with fish food on them and not clean up the mess.

Is wearing fish food socks and underwear itchy?  Smelly?  I’m going to say yes.

Since my 8 year old owns the fish, he is getting the blame for this one.

Clearly the others noticed and ignored it.

Normal, right?

 

EDIT:  The 15 year old son also happens to be a genius when it comes to anything related to reading, writing or language so I asked him to give me a quick edit on this post and he has a problem with me stating that he wore fish food on his socks and underwear.

He wants it to state clearly here that he did NOT see any fish food in his drawer. 😂

 

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

Why This Mom Loves Pokemon Go!

This mom of four (ages 8,10, 13, and 15) loves Pokémon Go!

When my oldest two were younger and really into Pokémon, I was sometimes pregnant, sometimes nursing and ALWAYS tired.

I could hear them talking about Pikachu and Dragonite and it sounded like a totally different language to me. They read the books, collected the cards, and watched the show. While they watched the show, I would wash dishes, or cook a meal, do laundry, or nurse a younger one. It was rare that I sat next to them and watched an episode.

They ALWAYS asked me to play/watch/listen. They always wanted me to play the game or watch the show with them. They wanted to sit next to me to show me the cards and discuss, at length, the names of the characters, their powers, and what they turned into. At the time, I was too tired, distracted, and just plain confused by the whole thing.

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Before I knew it, those cards and books stopped being used. Nobody asked me to sit with them and go over poke cards with them anymore. I was sad. I knew I had missed out on a great bonding time that I could never get back, or so I thought….

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My youngest son, who is now 8, loves Pokémon. He isn’t quite as excited as his older brothers were, but does pull out the old cards and always uses his own money to buy more. This time, I am paying attention- I don’t want to lose out on the opportunity to learn about Pokémon (and bond with my little guy!)

Recently, one of my friends on Facebook told me about Pokémon GO.  I hadn’t heard of it, but with a few quick scrolls, I could clearly see this was HUGE. I went to download it and I could see from the App store that somebody in my family already had- I was PSYCHED!

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Fast forward two weeks and there are three of us playing. (The two little ones play on my phone while I am driving.) Since we are all competitive, we are having a blast seeing who can get to the next level quickest. We are all helping each other too when we see Pokémon that are in the area and as a team we seek out Poke stops.

I am loving every minute of this. The language is familiar this time around and we are all learning together how to play. I am determined not to miss out on the bonding opportunity this time around!


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I feel like this is a chance to take a walk back through the two oldests’ childhoods.

Yes, it can be annoying when I have to sit in a parking lot for an extra 10 minutes at a “gym.”  Yes, it is irritating when we drive a little bit further than the Pokéstop and miss it altogether.  And yes, we had to make an agreement on vacation that we would all put our phones away for a few hours and enjoy real life instead of “Poklife”.

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But overall, I am embracing this little phase. I have two teens who WANT to hang with me. Or maybe they don’t necessarily want to, but I know they don’t hate me, like they could. They are fun to be around and we are having so much fun together with this silly little game!

 

Me and my two oldest :-)

Me and my two oldest 🙂

 

Here’s the scoop in my humble opinion- we have a super popular video game (more popular than many social networks) that all ages are having fun with. Our children are not shooting people, killing anybody or anything, they are not harming prostitutes or police like in other games. They are catching creatures with really creative names, colors and powers.

 

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Yes, the distraction factor is a real problem.

Yes, I have read that the FBI and the CIA are reading my thoughts, emails, pics and DNA through my agreeing to this little games contract, but since my life is pretty boring, who cares?  Listen away. Listen to us having some fun together. 😉

-J


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

 

 

 

A Lost Child…. Every Parent’s Nightmare

Walking down the very crowded Ocean City boardwalk, in the middle of my long-awaited vacation last week, I heard the cry of a terrified child. My friend and I stopped short, as did a bunch of other moms. We know what primal fear sounds like.

I turned to see a lost little boy. He had found a police officer who was saying and doing all the right things.

The boy (who appeared to be around 4 or 5) knew his first and last name, plus his mom’s phone number. (Good job, Mama!).

The police officer had the boy sit down on a bench while reassuring him that they would find his mom. The officer got to the boy’s level by kneeling on one knee while asking him questions. He was speaking softly into his walkie talkie, reporting every detail to the person on the other end.

Lost boy. Face blurred to protect his identity.

Lost boy.
Face blurred to protect his identity.

Just as the two began to walk towards the crowd, a young teen ran over and asked if the kid’s name was “John” because there was a frantic mom screaming for a kid named “John.”

That’s when I walked away. All was good.

I turned to look at my own kids, who, along with my friend’s children, were oblivious to what was happening. I was so grateful at that moment.

That little boy gets to snuggle with his mom tonight because of that police officer. What might have happened if that lost little boy ran into the arms of the wrong person? I can’t even go there.

The officer was calm and reassuring. He was professional and kind. I’m sure he will be remembered as a hero by that little boy and his mom.

Not only does this man put on a uniform every day and risk his life for strangers; he keeps his eyes out for children who needs his help and protection. It was beautiful to witness this interaction, especially knowing it ended happily.

There is so much ugliness going on in this world right now, I just wanted to share some beauty.

-J


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

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Update

I try not to overload Mommy Business with too much Joshua Kaye Foundation– but I’ve realized that’s probably more than a little crazy. Losing Joshua has changed us forever, and we put so much of our energy into trying to #SpreadLoveAndKindness in his memory. This weekend, we held our first Family Fun Day & Touch-a-Truck event and it was fantastic. We were so touched by the support shown by the entire community. Check out the cool video one of our friends put together. 

So many of you have reached out with kind words and support in one way or another. Thank you- I’m not sure how we’d have gotten through the last 22 months without such a supportive community.

❤M

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Not so Black and White

A few days ago, I shared an article and petition on our Facebook page. The petition demands that a “South African mayor stop invasive and degrading virginity tests” as scholarship criteria. I shared it because it horrifies me to think that young women are being held to certain expectations around their sexuality, and that they have to endure regular “two-finger” checks to verify their virginity. The whole practice sounds degrading and out-dated-  at least from the comfort of my middle class, American home.

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A very dear friend of mine, whom I adore and respect a great deal, sent an email with an essay as a response to that post. She has graciously agreed to share it here.

Not so Black and White

By Pamela Denholm

South Africa is a wonderful country with beautiful landscapes, friendly and passionate people, and incredible diversity not often seen elsewhere: landscape, religion, culture, demographic, language—it certainly is the rainbow nation.

South Africa is also a hard country to live in. Poverty, tragedy, and injustice touch your life every day. It is unavoidable. And it is intimate. In your town, at work, at the store where you buy your bread, at the post office, at social gatherings: it is very close to home and part of your personal landscape. Do you ever give a thought to how many pairs of shoes you own? You will, when you stand in line at a supermarket behind a woman who doesn’t own any. Do you ever think about how many jackets are in your closets? Drive past a mother holding her cold child, using her body to give warmth. You might consider what to have for dinner, and walk right by a child who considers it a day of grace to have just one corn porridge meal.

What is known most about South Africa is the politics, but what affected me most about the country is how deeply the challenges exceed resources. You can give your time, you can share earnings, possessions, compassion, and do your best for your fellow man, and still feel swallowed whole having not curbed or stayed the roaring tide, not even a little. You are a pebble in a hurricane.

You are a pebble in a hurricane.

That’s not why we moved away. But, if I am brutally honest, having lived in southern Africa most of my life, I feel a mixture of relief and sadness at not having to confront it in my personal landscape anymore. Freed from the hurt, and ache, and guilt, I too can focus on what my children want in their school lunch boxes, or first world problems like why my wifi is down, and which reality tv program is the most outrageous. I don’t like feeling grateful that South Africa’s problems are not my daily reality anymore, but as with everything related to the country, her past, her present, her future: it’s complicated.

Complicated describes, too, the recent call to action on www.ThePetitionSite.com about a Mayor in Uthukele district offering scholarships to virgins. My first reaction, like so many others I am sure, was one of horror. In a country where human rights violations are stacked up against the walls of recent history hallways, the Mayor should know better. Then, I stopped to consider everything I know about Uthukele that isn’t discussed in the article. It is mostly rural, poverty is rife, and 25% of teenage girls between 15 and 19 will fall pregnant. HIV and AIDS are also epidemic, and the rape and assault statistics are out of control.

The article also failed to mention that the Mayor, Dudu Mazibuko, is a woman. She stares down these problems in her community every day. What’s more, the president of South Africa, her president, Jacob Zuma, who was born in her province where AIDS statistics are the worst in the country, was tried in the District High Court just prior to his presidency- for rape. He claimed it was consensual, but here’s the kicker: the woman he allegedly raped was HIV positive, and he knew her HIV status before they had intercourse. When he was confronted about this during the trial, he responded that he took a shower afterwards to minimize his risk of contracting the disease. He took a shower. He is the leader of a nation crippled by a rampant disease, a nation where more people live with AIDS and die of AIDS than anywhere else in the world, and not only did he engage in unprotected (and the general consensus is un-consensual) sex, he remedied the situation by taking a shower.

He was found not guilty, and the young woman who filed charges against him was granted asylum in the Netherlands the year following the verdict. Dudu is a cog in the wheel of the same government led by Jacob Zuma.

I am not Dudu. Thankfully. I am not responsible for the statistics in my district. I don’t stand behind 15 year old mothers in line at the supermarket, and I don’t have to worry at night about the welfare of the growing number of children orphaned by AIDS. Or children born with HIV. I don’t have severe budget constraints and severely limited resources to throw against a rising tide of social and economic discrepancies, and I don’t have to ask myself how I am going to keep clinics open and funded, or how I am going to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable demographic of my community: young women between the ages of 15 and 19. Young girls for whom early motherhood is commonplace, and contracting AIDS is much more probable than even the opportunity to attend college.

South African Classroom

Image by Temistocle Lucarelli via 123rf.com

As we righteously follow links on our laptops, iPads, or smart phones, and victoriously add our names to petitions to stop this practice, perhaps we should pause to consider what Dudu is up against, and what she is trying to achieve with the limited means she has at her disposal. I don’t condone scholarships for virgins, and I can’t, again, thankfully, say what I would do in her shoes, but I do understand that she is trying to make a difference in the lives of these young women, and she is trying to reach them before life altering (and in some cases, life ending) mistakes are made. I don’t think we should be pointing fingers at her, if we are truly outraged and want the practice to stop, we should rally to find a better solution that will help her turn the tide.

We should rally to find a better solution that will help her turn the tide.

I so appreciate Pam’s perspective. There is so much I do not have to think about or worry about on a daily basis as average (white) American woman. But my fellow women and mothers across the globe are burdened with so much. It hurts me to think about the little girls who do not get to high school, who are growing up as orphans, who are at risk for AIDS. This is a desperate time…these are desperate measures; perhaps all Mayor Mazibuko could think to do to help. It doesn’t make my heart break any less for these young women, but I’m less horrified by the scholarships than I am by the teen pregnancy and AIDS statistics.

– M

Pam - Square Headshot (1)Pamela Denholm was born is Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and lived in South Africa for many years before moving with her husband and two children to the south shore of Massachusetts. She is proud to be a woman, and believes we should lead with compassion, understanding, and tolerance. One of her favorite books is The Reader, written by Bernard Schlink, and her favorite quote from that book: “When I tried to understand it, I had the feeling I was failing to condemn it as it must be condemned. When I condemned it as it                                           must be condemned, there was no room for understanding.”

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

Customer Service No-No – Best Buy Lost A Customer Today

I am writing this post mostly to vent, but I’m also hoping somebody learns something about customer service from it too.

On 9/12/15, I went into our local Best Buy to replace a teeny tiny tv screen I have had in my kitchen for years. My husband got it for me for my birthday and it hangs under my cabinet, just above my counter and folds up so you can’t see it when it’s not in use.  It was seriously one of the best gifts ever.  When I know I am going to be in the kitchen for a while, I love zoning out and putting something mindless on.  I used to use cooking time to call my nana and catch up on life, but since she passed, I find it a bit lonely. With my little tiny tv, my cooking time goes quickly and I catch up on some of my shows.

My husband was swatting at a mosquito a few weeks ago and broke my screen. 😟 It sat there all broken and sad for weeks.  Finally I got frustrated and went into Best Buy to buy a replacement.

I never shop.  I never treat myself to anything.  I am also never without 4 children in tow, so shopping isn’t usually super enjoyable.

On 9/12/15, I was all by myself and enjoyed my time shopping.  I even poked around a few other departments and ended up picking up a popcorn machine.  I have had the need for large quantities of popcorn on my children’s school’s movie night.  I bought this machine for home, but figured I would lend it to the school as well.

tv best buy image

My husband was awesome and set up my new tv right away.

The popcorn machine, however, sat in its box for a while- a few weeks.

Finally, this past week, I asked my husband if he wouldn’t mind opening it and making some popcorn for us.  He never made it.  When I asked why, he told me it was broken.  Right out of the package- broken and would never work.  The handle wasn’t attached which wouldn’t allow it to seal, therefore preventing it from turning on.

Today, 10/4/15, I  (and my 4 kids) went to Best Buy and waited in line with my broken popcorn maker for about 10 minutes.  When it was my turn, I explained to the man waiting on me that I just wanted to exchange the popcorn maker for a different one because the one I had purchased was broken.

He asked me if I had my receipt.  I did not.  🙁

He asked me how I paid. I told him I didn’t remember.

I then reminded him, I didn’t want my money back, just a machine that worked.

He told me I couldn’t do anything without the receipt.

I explained to him that the machine came broken.

He said it didn’t matter, without the receipt I was out of luck.

He told me to swipe my credit cards through the swiper to see if a receipt would pop up and then he could help me.

I did that.  After the 3rd credit card swipe, he found the receipt.

He told me that I waited too long and now I can’t return it.

What?!?!?!?!  I waited too long?!?!?!?!

It hasn’t even been a month.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t pop a whole lot of popcorn the first few weeks of September, trying to get used to 3 schools, 4 kids and full schedule of activities.

I asked him how long I was allowed to make a return.  He said 15 days.

I told him my machine came broken.  I asked him to look in the box and look at it.  It hadn’t ever been used.  BECAUSE IT WAS BROKEN.

He informed me that it was my lucky day and it was still covered under a manufacturers warranty and I could walk across the store and go grab another one and exchange it.

What?!?!?!

So I was told NO because I didn’t have my receipt.  THEN I was told NO because I waited too long to cook popcorn.

NO IMAGE

And after all that I was ALLOWED to walk across the football field sized store and pick out another popcorn maker and walk all the way back and exchange it.  Which is all I wanted from the start.

Never once did I hear;

‘I’m sorry”.

“That stinks, that you bought this and it never worked”.

“You know what, you did everything wrong here Jenn, but let me see what I can do for you”.

“Sure, no problem”.

“Let me take care of that for you”.

“Thank you”.

“Thanks for shopping with a store in your community and helping to employ local people instead of  ordering this shit off Amazon which is cheaper and so much more convenient”.

“I’m sorry”.

What I did hear was;

“NO, NO, NO, NO.  You can’t return.  You can’t exchange.  NO.  NO.  NO.  NO”

By the time I got out of the return line with my stupid popcorn popper, not only did I not want it anymore but I decided that I would no longer step foot in a Best Buy again.

My kids wanted to purchase a $10.00 movie and I said absolutely not.  Best Buy is not in my happy bubble and will no longer receive a penny from me.

One tiny gesture of kindness goes such a long way when dealing with customers.  A simple smile, a kind word, anything but big fat no’s.

Thanks for listening to me vent. Feel free to share your recommendations for stores to replace Best Buy for my future shopping needs. 😉

❤️J

* Shutterstock images

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.