Cooking Story

jena howard with her 3 little children
Here I am with 3 of my kiddos; Brett (7), Audrey (5), and Grace (2).  We all look happy in this picture and the funny thing is, we were and there was no bribing or crying involved. I love this picture!

My Cooking Story

My cooking story began as a child with my mom cooking dinner every night.  Back in the day, there was no pinterest or internet! My mom would cut out recipes from magazines or share them between family and friends on scrap paper. She would try different recipes and had a variety of meals to choose from on a daily basis. She is a great cook so we were lucky to have yummy, homemade meals all the time. 

Since cooking was a huge part of my family, I was never afraid to make things on my own.  I mastered spaghetti with jarred sauce and ramen noodles in college!  That was about the extent of my cooking back then.

Thankfully, things are a lot different these days.  I do find myself buying jarred sauce from time to time to have “in a pinch”.  And ramen noodles can be found in my pantry as well.  Hey, who doesn’t love ramen noodles?  They are cheap, quick, and taste great!

However, now that I am a mom and have hungry bellies to feed, I am always on the lookout for yummy meals that are easy to make!  The kids take up a lot of my time so cooking needs to be simplified.

My Personal Story

For 10 years I worked in offices for other people.  I enjoyed my work and enjoyed my coworkers, however, I hated working inside all day.  I was always freezing in the summer from the ice cold air conditioning and stuffy from the dry heat in the winter.

After being laid off in 2007, I decided I would work for myself and created my dream job – Muddy Paws, a full service dog walking and pet sitting company!  I worked my butt off (literally, I lost 8 lbs in a few weeks) and built up a customer base.  I soon began hiring and expanding even more.

12+ years later, I have a staff of 25 dog walkers/pet sitters.  I LOVE what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else.

Of course, having my own business has had many challenges along the way and is a constant work in progress.  However, my only regret is not starting Muddy Paws sooner.

Next Came Kids!

After starting Muddy Paws, I took a leap of faith and started thinking about kids.  It never seemed like the right time.  Is there ever?  Probably not.  So I figured if I wanted kids, I had to just dive right in and go for it.

Building a business is difficult.  Expanding a business with little kids is nearly impossible!  Nonetheless, if there is a will, there is a way and anything is possible.

Most days I am just happy that I survived another day!  And sometimes I think, how did I get anything done today with kids, pulling at my leg every step of the way.

If you are a parent, you get what I’m saying.  Just remember you are a trooper.  Keep plugging along, enjoy precious moments with your kiddos, and pat yourself on the back for doing such a great job!

My cooking story is a never ending book. I’m always searching for new ideas for meals as well as shortcuts to make cooking easier!

Follow me to find yummy recipes that are inexpensive, kid-friendly, and easy. Yes, those meals are out there! Change up your weekly meals and get creative. I’ll show you how to do it without killing yourself.

Stop spending so much time in your kitchen and enjoy life!