Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Jenni Ward

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Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Jenni Ward

Jenni Ward and I go WAY back! Back to our high school days where we worked together at an old classic restaurant, Stella’s Blue Sky Diner. It is funny how people come back into your life. I never would have thought Jenni and I would have so much to relate to years later. When she created The Gingered Whisk, I remember following her and being inspired by all her delicious recipes. Learn more about Jenni, the delicious recipes she creates on The Gingered Whisk, and her family in Des Moines, Iowa.

Des Moines Parent Spotlight, The Gingered Whisk, Jenni Ward

Give us a little background of your family and personal life! How many kids do you have? Have you lived in Des Moines all your life?

Hi! My name is Jenni Ward and I am originally from Urbandale. I went to college at Graceland University for Biology and Chemistry where I met my husband – we have been married for 10 years now. After college, we moved to Kansas City together, then to West Virginia, and finally, home to Urbandale where we have been for the past 5 years. We love raising our 3 girls (ages 1, 5, and 8), 2 dogs and 2 cats here, and couldn’t be happier that we get to call Iowa home!

We love getting out and exploring local parks and having mini family adventures! We also love playing board games, doing puzzles, and building epic Lego Castles.

What is your business, and what do you do?

The Gingered Whisk is a recipe site designed to make the most out of your weeknight dinners. I create quick meals that are infused with global flavor to help break you out of that boring chicken nugget rut.

My passion is helping families create weeknight meals they love so they can spend less time focusing on how much food kids aren’t eating and more time connecting at the dinner table. I am all about fun adventurous ways to get kids interested in food, and firmly believe that kids can learn to love bold flavors, new ingredients, and trying new things! More than just fun and delicious recipes, I offer tons of tips, tricks, and support to help you every step of the journey.

Why did you become a small business owner? 

Being able to turn my passion into my job means that I get up excited and ready to work every day! I have had jobs that I didn’t like, that I hated getting up for in the morning, where I was working towards someone else’s goals, and doing mindless busy work that didn’t really affect anyone.

I LOVE getting to work now, and I LOVE helping families find more excitement in their meals, and being able to combine my enthusiasm with my work ethic means that not only do I feel fulfilled but that I can actually make a meaningful impact. I love being able to be at home with my girls, and the flexibility that being my own boss gives me.

Where is your favorite place to take your children to play indoors?

We love checking out unexpected places. The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is a fun place to wander indoors (plus the Trellis has a great lunch!), and we also love going to the library.

Where is your favorite place to take your children to play outdoors?

We LOVE being outside and try to find as many places as we can to explore. The Ledges State Park is a favorite of ours, as is the Jester Park Naturescape. We spend a lot of time at both places in the summer! We also love the bike trails at Walker Johnston Park in Urbandale.

Parent’s day/night out. Describe your perfect parent only day/night out in Des Moines.

It would be so fun to take a class together – like a wine tasting at WineStyles, or a DIY Painting class, or something out of the ordinary and fun! Great food would definitely have to be involved.

What are some tips on juggling parenthood, working, and personal life?

I don’t think there is a perfect way to juggle this, honestly, and I think it really depends on your season of life, too. Sometimes work needs to take a front seat, sometimes its time to dig in and re-establish connections with your people. Sometimes you just need to wear your fat pants and sleep in until the last second possible. I have realized for me that it’s more of an ebb and flow and it’s perfectly ok to constantly reevaluate what you need.

The most important thing I try to remember is that I am living the life that I created – even if it is hectic, crazy busy, and downright chaotic sometimes, I’m in charge of it.  My best advice is that no matter where you are or what you are doing, to just SHOW UP for what matters most.

What is your number one parenting tip?

Relax! It is all going to be ok, they will turn out just fine!

Our job as parents is to raise our kids into seriously awesome adults – but as long as you just love them and let them know they are enough, and that you enjoy them, that’s gonna happen!

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Des Moines Parent Spotlight, The Gingered Whisk, Jenni Ward


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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