Friday, June 11, 2010

Making Mom's life a little Easier

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of NAVTEQ. All opinions are 100% mine.

The other day we were leaving Sams which is in another town then where we live and we decided to go to lunch. I wanted to go down by the beach to a delicious restaurant I had been to before but I wasn't quite sure how to get there from Sams. I had to call information, call the restaurant, and speak to two different people just so I could get directions and I prayed they were right because they told me two different ways to go. After stopping by a gas station (dragging the kids in with me because I couldn't leave them in the car) I finally found my way to the beach and the restaurant. Yes, we were starving by that point.

I realized that I REALLY need to get a GPS. I run the kids all over town, to the beach, to play with their friends etc. I currently have to look up directions on the computer before I even leave my house and yep, you guessed it, some times they aren't right - Like our Fire Station play date today, I 'm assuming the computer didn't have the correct directions because this is a NEW fire station.

So yes, I need GPS. One with the most CURRENT and BEST alternate routes. One where I'll be able to find a route around traffic so I can get to my destination on time!

I found NAVTEQ, a company whose technology and maps drive most of the in-car navigation systems and the leading brands of GPS-enabled devices in the U.S., so chances are yours is one of them

Updating is easy, just go to this website and follow the drop-down menus which correspond to the built-in system or portable device. Installing updated navigation maps takes just minutes, but can save hours, fuel and the frustration of getting lost or being late. Mom’s taxi service has to stay on schedule and stick to a budget!

Visit my sponsor: Making mom's life a little easier

Weight Loss TV Star Erik Chopin’s Fit n’ Fruity Family Sundae

Indulge in this deliciously refreshing ice cream sundae for less than 200 calories!

1/2 cup Blue Bunny® Fat Free Frozen Yogurt Homemade Vanilla

1 Tbsp. Bear Naked® Fit Vanilla Almond Crunch Granola

3 Tbsp Fresh Blueberries

1 Tbsp Walmart’s Great Value Original Whipped Light Cream

1 Large Strawberry on top


Scoop Blue Bunny® Fat Free Frozen Yogurt Brownie Fudge Fantasy into bowl. Sprinkle Bear Naked® Fit Vanilla Almond Crunch Granola and fresh blueberries on top of frozen yogurt. Finish with light whipped cream and strawberry.


For chocolate lovers, use Blue Bunny® Fat Free Frozen Yogurt Brownie Fudge Fantasy instead of Homemade Vanilla frozen yogurt.

Check out more recipes, deals and celebrity ice cream creations at

From Our Point of View: How to Engage and Retain High-Achieving Women

 by Marcia Reynolds,
Author of Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction

1. Provide Developmental Opportunities
One of our greatest passions is to resolve complex challenges, yet we need our managers to provide the resources for learning so we can be continually successful. We are top talent because we are committed to being the best. We come to you with experiences and degrees. To continue on our path to excellence, we need you to support the continuation of our development by offering ample tuition reimbursement and encouragement to further our learning. We want you to treat training and coaching programs not as perks but as a part of your overall business strategy. Frankly, to stay innovative and progressive, all employees should be trained in communication skills, managing change, dealing with their emotions, and building strong relationships with their peers within and across divisional borders. This is especially true in tough economic times when you need everyone to stay on top of their game. The last thing you want to do is cut funding for training and coaching when we are facing major difficulties. Give us more opportunities to learn and grow so we can help you take the company to the top faster than our competition. We would love for you to engage us in that challenge.

Also, provide us with mentors who are passionate about what they do so we are inspired to stay and learn more. We like to feel that we are in the company of smart and spirited people. We like to connect with leaders in other areas. We want breadth as well as depth of knowledge. If possible, create a platform where the most successful women in the company can network with and develop the younger female talent so the pipeline grows. Also, we are not always politically astute, so a good mentor can help us put our energies in the right places and see opportunities that we might miss that best use our talents.

2. Make Our Mission Meaningful
We want to be a part of something that feels bigger than ourselves. Even if our products are not that meaningful in the bigger scheme of life, we want to work for companies that care for their employees, respect the environment, and support their local communities. We will eventually disengage if we don't see how our work fits into a broader, more significant context. We struggle with committing to, a monetary goal or a drive solely focused on beating our competitors. We don't just work to make a living. We work to make life better. We will align our energies with your penchant for profit when we can see the evidence of our good work in the world, even if that means we are simply helping people to feel more safe and happy. We know in our hearts we can make a significant difference on this planet. If we are doing that in our jobs, we are likely to stick around and share with the world how excited we are about our work.

3. Continually Affirm Our Contribution and Value
Our sense of contribution and value to the organization is as important to us as our paycheck, but we can't always see the larger effect of our work. We need to know how well we did in relation to the people we touch, whether it's our peers or our customers. It's not enough for us to know we have great knowledge and ability. We need to know if we have made an impact and that others value our involvement.

This acknowledgment needs to be continual because our sense of contribution is fleeting. Once we finish a task, we are quickly on to the next. There's always another project to master and another crisis for us to resolve. You need to remind us of our impact because we tend to lose this sense while swimming in the sea of our assignments.

However, don't overload us because you can count on us for results. We love to give outstanding performances. We love that you trust us. Yet if you rely on us too much, we would rather look for another job than face failure. Make sure to regularly ask us how we are feeling about our work and if we need any resources to get our work done. We often struggle with asking for help. Even when we ask to figure out a problem on our own, we still appreciate that you check in to see if we need any additional support.

4. Design and Foster a Creative and Collaborative Environment

We love to work for leaders who create environments that provide an open flow of communication in all directions. Let us talk freely, whether it's around the real water cooler or the virtual water cooler using social media. Environments that support collaboration foster rapid innovations. We want easy access to tools and resources. We want our leaders to be visionaries and catalysts who transfer decision-making to us and allow us to choose how we want to work. Instead of managing people from a top-down position, leaders should see themselves as the "spokesperson" in the middle of the wheel with employees in motion around them. They should inspire more than enforce. Cooperative cultures represent the future of management. We want to help you make this significant change.

5. Delegate Clear Expectations and Then Let Go
If you give us what we need to do a great job on work that is meaningful to us and valuable to the organization, we won't disappoint you. Give us control over the processes and decisions related to our tasks as much as possible. We love figuring out the best solutions. We need to feel we have the power to implement what we plan. If you think we need a more strategic perspective, coach us to see other possibilities instead of telling us what to do. When you delegate a project to us, give us the authority to talk to all stakeholders to negotiate actions. We will report our progress to you on a schedule we agree to and respond to issues promptly. We learn fast from our mistakes.

Let us know early on when changes will affect our work and share with us the reasons for the change. These days, those kinds of changes happen daily. We need to know about a shift in direction as soon as you do. If something comes up and you have to make a decision that goes counter to what we had hoped for, tell us why you made the decision so we can develop our business acumen. We want to grow beyond our technical capability. Letting us see through your eyes gives us what we need to succeed in our future positions.

6. Recognize Outstanding Performance
We like working for companies that have a culture of recognition. You may think that we are just doing our jobs, but we need to be recognized for our hard work even when it becomes the norm. Your recognition can be as simple as a personal comment or written note praising something we specifically did and the impact it had. We also like public recognition. When you visibly recognize our continual peak performance you demonstrate to everyone that you value this behavior. And don't just recognize results; show appreciation for our creativity, inclusiveness, optimism, and determination even if the results did not turn out as expected. When you honor our efforts, you help us to feel proud. We need help when it comes to stopping and admiring our work. If you give us this gift, we will repeat the behavior you reward.

Also, please recognize us by knowing us. We are staunchly loyal to the people who show they care about us now and in the future. Know our talents, goals, and dreams. If you were called by HR today and asked what you thought were my strengths, frustrations, and aspirations, could you answer these questions? Know who we are today and what we want for tomorrow. If we aren't clear about what we want for our careers, help us envision our future. Then offer to support us as we move forward on this path.

7. Give Us Flexible Work Schedules

We need help in managing our energy more than our time. We will work obsessively to complete important projects. Yet we need to renew our energy so we don't burn out. Therefore, we want flexible schedules based on meeting goals instead of wasting time in traffic or on "who can stay the latest" contests. We recognize the need to be present for important meetings, but on days we can get more work done from home, trust us. We have become comfortable with technology and will use it to communicate. Because we always produce results, let us figure out how we will get the work done. If you want to know more about setting up work cultures that are flexible and successful as a result, look at what these companies are doing: Capitol One, Deloitte & Touche, Best Buy, Marriott, Patagonia, AES Corporation, Sun Microsystems, IBM, PepsiCo, and Wal-Mart. At the Brazilian company Semco, employees choose their own salaries, set their own hours, and have no job titles, yet the profits keep growing and there is practically no employee turnover. By the time you read this, more companies will have followed suit. We're hoping you want to stay ahead of the pack with these progressive companies.

If we have children to take care of, don't put us on a "mommy track" that doesn't have access to promotions and plum assignments. Let us decide what we can handle. If you allow us the flexibility to meet the goals on our own terms, we will in turn be honest with you about what is possible. If we decide we need to step back because our home-life challenges need our attention, welcome us back when we are ready and we will amaze you with the results we produce.

Author Bio
Marcia Reynolds, PsyD, organizational psychologist and Master Certified Coach, is author of Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction is president of Covisioning, a training and coaching firm helping companies worldwide unleash the brilliance in their people.
For more information please visit and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

Win a copy of Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction HERE

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

BLOG TOUR: The Art of Devotion by Samantha Bruce-Benjamin

There was a little mix up, I am happily hosting this blog tour but it's on my other blog Mommy Reads too Much. Please stop by!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Silk Pure Almond Review & Giveaway

Winners are Cindy &Cheryl!

It doesn’t take much to get from whole, natural almonds to Silk Pure Almond™ milk. Each glass provides an excellent source of natural antioxidants, and as much calcium and vitamin D as dairy milk, with absolutely no cholesterol, saturated fat, dairy or soy. Best of all, a serving of Silk Pure Almond Original almondmilk is only 60 calories, and a delicious glass of Vanilla is just 90.

What makes almondmilk Silk Pure Almond so healthy? For starters, it’s the almonds. Every little nut is a perfectly packaged powerhouse of natural antioxidants and more. In fact, we like to think of almonds as Nature’s Perfect Nutrition – and that’s where our almondmilk begins.

Almonds are recognized by health professionals as a nutritious addition to a healthy diet. A serving of almonds provides an excellent source of vitamin E (a natural antioxidant), and a good source of protein and fiber. In fact, almonds are higher in protein and fiber than any other tree nut. Plus, they're naturally low in saturated fat and cholesterol-free.

About Antioxidants:

We've all heard a lot about the benefits of antioxidants – and Silk Pure Almond™ milk is a great way to get more of these healthy must-haves into your everyday routine.

Antioxidants are beneficial components that occur naturally in many whole foods including nuts, fruits, vegetables and soy. Health and nutrition pros agree that a diet rich in antioxidants can help you look, feel and live your best.

But how, exactly, do antioxidants work? Bear with us for a little bit of science: “Oxidation” is a chemical reaction that accompanies many normal processes in the body. When oxidation occurs, it releases potentially harmful molecules known as “free radicals.” Excessive free radical production is thought to cause “oxidative damage”; a phenomenon that may contribute to aging and a number of chronic health problems including cancer and cardiovascular disease. A growing body of research indicates that consuming foods with antioxidant properties may help combat free radicals and protect against oxidative damage, supporting overall good health. Best of all, foods rich in natural antioxidants – like fruits and veggies and many nuts – tend to be great for you in other ways, too.

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that has been studied for its role in supporting normal heart and brain function, as well as promoting a healthy complexion. Each serving of Silk Pure Almond provides an impressive 50% of the recommended daily value of this essential nutrient. To make sure your diet includes the full spectrum of beneficial antioxidants, pile on plenty of colorful produce in addition to healthy staples like almondmilk.

Benefits of Almonds:

New to nuts? Not to worry. Almondmilk really can go everywhere:
· Splash almondmilk on your favorite cereal. Good morning, antioxidants!
· Have you tried an almondmilk latte? Prepare to get hooked.
· Whirl up a smoothie with Silk Pure Almond and your favorite fruit. (Throw in a handful of crushed almonds if you’re feeling extra nutty.)
· Almondmilk cooks and bakes to perfection, and can be substituted for milk in many recipes. Discover soups, cakes, muffins and more – with fewer calories than you’d think.
My Thoughts - I received 2 coupons to the Almond milk for free. I bought the original and the vanilla.
We first tried the original, it was delicious and sweet. It was thinner than the whole milk we usually drink but that was fine with me. The original almond milk is only 60 calories per serving. All but one gave it an A+, my oldest daughter only thought it was okay. Next we tried the vanilla almond milk. I thought it was a little sweet but this is coming from someone who doesn't eat much sugar. Everyone else LOVED it!!! I did think it was a very nice treat in my decaf coffee.
This is a product I'm going to add to my grocery list. I need to give up dairy (VERY hard for me) because it effects my allergies and this milk is dairy free. I am still going to buy milk because my household drinks A LOT of milk and at $2.99 a half gallon we just can't go all the way yet.
Coupons help and  Pure silk is offering a Coupon Registration($.75 off)
They are also allowing me to giveaway 2 Prizes!

The first winner gets a Silk Pure Almond coupon for a free half gallon and also a Silk Pure Almond branded ChicoBag

The second winner gets a Silk Pure Almond coupon for a free half gallon

Mandatory Entry - Visit their Homepage and  tell me a recipe that looks good to you.

Extra Entry - Follow Taking Time for Mommy on Twitter HERE & tweet about it (can tweet once a day)
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Giveaway will end on June27th at 11:59pm. The winners will be chosen by and emailed. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway open to U.S. residents 18+ only.

Disclosure - the products awarded are courtesy of Silk Pure Almond, no other compensation has been given

Homeschool Graduation: Yes, It DOES Exist!

I've been in contact recently with people at 
the very beginning of the homeschooling adventure--people with very 
young kids. They’re interested in how to begin, anxious to get it right from the very beginning. And they are very concerned about the not-uncommon lack of support from family and friends when it comes to homeschooling.

I want to share some encouragement 
with everyone.
 Our second oldest daughter graduated recently through the ceremony at the Florida Parent Educators Association convention. This is our second child to graduate high school, but 
our oldest had attended a high school of performing arts in New Jersey and so 
had a "traditional" ceremony; this was our first true homeschool 

There are so many people who will challenge your decision to 
homeschool as you go along, and one of the comments we frequently 
received was, "You're denying your child things like prom and 
graduation!" While I certainly believe that the benefits of 
homeschooling outweigh the very fleeting pleasures of things like 
dances and ceremonies, it is pretty wonderful that we can still offer 
our kids the option to participate in so-called milestone events. 
Within her senior year, our daughter attended several dances, including a prom, went on her senior trip and 
participated in a very well-done and lovely graduation weekend.
 For anyone who hasn't experienced a graduation ceremony through a homeschool convention, I can tell you 
that we were very impressed. On Friday, there was an informal but well-organized day of senior fun, where the kids met their fellow graduates, played 
games and swam. On Saturday, they had a mandatory graduation practice 
and then that night, a dinner and dance.

What made this uniquely 
homeschool-centric is that the dance was a family affair--it was multi- generational! There were little ones, parents and grandparents, not 
to mention the graduates themselves, alumni and siblings of various 
ages. It was pretty impressive.
The ceremony itself on Sunday morning was also amazing. There were 
touches that allowed everyone to get to know each graduate, even 
though most of them had not met each other prior to that weekend. There was a real sense of 
cohesiveness despite the fact that these graduates probably hadn't 
attended a single class together ever.

We had family come in from New Jersey, California and Georgia for weekend. 
Most of them hadn't experienced homeschoolers, other than my own 
family. Without exception, they came away with a totally different 
view of the homeschooling community than that which is popularly espoused in the world. One 
uncle is a retired college professor (he educated special needs 
teachers and still works within that sector). He attended the 
convention on Saturday morning. He was quite literally blown away. 
He kept saying to me, "I just had no idea."

So to everyone at the beginning. . .know that this journey will 
go faster than you can imagine. One day you're teaching phonics, and 
the next you're waiting for SAT scores! And know too that you are 
doing the absolute best things for your children by educating them at 
home. The payoffs are incredible, and when you watch your child 
receive his/her diploma, you have the gratification of knowing that 
you were not only supportive parent, you were also the teacher and the 
guide--a full participant in this amazing experience.

Tawdra Kandle is stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of four children who range in age from 9 years to 21 years. She and her husband of over 22 years live in central Florida, where he is in seminary. Tawdra spends most of her precious free time writing and reading, and she loves to travel. She is also a resident writer for Taking Time for Mommy. View more of her Articles HERE. You can also follow Tawdra on twitter and her blog, Publishing Quest


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