Thursday, July 15, 2010

2 Free Dora Ebooks for your preschooler

Nickelodeon and the National PTA have teamed up to help parents get their kids ready for their biggest adventure yet--kindergarten! My girls LOVE Dora & this is a great program.

Take a quiz on Nick Jr.’s website to get a customized readiness plan for your preschooler. After taking the quiz, you can download two Free Dora books (just sign up for the free Dora’s Explorers Club)


Mandie Stevens is owner of Taking Time for Mommy & Mommy Reads too Much. She's a homeschooling mom of 2 girls and believes every mom should take a little time for herself.

Outlast - Try for free & Enter to win a chance at a Designer Bag

I recently had a home party for Outlast Long Lasting Hand Sanitizer. We all got to try the product and watch the video.
Check it out

I couldn't believe regular sanitizer only lasts about 2 mins and Outlast lasts 6 hours, Yes, I said 6 HOURS. I go through hand sanitizer like crazy too - not any more! It isn't sticky and even has moisturizers. I'm a bit of a germaphobe so I'm loving this, I just wish I could bathe in it :)

At the party my guests were given the chance to enter to win a Designer bag from Outlast if they opted into the Outlast to receive e-newsletter and other information.

I asked their marketing dept if I could offer this to my readers as well. They said yes so I'm collected email addresses for them until the end of the month. If you're interested just let me know & I'll get your email from you.


Mandie Stevens is owner of Taking Time for Mommy & Mommy Reads too Much. She's a homeschooling mom of 2 girls and believes every mom should take a little time for herself.

Disclosure - I was provided with a free product for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Guest post from author Julia London

Taking Time for Mommy

Thank you so much for inviting me to be here with ONE SEASON OF SUNSHINE today.

I am very proud of this book, because I had to write it under some unusual circumstances. For starters, we had a sudden death in the family. Then, the deadline was moved up for some very good reasons, but still, it moved closer, and that’s enough stress for anyone. But then came the kicker…the resident three year-old started asking why.

I ask you all, is there a greater trial on earth? Does anyone really know why there are clouds? I suppose we all know why we have a car, but must one explain it every morning? Or why we eat cereal? Why is lellow his favorite color? How about why are there compluters? And why do I, in particular, have to use a compluter every day? Why do I write? Why do I laugh? And my favorite: Why are my boobs on my stomach? I told him it was because I was lucky. So now, depending on what I wear, he asks if I am lucky (yes, kiddo, I am a very lucky woman).

And then came the whats. He points to the little thingie that keeps your door handle from putting a hole in the wall. What is that? That, I explain, is a door thingie. He never wants to know what obvious things are, like a refrigerator or a dog. He wants to know the what about all the things I don’t know. I find myself making up answers, hoping that he will forget it and not remember that I flat out lied to him. “That,” I say, looking at the open metal box with all the wires and plugs at the end of our street, “is what makes our TVs work.” You know what he says in response, I know you do. “Why?”

There was a time when he was younger that I could actually work with him in the room. I had to keep my eye on him, but I did not have to actually explain my boobs, and I could keep my mind on my work. Now, I find my brain physically tries to divide itself. One half for him, one half for my work.

What made his questioning even more special is that in writing ONE SEASON OF SUNSHINE, I was writing about a woman who takes a job as a nanny for two children who have lost their mother to a car accident. The kids are not exactly welcoming to her, and I could imagine how difficult that would be. Jane turned out to be a better person than me. If it were me, I think it would be easy to care for the kids, but hard to really love them. Jane loved them. She loved them so much she could imagine herself as part of their lives…until devastating secrets emerged that threatened to destroy her search of her own identity as well her relationship with the children. You’ll have to read the book to know what the secrets are ;-).

Thank you so much for having me here today. I hope you enjoy ONE SEASON OF SUNSHINE. If you want to know WHY about me, I invite you to visit my website, Thank you so much for having me here today!

Check out Mandie's Review of One Season of Sunshine

Monday, July 12, 2010

What's a pecksy?

This morning my girls and I were curled up in bed coming up with words.  It's something we do sometimes. We make up a word then create a meaning to it.  It's great fun for a 3 & 5 yr old.
So this morning we can up with the work "Pecksy" Not quite sure where it came from, but it did.
After about 30 mins we finally came up with a meaning...
Pecksy - noun  A fried woodpecker sandwich smothered with mayo and topped with pepper jack cheese, onions and pickles.

Origin : The Stevens' household 2010

Please note, no woodpeckers were actually hurt :)
What would your definition for Pecksy be? Or do you have a fun word you made up?

Mandie Stevens is owner of Taking Time for Mommy & Mommy Reads too Much. She's a homeschooling mom of 2 girls and believes every mom should take a little time for herself.

Simple Sangria Recipe

I felt inspired by my friends this week to post this since we all got together for a drink. This is a very easy recipe that you can build on and make your own.

1 bottle of light- or medium-bodied red wine
2 cups lemonade
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) brandy, optional
1 navel orange, thinly sliced
1/2 pint large, plump blackberries, strawberries or other berries
1 cup club soda

1.Combine wine, lemonade, sugar, and brandy (if using) in a large pitcher and stir to dissolve sugar. Add fruit and pour in club soda. Refrigerate for 1 hour or more before serving to allow fruit to macerate and sweeten sangria. Serve in tall glasses filled with ice.


Mandie Stevens is owner of Taking Time for Mommy & Mommy Reads too Much. She's a homeschooling mom of 2 girls and believes every mom should take a little time for herself.

Tips for Cleaning your Dishwasher

How often do you clean your dishwasher? 
I mean really clean it? I'm sure you don't think much about it since you are putting all of those detergents in there, you probably assume it's going to be clean right?
 Once we take our dishwasher completely apart and deep clean everything. 
I've found everything from tiny little fish bones to goo in the pipe - ewww.
I don't suggest this unless you really know what you're doing (like my husband- certainly not me) because
it will void your warranty but here are some other tips for cleaning it.

It really is very important to rinse of all of the dishes before you put them in there. Even the dishwashers that are powerful - like mine. I've pulled the tubes out, I've seen how gunked up it can get, even with the super washers.

Every few days I take an old toothbrush and scrub around the edges of the dishwasher, the grim and scum from the detergents can build up and effect the seal.

Pull out the bottom rack of the dishwasher and give it a good wipe down. That's where I also found some of the fish bones.

By placing a dishwasher-safe cup filled with plain white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher and using the hottest water available, run the dishwasher through a cycle - except for the cup of vinegar, the dishwasher needs to be empty.
The vinegar will help to wash away the loose, greasy grime, sanitizes, and helps remove the stinky odors.

You can also use baking soda to make it fresh and bright.Just sprinkle a cupful around the bottom of the tub and run it through a short but complete cycle using the hottest water. Baking soda is also helpful in removing stains.


Mandie Stevens is owner of Taking Time for Mommy & Mommy Reads too Much. She's a homeschooling mom of 2 girls and believes every mom should take a little time for herself.

Those Who Choose

{This was an essay I wrote about two years ago for my personal blog. I’m happy to report that those who chose then are still close to us now.}

In the past few years, I have learned so many lessons. . .literally hard-learned ones! And don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for them, even if I didn’t know at the time I would be.

One of the hardest lessons has been learning about those who choose. It is sweet, and it is painful.

When my dad first got sick, back when he was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma, we had all sorts of friends and family rally around us. There were meals delivered, cards sent, offers of help. And we were grateful and appreciative. And then. . .life went on. My dad came home from the hospital, and all of our lives fell into what became the normal pattern.

Fast forward five years: my dad started needing hospitalization more and more frequently, until finally, in May, he went into the hospital and never came home. It was a long six weeks of trips to and from the hospital, followed by the blur of grief. When my mother was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia two months later, it seemed more than we could bear.

Apparently, it WAS more than some people could bear. We realized as the months went on that we heard from fewer and fewer people.

But that is not who I want to talk about. I want to talk about those who choose. Because those who chose to hang on with us, those who chose to call each week, those who listened when we cried or whined. . .those are the people whom I will always treasure as my nearest and dearest. Turns out blood isn’t thicker than water, but love is stronger than obligation.

Those who choose could have stopped calling or writing after my mom died. They could have decided that since we moved south, or since it was really my parents with whom they were friends, or since we really didn’t “need” them anymore, they could back away.

But they didn’t. They called. They wrote. They listened. They advised. They visited! And most of all, they loved. They chose to love, even when it was painful or less than convenient.

I want to be one who chooses. Don’t you?


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

CSN Store $80 Gift Card Giveaway!

I'm getting ready to redecorate my daughters' play room and I found this adorable Vanity.

 I found it from CSN Stores  and I'm excited to announce that they are allowing me to give away an $80 gift card (one time use) that is good at any of their many stores. 
Have you heard of them before? 
They offer EVERYTHING from baby & kids items, furniture, hand bags, even school items if you're a Homeschooling mama like me and want to set up your own classroom. Their patio furniture is gorgeous too. 
I really want to get my girls this revolving book case. 
to match the Vanity too. They love butterflies!

They also have cookware, lighting, and a site for modern furniture and decor.

So you have PLENTY to choose from if you are the winner!
There may be shipping charges or, in the case of Canadian addresses, international fees for certain products. It is important for you to check that while picking out your product.
Mandatory Entry - Tell me what you'd get if you won the $80 gift card?

+1 Entry - Follow Taking Time for Mommy on Twitter
Tweet about it (1 entry per tweet per day.)

+1 Extra Entry - Follow Taking Time for Mommy on FaceBook

+1 Entry - Follow my other blog Mommy Reads too Much Publicly on Google Friend Connect

+1 Follow Taking Time for Mommy on GFC

+2 Entries - Comment on any non-giveaway post on either Taking Time for Mommy or Mommy Reads Too Much (You can this this as much as you want)

+5 Entries - Signing up for our weekly Newsletter (form to the right)

+5 subscribe to our feed (right)

+3 Entries -Fan our writer Tawdra Kandle on Associated Content and comment on one of her articles

+1 Follow Tawdra on Twitter

+3 Follow Tawdra's Blog Publishing Quest

+10 Blog about it and leave me the link to check it out

+5 Add the Contest in a link on the side of your blog, remember to leave me a link

Giveaway will end July 31st 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 and Canada 18+



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