Learning to Use Your Network with Mom Corps YOU #sponsored #MC

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Mom Corps YOU. I received a free trial to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

As a mom who has stayed in the work force almost the entire time I’ve been a mom (I took 6 weeks off with baby 1, about 5 months with baby #2 and all of 5 days with #3), as well as being the financial manager of my house my entire adult life, I felt like I was pretty in touch with all things working world or finance related.  But I’m amazed by how much I continue to learn and be reminded of with Mom Corps YOU.

This month some of the valuable webinars featured at Mom Corps YOU include:

mom corps you webinars april

I was excited to check out the networking webinar.  In my day job I don’t do, or need a lot of networking but in blogging I have found blogging to be HUGE.  Being known by the right people, for the right thing is huge.  But I love some of the other insights on other ways having a good DIVERSE network can really impact your work.  This is particularly true for me now as I add another income stream for our house hold by getting into a direct sales business.  I have chosen this because I need the stability of my day job for reliable income and dependable benefits.  But I need to add additional income to our budget so I have branched out with a company I believe in.  For me my network has helped me hit the ground running.  This webinar helped me also consider goals for the year. And reminded me to prepare a bit of an “elevator pitch” for my new business so I can quickly share with people who ask.  So much good info about how ‘just doing a good job’ won’t get you where you want to go.  You need to be proactive about the connections you make and this is often something that woman, especially have a hard time with.

 

Mom Corps, a national award-winning professional talent acquisition and career development firm, has launched Mom Corps YOU, an online community to help professionals better integrate their professional and personal lives.

 

Join today to check out every thing Mom Corps YOU has to offer.

 Check out my other Mom Corps YOU posts here!

Walgreens Race Around America #Giveaway

RAA_Logo_HorizontalHey race fans, Walgreens and Roush Fenway Racing have launched a partnership to stage “The Race Around America” Interactive Promotion Presented by Balance™ Financial Prepaid MasterCard from Walgreens.  This is a fun promotion for race fans fueled by fan interaction, and will culminate with the awarding of the grand prize: the fully-enhanced ROUSH Stage 3 Mustang used in the promotion by Roush Fenway drivers.  The best part is the added benefits for Balance Financial Prepaid cardholders.

By registering their cards for the promotion, Balance™ Financial Card cardholders will be entered in the sweepstakes portion of the promotion*. Cardholders can earn additional automatic entries –- up to five times per day — by making a purchase or reloading their Balance™ Financial Cards. Consumers can enter between Feb. 23 and Oct. 15, 2014. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.), 18 years of age and older are eligible to enter. For complete rules and regulations, visit www.RaceAroundAmerica.com. No purchase or load necessary to enter to win.

 

WHAT IS BALANCE™ FINANCIAL?

The Balance™ Financial Prepaid MasterCard from Walgreens is the safe alternative to cash that’s big on convenience and small on fees. When you purchase the Balance Financial Card, you’ll get the features you expect in a prepaid card and rewards that you’ll appreciate, like earning Balance® Rewards* points faster just for using your Balance Financial Card. Buy the Card today and use it with confidence when you shop or pay bills everywhere Debit MasterCard is accepted.

 

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Use your Balance Financial Prepaid Mastercard to ‘fast track’ your tax refund with direct deposit.  And as a regular Walgreen’s shopper and Balance Rewards user I LOVE that you can earn points faster when you use (and even load) the card at Walgreens stores.  I actually went and got my own Balance Financial Prepaid Mastercard last week at Walgreen’s and it was so easy.  I did have to ask where they were as they weren’t at the counter (but a large ad for them was ON the checkout counter) or buy the other gift cards but they had their own display that I just missed.  Once you’ve purchased the card you will need to online to activate it.  It only took about 2 minutes to complete the first step when you can use your temporary card.  Additional documentation is then asked for for verification of identity.

blance fincial activation walgreen

I already had my taxes submitted so I won’t be fast tracking but I imagine it would be easy as well.

Grab YOUR  Balance Financial Prepaid Mastercard card today to start earning extra www.RaceAroundAmerica.com entries as well as Walgreens Balance Rewards points!!

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  ENTER TO WIN!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Check out Our Video Recap of #DisneyKids

The boys and I had a blast at Walt Disney World  a couple weeks ago and many more posts will be coming soon but this video is a fun recap from the boys and I about the trip and what we loved!

 

Create an #ImBornTo eBay Collection to Benefit March of Dimes

ebay curate for a causeWhat were you born to be? Were you born to introduce new fashion to the world? Prepare extraordinary cuisine? Create an eBay collection using #ImBornTo in the name of the collection for a chance to WIN a $5,000 eBay shopping spree! Sweepstakes ends March 31, 2014.

Together with March of Dimes, we celebrate the potential in all. We believe everyone is born to be something great. Help eBay reach their goal of raising $25,000 for March of Dimes this month by creating 25,000 eBay collections. For every collection created, eBay will donate $1 to March of Dimes!

There’s also a sweepstakes for you! Everyone who curates a collection with the #ImBornTo hashtag meeting entry requirements will be entered for a chance to win a $5,000 prize.

One (1) Grand Prize: An eBay Collection shopping spree valued at $5,000. Approximate Retail Value (ARV): $5,000. Prize funds to be awarded as a transfer to the winner’s PayPal account. (see official rules)

Sweepstakes:

To qualify for the $5,000 eBay shopping spree, each collection you create must:

  • Include at least 6 products in your collection.

How to participate and enter the sweepstakes:
Go to www.ebay.com/curateforacause, sign on to eBay with your eBay User ID and password and click “Get Started”. Once you have successfully registered for the Sweepstakes, you will receive one (1) entry in the Sweepstakes each time you create a Collection during the Promotion Period.

A Collection consists of six (6) or more eBay products and the title must start with with the hashtag #ImBornTo. Each Collection you create must be unique in order for the Collection to be eligible an as entry.

Online sweepstakes entries must be received by 11:59:59 PM PT on March 31, 2014 in order to be eligible.

Have you created an eBay collection? It’s super easy! I had fun creating my collection which is sort of my wish list of items to go with my new Nikon D3300. Check out my collection #ImBornTo Shoot Nikon here.

You could create all sorts of collections!  What are YOU born to be??

Shop to Support Your School with @AllForSchools #AllForChi

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of SoChic Blogger Society and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 

If you’re anything like me, you do a decent amount of shopping online.  But what if your shopping could also benefit your local school?  I mean, sure you could stick with the same old fundraisers and over pay for stuff you really don’t need or even want all in the name of helping your school. OR you could use All For Schools and shop the sites you already use to make purchases from and your school will benefit from money you’d spend anyway.  I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely going for option 2!

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 11.12.35 AMAll for Schools is an online fundraising portal that allows caring people to give back to schools through everyday online activities.  Every time you take an action through the site, like buying a Groupon, shopping at Nordstrom, Macy’s and Leap Frog, making a purchase or downloading a coupon, you earn money for a school you care about.

 

 

Although my school is not yet part of All For Schools I got the chance to check it out recently.  First of all, it’s very easy to sign up as a ‘school supporter.’  It only takes a couple minutes.

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All For Schools

Once you get signed up you’ll be able to see that you are in fact supporting YOUR school of choice.

 

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Then you start shopping and supporting your school.  You can shop Groupon deals.  And I have to say I haven’t been one to use Groupon but I took a few minutes to check out the deals there and will definitely be going back to try Groupon because there are deals for great local businesses I’d love to try out.  Supporting schools AND local small business is a definite score in my book!!Screenshot 2014-02-14 13.03.34-2

You can also shop online with “Featured Retailers.”  I know some people have issues with using unknown sites for purchases using credit cards etc, but with All For Schools, you click through to the official sites of over 40 businesses such as Walmart and Best Buy (both who accept Paypal payments by the way).  I made a purchase through Walmart as they had a good deal on a memory card I needed.  Once I clicked on the Walmart option from the All for Schools site everything worked just like it normally does when I shop Walmart online.

all for schools screen shot online shopping fundraiser

And if you are an Amazon addict shopper such as I am, this is another great way to put your normal purchases to good use.  While as you can see from the All For Schools notice that is on their site, it won’t go directly to your school, but why not have some of  your money go back to a good cause regardless of where it specifically goes!

All For Schools amazon

REGISTER TODAY! All For Schools is active in Chicago and excited to meet parents, relatives, friends, alumni, faculty, or administrators.  Register today and start shopping, saving and raising funds for your child’s school.

 

 

Have You Tried #UdisGlutenFree

I participated in this program on behalf of Udi’s and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

udisglutenfreeWhile gluten free diets or lifestyles seem to new to many, our family has been aware of the struggles of eating gluten free for many years because some family members were diagnosed with Celiac disease before most people had even heard of it.  Back then the gluten free options of prepared products was very scarce and to be honest, NOT very good.  AT that time we quickly learned that gluten was in so many products you’d never even think of from spices to soda.  But the biggest issue was finding GOOD options for your typically gluten filled foods like bread products.  This past week, our family has gotten the chance to check out a variety of Udi’s Gluten Free products.  Although we aren’t aware of a direct need to eat gluten free, I have heard from many friends how they feel better when they have eliminated gluten from their diet.  And it’s also nice to know of some good tasting gluten free options that we can find to have in our home when gluten free friends or family come over.

Here’s a little more info on Udi’s and gluten free living:

In just a few years, Udi’s has become the #1 gluten-free brand in America. You can view Udi’s history here.

“Udi’s changed the way consumers think about gluten free. We made can’ts, cans. We removed the restrictions that made living gluten free a struggle and made the transition seamless. We created a community for folks to share, build and create. We brought joy. “

Understanding Gluten Free Eating

  • 78% think others don’t understand what a burden it is to be gluten free
  • Only 10% are medically diagnosed
  • 37% are self-diagnosing
  • They have an avid thirst for knowledge and look to multiple sources for information including friends/family, search engines, websites and stores
  • 72% would go without or to another grocery store if they could not find Udi’s
  • 87% say that Udi’s made them feel normal again

Understanding Gluten Free Consumers:

  • 74% rely on friends & family for information and recommendations
  • 70% use search engines or web portals
  • 67% use websites
  • 49% engage with social media sites
  • 56% make their purchase decisions in-store
  • 25% rely on cooking shows for food/nutritional information
  • 36% think events or organizations are important

Gluten free defines their food choices, not who they are. They want to intersect with information in their everyday lives

What are the benefits of eating a gluten free diet?
Wheat in general is a natural inflammatory so when you eat a ton of wheat, you may feel a little bit bloated, so any reduction in wheat will help alleviate those symptoms. We find that with a lot of people are sticking with the brand or eating gluten free just because they feel better.

But if you have celiac disease, your body doesn’t have the ability to process gluten and you can’t actually absorb the nutrients. So that actually has very long term effects!  Udi’s is a real solution for those who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Will the benefits be seen if a family eliminates gluten products one at a time or do you have to completely go off of gluten to see the results?
If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, then you absolutely have to go off of it all the way! That’s the only way your body is going to heal itself and stay healed. If you are choosing to eat gluten free for your own health reasons then that is up to the individual. Some people choose to start by adopting “Gluten Free Friday.”

Are there any tips for families who want to cut back on gluten but not go completely gluten free?
We make simple substitutions in my family. So when we have pizza nights, I started using gluten free pizza crust instead of a wheat-based crust. There are some great gluten free pastas out there, so you can substitute gluten free pasta on spaghetti night. A lot of the time, no one notices a difference!

Will going gluten free help my child who has the occasional stomach grumbles?
That may be up to the individual. Simply make those trade-outs for gluten free products and see how your child is feeling before deciding to stick with it. Make a simple substitution like using gluten free bread for their sandwiches.

Do you have suggestions for trying to accommodate everyone in the family, when not everyone is gluten intolerant?
We see all the time that it is so much easier when the whole household goes on a gluten free diet together, so that everyone feels they are part of the group. What we try to do on our website is create recipes that nobody in the house would know that they are gluten free and recipes that the whole family can come together and enjoy.

How has eating gluten free become a trend?
The way we eat is always evolving! Because we always are traveling and adapting to other types of eating, we as consumers continue to want more and more choices. Eating gluten free is the same; we are hearing more about how processed foods are unhealthy and now we just want another option for taking control of what they are eating and another option for eating healthier. It’s like eating vegetarian. Even non-vegetarians choose to be a vegetarian even if it’s only one day a week, just because it’s another healthy option.

Where can we find Udi’s products?
You can find us at national grocery stores. Sometimes it is in the bakery, sometimes it is in the frozen food section, depending on the product. Use our website store locator to find which grocery stores are carrying your products.

What new things are introduced to the Udi’s line?
We did just introduce a line of four frozen meals: a Classic Mac ’N’ Cheese with Penne Pasta, a Bacon Mac ‘N’ Cheese, a Sausage Lasagna and a Kale and Broccoli Lasagna! We really tried to make these taste homemade. For example, we used real cream and real ingredients so they would be tasty!

What is your best selling bread?
Our best sellers, by far, are two breads: the Whole Grain Bread and the White Sandwich Bread.

Are you in restaurants?
We have been working in the food service arena for the past two years. Our hamburger and hot dug buns are at stadiums, Red Robin and most other hamburger joints carry our hamburger buns and we are just starting to get traction with our pizza crust. We are really working hard to make sure that there are gluten free options for people in restaurants!

Our thoughts on Udi’s Gluten Free products:

I’ll be perfectly honest and say I really didn’t anticipate liking too many of the products.  The gluten free items I’d tasted years ago ranged from bland to plain gross.  But of all the things we’ve tried the boys have loved them all and the only one I didn’t love was the granola bar because it was just a little too crunchy for me.  (I have a serious texture issue and they were mostly soft and chewy but some bits would hit into a good crunch so it wasn’t something I’d get for me.)

But the soft and chewy Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites were A-mazing.  As were the Soft & Chewy Snicker Doodle cookies.  Seriously, none of these sweet treats left you feeling like something was missing or had the slightest hint of after taste or anything but sweet yumminess.

udis gluten free treats cookies chocolate granola bar brownie bites snickerdoodles

 

 

 

I was really not sure about the bread, especially how the kids would take to it.  We regularly do whole grain breads but these loaves just felt heavier when picking them up.  I was prepared for the boys to decline this one.  But they devoured both varieties.  We had sandwiches, toast and even some plain.  As I mentioned the loaves felt heavier but the bread its self wasn’t dry.  It was denser than a white bread obviously but I thought it was good and definitely wouldn’t mind using it regularly.

udis gluten free bread collage

 

While I do know there are some regular chips on the market that are gluten free, some are a cross contamination risk, so be sure to do your research.  But Udi’s Gluten Free crips were a big hit here too.  They reminded me very much of something else I’ve had but I can’t for the life of me place it.  I was a big fan of the Simply Salt Ancient Grain Crisps and the boys loved the cheese varieties.

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Find Udi’s Gluten Free products near you!

 

 

Mom Corps YOU Helps You Become a Savvy Saver #sponsored #MC

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Mom Corps YOU. I received a free trial to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

 

mom corps you savvy saver

As moms we wear many hats.  Some of these, at least for me are fun.  But many are not.  As a single mom, some become harder because we don’t have someone else to share the burden with.  One area I find this especially try is as CFO (chief financial officer) of my household.   By profession I am a bookkeeper.  I am a numbers person.  It comes pretty easy to me.  However, it is entirely different when we are talking about my household budget.  It’s especially frustrating for me because while I make ends meet right now, sometimes it is tight and there is never enough to start putting anything away.  As of right now, there is no savings for our kids for college and nothing for my retirement.  So I tend to avoid even thinking about it.

But the webinar on Mom Corps YOU called to me because this year I am focusing on getting things at least a little more in order.  My first goal is to put away a real emergency fund.  I have done fairly well with cutting some fixed expenses as suggested by Jean Chatzky.  Some things she suggests include cutting cell phone, cable and internet bills.  In the last 6 months I have cut over $150 a month just with these.  She also mentions seeing where you can lower interest rates on debt along with many many other ideas for cutting expenses for your family.

But my favorite suggestion is to start saving 2% of my income.  Everything I have ever read says to save 10% but that is always so daunting when I didn’t start that way.  (But I am encouraging my own kids to start that way so that they simply become used to living off only 90% of their income from day 1.)  But Chatzky suggests that if you can’t do 10% right away, start with 2% because studies show people don’t even notice this.  And then you can add to it if you get raises or find additional ways to cut additional costs.  So that will be my goal for the remainder of 2014!

 

Mom Corps, a national award-winning professional talent acquisition and career development firm, has launched Mom Corps YOU, an online community to help professionals better integrate their professional and personal lives.

 

Join today to check out every thing Mom Corps YOU has to offer.

 Check out my other Mom Corps YOU posts here!

 

March Madness #CatchItAll with @BestBuy @BestBuyWOLF

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

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March Madness is back!  Have YOU got it?

I personally love basketball but the NCAA tournament is a LOT to keep up with.  But I love watching sports on my HDTV while staying connected with my cell phone or tablet as well.  I love being able to share the cheers and jeers with fellow fans via social media as well as being able to keep an eye one stats, brackets etc with websites and apps.
I know some might not agree but I think watching anything from sports to award shows can be more fun when you stay connected via social media.  It’s like being able to have all your friends over together.    And Best Buy helps keep you connected to the excitement with the devices and connectivity that make it possible.  Brought to life by the brand promise of the latest devices and services, all in one place.

And what I didn’t know, and I know my sports fanatic son will be excited to learn is that the entire tourney is being streamed live so he can watch on a mobile device anywhere!

What do YOU love about March Madness?

 

Delivery Man arrives on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital and On-Demand on March 25th

Delivery Man Box ArtDON’T MISS VINCE VAUGHN, COBIE SMULDERS & CHRIS PRATT IN THE OUTRAGEOUS AND HEARTWARMING STORY ABOUT AN AFFABLE, MIDDLE-AGED UNDERACHIEVER WHO

FINDS OUT HE HAS FATHERED 533 CHILDREN

In this heartwarming comedy, underachiever David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) learns he’s actually an overachiever — he’s fathered 533 children via donations made twenty years earlier! David soon discovers that the shock of his life might just be the best thing that’s ever happened to him. Along the way he discovers not only his true self, but also the father he could become. Also starring Chris Pratt and Cobie Smulders — and complete with bonus materials, including behind-the-scenes footage — it’s a feel-good movie that really delivers.

I had the pleasure of getting to see this last summer at a special premier and it is a great movie that is funny and touching.   While the situation may seem a little ridiculous to most of us it’s still relevant to most of us as the “typical” family looks changes to include so many make ups these days.  I love Vince Vaughn in almost everything he’s done, but this is my favorite so far!

Sunday’s Plans for #DisneyKids

Today is our last day.  Kids will get to experience a runDisney Kids Race at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and a tour of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort before sadly heading home. Be sure to follow along on Twitter or Instagram to see all our fun!

 

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ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Play at the next level at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. These 230 acres of professionally run, state-of-the-art facilities host over 60 sports and thousands of events for athletes of all ages and abilities. Train and compete with your team—or catch the excitement as a spectator—in this grand sports setting where classic athletic ideals meet contemporary innovation

 

art-of-animation-resort-dining-gallery-00 Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Be surrounded in the artistry, enchantment and magic of Walt Disney and Disney•Pixar movies. Stay at a Disney Resort hotel that invites you to explore the storybook landscapes seen in such classics as Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. From delightfully themed family suites to wondrously detailed courtyards, Disney’s Art of Animation “draws” you and your family in to become a part of some of your animated favorites.