2015 Beauty Trend: Coconut Oil

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on February 28, 2015

Did you know that coconut oil has some pretty amazing uses? Not only is is great for cooking, but it is wonderful for skin, hair, and nails.

8 Ways to use Coconut Oil in your daily beauty routine photo 8 Ways to Use Coconut Oil in Your Daily Beauty Routine_zpsoptwtmmg.jpg

For skin:

Remove your makeup – From waterproof eye makeup to your foundation, remove all of it with some creamy coconut oil.

Reduce fine lines and dark circles – Whip up some coconut oil with a few drops of Frankincense essential oil and apply to face after cleansing. Watch fine lines and dark circles all but disappear.

Moisturize your skin – Apply coconut oil to your damp skin right after showering. I love adding some Ylang Ylang essential oil to create a sweet perfume that lingers all day.

Massage away your stress – Coconut oil makes for a wonderful massage oil. It’s not at all greasy and is the perfect way to relax away your stress and worries.

For hair:

Hydrate your hair and bring back the shine – Apply a generous amount of solid coconut oil to your wet hair, from the roots to the tips, after shampooing. Let sit in hair for 3-5 minutes and rinse thoroughly.

Manage frizz – I have very frizzy hair. I like to take just a few small drops of coconut oil and get rid of frizzy flyaways but rubbing gently over styled hair.

For nails:

Soften your cuticles and strengthen your nails - Apply to the base of your nails to soften your cuticles, get rid of hang nails, and strengthen your nails.

Beauty from the inside out:

Detoxify and boost your immune system – Take a tablespoon of coconut oil and swish in your mouth for 20 minutes each day. You will notice an increase in energy, fresher breath, and overall better health. (Read more about oil pulling.)

As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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What’s in Your Closet? #WearWalmart

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on February 26, 2015

My wardrobe consists of a few basics that change as the seasons change. As we near Spring and warmer weather, I pull out my tank tops, basic tees, and maxi skirts. In addition to my favorite jeans that I wear all year ’round, I am set, but every now and then I like to add a few items, mostly to add some colors that pop.

Of course when I add a piece or two, I feel like my entire wardrobe has had a major face lift. That skirt that I bought last season, paired with a new tank or tee, makes the skirt feel brand new. A few light weighted long-sleeve tees brings new life to those worn-in jeans.

Top 4 Wardrobe Staples #WearWalmart

Here are some of my closet must-haves:

Tank Tops in a rainbow of colors - I seriously LIVE in tanks all year long, either layered or alone. They are just super comfy and paired with a cardigan or jacket can be worn for any and every occasion.

Striped and solid Maxi Skirts - SO GREAT for running errands, working at home, and even date nights. Worn with my favorite tanks is a double YES!

Graphic Tees and long sleeve Hooded Tees for those cool Spring nights – I’m not a huge t-shirt gal, but a few fun graphic tees coupled with some trendy bling and I’m right on point.

Jeans and Jeggings - Not much compares to your favorite pair of jeans, especially with those comfy tanks.

From basics to essentials find what you need to build your wardrobe at Walmart.

As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Laundry Made Simple

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on February 23, 2015

We have long been fans of Tide. I just don’t trust any other brand to do the job needed to clean the clothes, sports equipment, and linens for six rough and tumble boys. With Tide Pods, laundry is made simple with the lack of measuring or scooping. But, what’s more is that each pod contains everything needed to clean, remove odors, and fight stains.

Each and every one of our 2 loads of laundry EACH DAY comes out completely clean, bright, and smelling as fresh as an ocean wave. The ocean mist detergent in the Tide Pod dissolves quickly in hot or cold water. It is the all-in-one laundry detergent that works to fully clean whites or colors. Tide Pods Detergent simplifies my laundry routine — and, since laundry takes up a good chunk of time, my life!

Laundry Made Easy

Why I love Tide Pods capsules with Febreeze:

  • They work in both standard and HE machines
  • They dissolve quickly in hot or cold water
  • 1 pod is all that is needed for each load
  • They work as detergent, stain remover, and brightener
  • They are great for for colors or whites
  • They are available at Walmart – our one stop shop. 

As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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I have a confession to make. I read the 50 Shades of Grey books. All 3 of them. In spite of the horrible writing, and the fact that I skimmed through at least 1/3 of the contents, I devoured the books. Now, several years later, I am reading all of these articles that are vehemently against the series and the movie, set to premiere in theaters this weekend, but some of them aren’t setting well with me. I know, in the midst of the kinky and dangerous sex scenes, there is a story to be told. A story of a man, but not just a rich and handsome man - Christian Grey was a broken man who finds hope and peace.

Now, I am certainly not trying to say this is a Christian film. In no way am I advocating that you read these books or go see the film. I have to admit that I was in a very dark place spiritually, and Ray and I were going through a pretty rough patch, when I read the series, and I have no desire to see the movie. Quite frankly, the previews make me feel nauseous. 

In fact, I could list all of the reasons why, based on the previews, this movie is the antithesis of all I know to be true, honest, pure, and just. I could tell you that I agree with the majority of articles touting this movie to be nothing more than soft-core porn. I could argue that I believe porn to be an assault on marriages (not just a Christian viewpoint any longer, by the way), and I know many of you wouldn’t want your spouses watching porn, so why the double standard?

Yes, I could say all of that and more. But, I can also say that it has become frustrating to me that the majority of outcry against Christian Grey is from people who never read the books. And, I will say that I honestly don’t think Hollywood is capable of getting Christian and Ana’s story right.

My friend Elizabeth – mother of three and foster mom to almost two dozen - has some thoughts that I would like to share with you. She has dug in to the story, beyond the sex and  twisted romance, and by all intents and purposes asks a great question – Why aren’t we talking about Christian Grey’s past and his story of redemption?

Five of Christian Grey's 50 Shades We Should Be Discussing (Instead of Sex and Bondage

I would consider myself a conservative Christian.  I have conservative values and a beautiful love with my husband.  As the release of the movie “50 Shades of Grey” is nearing (on Valentine’s Day of all days) I feel there are some things that we should be discussing that we are not.  I think there are some themes of the book the media conveniently, and the Christian conservative community naively aren’t talking about. (Did they even read the books?)

Before I go on any further, let me just state that I have no desire to see this movie. But before I say anything else I will say that I will certainly not tell you that YOU should or shouldn’t see it.  With that it mind, I ask that you think about some things on your way to the movie theater, if you choose to watch. There is a story here.  One that may not be touched on at all in the movie adaptation, simply because the story is not as obvious in book 1 as it is in books 2 and 3. (Yes, I read them all.)

Christian Grey was a Victim of Sexual Assault

Christian Grey was a troubled foster child who was adopted and loved by “well off financially” and loving parents. He was, however, abused as a teenager by a “friend” of the adoptive family!  Men and women alike have a hard time talking about being sexually abused. In the book, this problem was revealed to the family during a discussion with Christian and Ana.  Ana knew that what the older woman had done to Christian when he was younger was 100% wrong.  Ana called her out on this.  The perpetrator (that is truly what she was) was no longer welcome in their house and, at this point, I believe is when Christian and Ana could start to move past the abuse and gain some closure. Maybe it is time to bring up that conversation and how that stigma is raining in society, but happening in homes all across America still today?

Ana is a Consenting Adult

Unlike Christian, Ana was a consenting adult: Although misguided, she was not powerless in the relationship.  She was curious.  She was enticed by the exotic lifestyle and the new car.  She loved the expensive oils and the new clothes.  Even though a sexual relationship like the one that was shared in the first book between Christian and Ana was at times repulsive, and one I would consider very unhealthy, Ana, signed contracts, she consented, and she created a safe word and boundaries in the contract that she and Christian discussed together.  She was well educated.  She was a college graduate.  Although young, in our society we would consider her an adult. She was not powerless, like Christian Grey was when similar things were forced upon him. In the end of the first book, Ana held the most power and walked away from Christian.  (It was a book after all and that is part of fantasy.  The reality of this scenario actually happening SAFELY is slim.  Remember this is fiction and Hollywood.)  In our society, these relationships can cause much destruction.  I do feel Ana knew this, however I do not want to encourage anyone to feel Ana had a realistic experience.

Christian’s Journey Towards Healing Was Aided by Ana Through Therapy

Ana fell in love with Christian and then was able to help him. She held his hand through therapy and he began to heal.  Is this love story broken? Yes.  Is it possible to heal from sexual abuse? Yes.  Ana helped Christian get through this.  Ana saw something – a potential for Christian to become a better man.  Isn’t that what we want in life?  To find something good about people and bring them into the light?  Ironic this Character’s name is “Christian” and Ana saw the possibility for a healed man in him. Yet, I have read “no” correlation to that in any Christian articles I have read online.

Christian and Ana Grew to Share a Healthy Sexual Relationship

At the end, (spoiler alert) Christian and Anna shared loving sex, multiple times, like a “normal” in-love couple.  They got married and then later found out she was pregnant.  They found the love that God created man and women to have. They enjoyed it. She helped him through his nightmares, and he protected her.

Christian Grey Matured as a Man

Christian built a new home for his family.  He built a home without a “red room of pain.”  He built a home with a yard for his children to play in.  He built a home in which he could grow old with Ana together. He left his bachelor ways behind.  This was a story of growing up, discovering real love, and enjoying real intimacy.

Bottom line is that “50 Shades of Grey” is a work of fiction. A story that is twisted, crazy, sometimes unrealistic, and sometimes too realistic in today’s world.  I would not recommend reading the book, because I don’t think sex should be experienced like this. That is my opinion and I formulated it by reading the books myself and not taking someone else’s words as a narrative to my own belief. (Some thing I believe happens way too often these days on the internet.)

I will not watch the movie, because sex is something between a husband and wife.  It don’t think it should be watched with girlfriends on Valentine’s Day either, but I guess it could provide discussion on topics that women need to talk about openly.  Maybe we should, as women have a talk about what real love is. I wouldn’t drag your guy too it, either. What if he gets the wrong idea about the movie and things truly become 50 shades of grey in your sex life? Something to think about while checking movie times and ordering your popcorn!

50 shades of Grey – it was a book that was turned in to a movie.  It portrays what could be a dangerous life style.  Hollywood is at play here, though.  After all, sex sells.  Be responsible buying in to what the media wants you to hold dear, but when given the circumstances see the story for what it is and not what someone tells you it is.

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Orange Chocolate Bath Soak

February 10, 2015

What better way to gift someone special than with spa-like goodies that calms, relaxes, and soothes? Homemade bath salts and soaks make a great gift for teachers, friends, and loved ones this Valentine’s Day. The best part is that they are super easy and, with only 2-3 ingredients, relatively inexpensive to make. So, instead of buying a […]

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My Invisalign Experience

February 9, 2015

A guest post by Ethan Young When my mom told me that I would possibly be getting Invisalign to correct my crowded teeth, I was a bit worried. I was afraid it would hurt, kids at school would make fun of me, the aligners would be irritating when I eat and frustrating to clean. But, […]

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Scrapbook Your Way Through the New Year

January 26, 2015

I used to make scrapbooks. In fact, I have one for each of my twins’ first year. I may even have one for Julia’s… It’s been so long, I honestly don’t remember. My goal was to create a book for each year, even if it was a family album. I would spend hours and hours cutting, […]

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Top 5 Shows for Preschoolers #StreamTeam

January 25, 2015

Timothy is the only kiddo home with me during the day, while all of his siblings are at school. Often he gets quite bored with me and Bella, and I resort to putting on a Netflix show or two for him in the afternoon. Of course, he has his favorites, but fortunately his favorites are mostly entertaining […]

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Stay Fit and Feel Better

January 23, 2015

I always feel best when I am most active. Unfortunately, with the holidays and such, I wasn’t able to work out at the gym as regularly as I’d like. I was, however, able to do some simple stretches and exercises at home just to stay fit, so I would feel my best. Simple Stretches: Neck Roll Shoulder […]

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The Holidays Have Come and Gone

January 6, 2015

If you are anything like me, you hate to see the holidays go. After all of the planning, prep, fun, and excitement, the regular everyday busyness of life takes over again and the holidays become just a memory. This year, mainly because of our pending move, but also maybe because we bought a dead live tree, […]

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Ring in the New Year with King Julien #StreamTeam

December 30, 2014

Our “grown ups only” plans for ringing in the New Year fell through, so we are spending a quiet evening here at home with the kiddos. Are you spending New Year’s Eve with your kids, like we are? If so, I have some great news – Netflix and Kind Julien have made it possible to […]

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Drunk Gummy Bears

December 28, 2014

Are you looking for a tasty last-minute addition to your New Year’s Eve plans? Well, look no further, because I have the perfect thing – Drunk Gummy Bears! They are incredibly simple to make, requiring only a couple of ingredients most you will be able to gather at your local Walmart. There are just a […]

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New Year’s Eve Glam {Beauty Look}

December 27, 2014

I love playing with my makeup, but I don’t often wear a whole lot. Most days, if I leave the house, I wear a BB Cream, some mascara, and a bit of lip gloss. It’s on special occasions – date nights and holidays – that I play it up a bit. For New Year’s Eve, […]

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#StandTall with a Family Movie Night

December 26, 2014

Jim Caviezel is one of my favorite actors. He has stayed true to his personal beliefs and plays in movies that are wholesome and great for the whole family. Some of our all-time favorites are The Count of Monte Christo and Frequency, but centered around teamwork, perseverance, mentorship, sacrifice, discipline and family, When the Game Stands Tall has just been […]

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Stock Up for Baby

December 22, 2014

Start the new year off prepares by stocking up on all your favorite essentials for your babies and kiddos - like Huggies, Pull-Ups and Goodnites. Check out the Stock Up and Save event at Walmart and save BIG!! Be sure you visit Walmart.com to get the following coupons for all of your favorites: Huggies Diapers - $2.00 off any 1 pack of […]

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Getting Your Home Ready for Christmas with Total Home

December 21, 2014

There are only days left before our favorite Holiday of the year. Are your presents wrapped? Is all your baking done? What about your home – is it all decorated and clean? Total Home, a CVS/pharmacy exclusive line of home care necessities, is helping me get ready for our Christmas Day celebrations. At up to […]

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CWIST and Bless Others This Season

December 20, 2014

Back on Giving Tuesday, I told y’all about CWIST – an incentive-based digital learning platform where parents and educators can share ideas, motivate kids to learn and teach valuable life lessons – and their Kids CWIST for Kids program. Did you have a chance to check it out? I’d love to hear about your experience! […]

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The Miracle-Gro AeroGarden :: A Great Gift Idea {Review Part 2}

December 19, 2014

Do you need another gift idea? It’s not too late to pick up an AeroGarden. It truly is the perfect gift for any one who, like me, have not a green thumb! I first told you about the AeroGarden when I set it up in my kitchen. If you remember, I told you all about how fun […]

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10 Last Minute Gift Ideas

December 18, 2014

If you are anything like me, there are a few last minutes items that you need to pick up to complete your Christmas list. Please tell me I am not alone! Thank goodness for Walmart – they makes it super simple. My go-to last minute gifts for any adult is a good jar candle, or a pillar […]

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Check out the Holiday Fragrance Gift Center at Walmart.com

December 17, 2014

Holiday shopping is tough and knowing what to buy for all the people on your list can be complicated. To help simplify the process (while you save big!) visit the Holiday Fragrance Gift Center at Walmart.com to unlock a $4 coupon by taking a fun quiz. Then, head to your nearest Walmart store and start shopping! They […]

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Siblings are a Gift

December 16, 2014

My kids are partners in crime and buddies for life. If there’s mischief to be had, there will be at least a few siblings in the middle of it. You don’t come in between them, either. For as much as they might squabble and annoy each other, that’s a sibling’s right and privilege that no […]

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Make Your Own Snowflake Candles {DIY Tutorial}

December 16, 2014

This Snowflake Candle Centerpiece is an incredibly simple wintery DIY project. It is classy and elegant, but won’t take more than an hour to complete using our three easy steps, and only requires a few supplies. Start by gathering the following items: Battery Operated Candles Pearly Push Pins Wire Cutters Sticks Epsom Salts Craft Glue […]

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