Entertaining with Aladdin

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on April 14, 2014

I love a good party, and everyone who knows me knows this is true. Lately, however, the pressure of achieving entertaining perfection makes cuddling up with my kiddos and hubby to watch a good movie sound like the better choice! This is where the Aladdin Mason Entertaining Collection comes in incredibly handy for at least one crazy busy mama. The super cute, mix & match assortment of durable and dishwasher-safe beverage containers can turn any ol’ occasion into a great one in a snap.

Entertaining with Aladdin

Because Aladdin makes it so easy to create the perfect party environment, I decided to have a party to welcome Spring! Of course, the colorful mason cups, tumblers, pitchers, and dispenser were on full display for all to see. Each of my guests went home with a bag full of their very own Aladdin goodies, too.

Never again will I host a party without the help of Aladdin. Set up was fun, socializing with my friends and neighbors free of distraction, and clean up a breeze.

Our Welcome Spring Party with Aladdin

Disclosure: I was compensated for the creation of this post. All Aladdin products pictured were received for the purpose of sharing.


Letting Go

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on February 25, 2014

It’s incredible, this parenting gig, right from the start.

Flitters of movement, seeing my precious babies for the first time, giggling and cooing, cuddling and snuggling, silly faces and goofy grins.

Having heart to heart conversations late at night, hearing “mama” from my three year old right on up to my 13 year old, being a confidant and friend, and seeing my children work out a disagreement (even through tears).

The awe inspiring and incomparable bond that I have with all of my children.

But, this parenting gig is also hard, y’all.

The aches and pains of pregnancy and childbirth, sleepless nights, countless dirty diapers, hours upon hours of crying, fussing, and whining.

And, then our babies become toddlers, and the challenges continue to change as they get older…. Potty training, homework, chores, breaking up sibling arguments, exampling patience and kindness, teaching compassion, and showing love in all of our actions.

I now parent teenagers (ACK!). While I still have sleepless nights, break up sibling arguments at times, and feel like I’m constantly reminding them to do homework and chores, I’m discovering how much my job description is morphing, once again.

Added to everything else are activities, friends, monitoring social media, and having to say no. And, there is something new coming up every single day.

Letting go

When you become a mom no one tells you that, no matter what you do, you will never be prepared to let go of each stage as Baby grows up.

Letting go of tiny fingers as baby takes his first steps.

Letting go of the snuggling and cuddling every couple hours when you wean baby.

Letting go of the plethora of cute little baby things.

Letting go of a small hand as your kiddo runs off to his classroom for the first time.

Letting go of playtime on the floor.

Letting go as you watch your “big boy” run down to his friend’s house by himself.

Letting go of the kiss and big hug and replacing it with a quick wave goodbye.

I’m letting go every single day, and it seems to get harder as they get older.

But, no matter how old my babies get, I know that I can hold on to this incredible bond I have with each of them.

hands and hearts

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Read Across America with Dr. Seuss

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on February 23, 2014

Dr. Seuss books are some of my all-time favorites. In fact, if I remember correctly, Hop on Pop and Green Eggs and Ham were among the very first books I ever read all by myself. When Ray graduated from UCLA, his aunt gave him Oh, the Places You’ll Go! with a beautiful sentiment written inside. And, fast forward a bunch of years and I read Dr. Suess books to all of our children, teaching them to read with Pop, Sam, and the Cat in the Hat.

March 2nd happens to be Dr. Suess’ birthday and Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on this day. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books. This year, Josh and Noah’s school is planning something extra fun… It’s a big secret, but I can tell you that it involves lots of tall, red and white hats!

So, what will you do to celebrate? How about some green eggs and ham? Hop on over to NEA’s Read Across America site for activities, lesson plans, and more. Or, head over to Pinterest to find lots of fun ideas for a big birthday party for Dr. Suess. 

How about heading to Wal-mart, where they are offering a great deal so you can either start your Dr. Seuss library or, do like we did, and add to it. Regular priced Dr. Seuss beginner books are on sale for $5, instead of the regular price of $8.99, and the Dr. Seuss board books are only $3.50 (regularly $4.99).

read across america


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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A Real Look at an Afternoon Outing

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on February 10, 2014

Yesterday was one of those days in the Texas hill country that made me think that Spring was on it’s way. With temperatures in the low 70s, it was a perfect day for soaking in some sunshine. So, after church we drove down to Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin.

It’s looks like we had lots of fun, judging from the photos we posted on Facebook, right?

Lady Bird Lake Trail

We even managed to grab a fabulous photo of all of our kiddos.

The Young Kiddos

But, our outing wasn’t all that it seemed by just a quick glance at a few photos on Facebook. Here’s a real look —

First off, we had high hopes of eating near the water. Apparently everyone in the entire Austin area had the same idea. Wait times to sit on a restaurant patio, overlooking the calm water, was close to an hour at more than one restaurant. (We tried two.) Skip that idea. By the time we actually sat (inside) and ordered our food we were quite hungry. And cranky. In fact, Timmy threw a fit at our table because he got what he ordered, but wanted what Josh ordered.

With full tummies, we decided to head out on the trails by the lake. Ray and I wanted to breath in the fresh air, but the kids simply wanted to climb trees. We drove around the south side of the lake for what seemed like ages, trying to find a parking spot. The kids thought we were just driving around – you know, because we parents love to torture our children – and could not understand why we kept going in circles.

Finally Ray parked in a parking garage on the north side of the lake, right downtown, and we began our walk to the trails. Almost instantly, the kids were hungry, tired, hot, and thirsty.

The next couple of hours consisted of grumbling, complaining, scuffling, reprimanding, disciplining, confiscating, bickering, more complaining, and… a couple of great photo opps.

lady bird lake - a real look

Lesson to be learned: Don’t let beautiful photos of smiling kids (and parents) fool you. There’s often way more to a family’s real life than what is shown in just a couple of well planned photos posted on Facebook.

We’re living proof.


#SiennaDiaries Entry #4: All the Comforts and Conveniences

January 12, 2014

The Toyota Sienna was quite the posh ride. All of us were very comfortable any time we drove that vehicle anywhere. Here are some of the resaons why – Heated Seats – Need I say more?! Automatic Doors – With just a simple touch of a button, the automatic doors make loading and unloading super [...]

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My {simple} New Year’s Look

December 26, 2013

One day I’d like to get all decked out in a fancy dress, with a romantic up-do, and dramatic makeup to celebrate a year gone and count down to a new one. But, alas, we have kids, and for now we stay in and watch the ball drop with them. Even though we will be [...]

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Doing Good With #Toyota {#SiennaDiaries}

December 15, 2013

As part of my involvement with Toyota through December they gave us some fun money to bless others. How did we use it? We went shopping! Julia and I loaded up a Walmart cart with toys and filled the cargo space in our Sienna. We plan to donate the brand new toys to kids in [...]

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“How many?”

December 11, 2013

I saw this on Pinterest the other day and I just couldn’t resist posting it here… No matter where we go, we are always met with looks, stares, and questions. I generally don’t give it much thought – I smile, nod, and answer the questions. But, sometimes… well, I can’t help but sigh and roll [...]

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Smiling it Forward with Alyson Hannigan

December 9, 2013

Like most of us moms, How I Met Your Mother star Alyson Hannigan, loves sharing photos of her young daughters with friends, family and fans online. Y’all know how often I do the same! For this very reason, I have teamed up with Alyson , SheSpeaks, and Tylenol as a “Smile Squad” blogger to help spread [...]

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My Afternoon With Garth Brooks Rocked! #BlameItAllOnMyRoots

November 28, 2013

I want to tell you all about Garth Brooks’ newest boxed set, Blame It All On My Roots, due to release tomorrow, but will you bare with me as I gush about my afternoon with him first? When I started blogging, what seems like ages ago, I had not a clue that so many great [...]

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Avoiding Holiday Kitchen Hazards {Home Safety Giveaway}

November 26, 2013

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen this week. Have you? Do you have a little one who may not be aware of the hidden dangers? I’ve teamed up with Safety 1st again this month to bring you some safety tips from Julie Vallese, Safety 1st Consumer Safety Expert. Check ‘em out… [...]

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Mimi and the Rocket

November 11, 2013

We had the great privilege of being blessed with my mom’s company for the better part of this last week. It was the first time she had seen our new home, so we were excited to explore our new city with her and just hang out. (Well, Mom couldn’t help herself and she did a [...]

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Nursery Safety :: #Safety1st

October 28, 2013

We don’t have babies any more, and to be honest, we only had a real nursery for the twins thirteen years ago. So much has changed since then, from baby monitors to child proofing products, but one thing remains – Baby must be kept safe! Your baby will spend a large amount of time in [...]

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Sycamore Row by John Grisham – A Book Review

October 27, 2013

In his newest novel, “John Grisham takes you back to where it all began…” I didn’t read John Grisham’s A Time to Kill, but I did watch the movie years ago, and  I do know that it was one of the most popular novels of our time – anyone who enjoys legal thrillers knows the [...]

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Turning Aggression in to Calm and Loving Responses :: A Lesson in Expression

September 8, 2013

Noah is all boy. He showed his aggressive nature quite early, and as soon as he could stand on his own he assumed an offensive football stance. He was born tough, has always been loud, and is afraid of nothing. Over the years I tried to work with Noah to express his frustrations in more [...]

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B2S :: 1st Day

August 27, 2013

Sending five of my kids off on the first day of a new school year, in a new school, was bittersweet. This will be Noah’s very first year away from home, and I know I will miss him in a different way than I will miss the others. This morning, as I said goodbye to [...]

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Summertime Fun At The Austin Ice Cream Festival

August 17, 2013

There are certainly no shortage of fun things for the whole family to do in Austin… We were excited to discover that this weekend was the 7th Annual Austin Ice Cream Festival. Ray and I thought it would be a great way to spend one of the last Saturdays before school starts, so we decided [...]

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#WordlessWednesday :: Texas Lightening Storm

August 7, 2013
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The Ultimate Road Trip

August 5, 2013

It will be two weeks tomorrow since we pulled into our new driveway. While we sorely miss our friends and family back in Cali, we are well on our way to feeling at home in our new place. But, to get here we had to take the mother of all road trips… Ray, two of [...]

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The Youngs’ Top 10 Camping Tips

June 22, 2013

1. Have the kids pack the ice chest, so all of the ice melts all over the sleeping bags and Mom’s clothes. 2. Unknowingly piss off your neighbors just before your trip. CPS may show up as you’re leaving and delay you by three hours. 3. Make sure you bring your large untrained dog with [...]

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45 Rules for Moms of Sons

June 9, 2013

From the moment I read Michael Mitchell’s 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters, I knew I wanted to put together my own set of rules, but for moms of sons. After all, I do have a bit of experience and I figured it would be easy. But, each time I sat down to write my [...]

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My Biggest Fears {#BlogEveryDayinMay}

May 7, 2013

There are most certainly things that make me uncomfortable, but I’m not afraid of many things. Those of which I am afraid, scare the living daylights out of me… Spiders more than just make my skin crawl; I am terrified of them. I couldn’t even search for a photo to include in this post without [...]

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