The Holidays Have Come and Gone

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on 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.

3 wise men

This year, mainly because of our pending move, but also maybe because we bought a dead live tree, I put away most of our Christmas decorations just two days after Christmas. Wreaths and candles, stockings and tree decorations, all got boxed up, leaving behind an incredible mess. Pine needles were everywhere, and dust lined the shelves and the mantle around where our decorations sat.

I hurriedly stacked the boxes full of memories with most of the other packed boxes in our house, so we could ready our half-packed house for guests to help us ring in the New Year. Those dusty shelves were wiped down and a few of our new Christmas gifts – decor that matched perfectly with our personalities – were placed on them, avoiding a box for a bit. Our house was made ready for yet another celebration.

Happy New Year

Just like after any good party, there was quite a mess to clean up afterwards… noise makers left on the floor, along with cookie crumbs and popcorn kernels; wine glasses on coffee tables, some still half full; and confetti everywhere. A messy house evident of a good time had by all.

Once recovered from these joyful celebrations with family and friends, out came the cleaning supplies and to work I went. Now, cleaning house is not exactly my favorite thing to do, but I decided to tackle one room at a time before taking a break. After all, it was still winter break for my kids, so I took advantage of some down time, too.

With the help of CVS Total Home products, I was able to do everything from wiping down our dusty mantle and shelves to cleaning our toilets – all four of them. I’m a fan of using paper towels when cleaning (no judging!), so stocking up before a big clean is a must, but I was able to find just about everything I needed at CVS.

The first of the year is also a good time to check home air filters, replace lightbulbs, and change the batteries in smoke detectors. Look for all you need at your local CVS!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

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Our Afternoon at Ripley’s San Antonio

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on December 13, 2014

We have been to San Antonio several times. The Alamo and River Walk are among our favorite places to visit. We had always walked by Ripley’s and I thought it would be a fun place to take the kids, but we never had a chance to stop in and visit. Until last Saturday.

Ripley's San Antonio

We kind of got a late start, but arrived at Ripley’s mid-afternoon. We had 3-way combo tickets, but knew we’d have plenty of time to tour the Odditorium and Wax Museum, and sneak in to the 4D Theater – the attractions wouldn’t close until 10pm (8pm, Mon-Thur).

Louis Tussaud’s was first on the agenda. We mingled with movie stars, celebrities, and prominent figures. All wax, of course!

Ripley's 3-way combo

Walt Disney and the 7 dwarves, Marilyn Monroe, the President, and more… All so lifelike! (Others, not so much, and quite scary, to be honest.)

WaxWorks San Antonio

Next up was the 4D Theater. This was Timmy’s favorite of all of the attractions – We wore 3D glasses and had quite the wild ride, during two different adventures, making it feel as though we were inside the movie! (Great for 4 year olds, but the older kids felt like it was eh, and unfortunately the experience made Ray feel queasy.)

Ripley's - 4D Theater

Imagine the following in 3D, moving in your seat with all the bumps and turns…

 

Last, but certainly not least, was the Odditorium. Since 1918, the Believe It or Not Odditoriums have showcased the eclectically bizarre collection of Robert Ripley – the world’s most unbelievable exhibits. Authentic shrunken heads, two-headed animals, and a 19th century vampire killing kit only scratches the surface of what’s behind the doors of Ripley’s San Antonio.

Ripley's Believe it or Not Odditorium

This was a great way for us to spend the afternoon as a family. There was lots to see and we all learned a bit, as well!

Disclosure: We received complimentary 3-way combo tickets, courtesy of Ripley’s. This post also includes affiliate links, but all thoughts and opinions are mine, of course.

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Save up to 50% at Tiny Prints TODAY ONLY!!

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on December 4, 2014

Hey early birds…you’re about to get a great deal on holiday cards.

From 7:00am to 11:00am (eastern time) TODAY ONLY, Tiny Prints is making their already awesome Cyber Week deal even more awesome.

Tiny Prints Cyber Monday

Through the end of today, you can get 40% off all holiday cards using the code CYBER40. If your order is more than $49, use that and stack the code FREESHIP49 for free shipping if your order is more than $49. But, if you are up early enough, add the code FLASH1204 and you’ll save an extra 10% on your order. That’s a total of almost 50% off holiday cards. 

So, check it out and remember to use all 3 codes to save nearly 50%!

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links.

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Give Thanks and Give Back. Learning to Give in the Midst of Abundance.

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

Just a couple days ago, one of my boys came to me complaining about how bored he was during this week-long break from school, and how he had nothing fun to do. Mind you, we have a house full of toys, gadgets, and books. It’s beautiful outside and he and his brothers have bikes, scooters, and skateboards. This particular child happened to be holding my Kindle Fire that is full of kid-friendly games, and he had just handed me his Christmas Wish List.

More times than I’d like to count, this week alone, one or more of my children has complained that there was nothing to eat. If you have been to my house, you know this couldn’t be further from the truth – our pantry is always full and our refrigerator is overflowing (if truth be told, we actually have 3 refrigerators). However, we did just run out of their favorite snacks, and we are out of milk.

I’m saying all of this not to brag about how much we have, but to illustrate the very real fact that my kids do not appreciate all we have, but instead focus on what they do not have. We all do, to a degree, I think. I am truly just as guilty. Especially this time of year, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and distractions, without focusing on being grateful for what we do have and the beautiful spirit of giving.

So, my kids and I had a conversation. We wrote down all that we have to be thankful for and gave thanks to God. We placed these lists in our TeddyTank and each time we walk by this “tank full of thanks” we pull out a list and read it to remind ourselves of how truly blessed we are.

But, we didn’t stop there… We talked about how we have friends who are really struggling right now. Friends who don’t have more than two cans of soup in their pantry right now. Friends who are barely able to pay their bills, let alone buy Christmas presents for their kids. We took a trip to Walmart and bought bags full of dry goods to donate to our local food pantry, and we came up with a plan to make sure some of our friends have a present to open on Christmas morning.

Food Pantry Donation

It’s the little things, but it’s a start.

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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VeggieTales In The House {New to Netflix}

November 23, 2014

Bob and Larry were always favorites in our house, especially with my twins. I can’t even tell you how many times my little guys watched them and the rest of the VeggieTales cast on Lord of the Beans, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, or just about any other VeggieTales movie. Larry’s Silly Songs often played while we were […]

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It’s Time for the Holidays! Shop Smart at Walmart and Save

November 2, 2014

It’s time to switch out your wreath, friends! With Halloween behind us, and the Holidays approaching quickly, Walmart is there to make your shopping and planning easier and more affordable.   Holiday Savings and Easy Shopping Start Now Walmart has over 7 million items – one million more than last holiday season – ready for you online. Deals […]

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My Go-To Fall Outfit

September 21, 2014

I am loving the bright colors that are available in fashion and apparel at Walmart this Fall! Of course, you can still find all of the goodies that make dressing for this season so great – boots, scarves, oversized sweaters, and all – but adding bright splashes of color to my outfit is easy to do […]

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Fifteen

August 28, 2014

It was fifteen years ago today. The hottest day of the year. I was to vow to love, honor, and cherish my best friend all the days of my life, and I was a bundle of nerves. As I walked down the aisle, on my father’s arm, I saw my best friend waiting for me […]

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First Day

August 26, 2014

Sending the kiddos off to school after what seems like a long summer is always bittersweet for me. This year, however, it was especially so. While they were all most certainly ready for the routine that the new school year brought with it, I was a bit nervous to drop them off today and yesterday […]

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{Back to School} Supplies

August 20, 2014

I’ve been talking a lot about back to school supplies this week, and for a good reason – school starts soon! Are you ready? I have quite the list of items to purchase this year. I am shopping for two in 8th grade, one in 7th, one in 5th, and two in 2nd grade. Shopping […]

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It’s Your Birthday

August 12, 2014

Hey Noah, I’m not sure how it happened, but you are now SEVEN years old, and today we celebrate YOU! It seems like yesterday Dad was rushing me to the hospital to deliver you. Just like so many times throughout your life, you were eager to show face. In fact, I almost delivered you in […]

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Save More with Savings Catcher

July 30, 2014

I’ve been shopping at Walmart and telling y’all all about it for quite some time. Not much has excited me more than the latest news – You can now be certain you are spending as little as possible with as little work as possible! No more scouring circulars from each store in town to compare […]

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Summer Nails with Sally Hansen Triple Shine

July 18, 2014

I love having pretty nails. So does Julia. In fact, we have quite the colorful rainbow collection of nail polish. We were both excited to try the new Sally Hansen Triple Shine Nail Color from Walmart. Of the 29 available colors, we were sent seven to try, plus a bottle of clear Top Coat to lock […]

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Archery: My New Favorite Pastime

June 22, 2014

I’ve shot guns since I was young. In fact, I bought my very first gun – a .22 rifle – when I was a teenager. My siblings and I would practice target shooting with my parents when we would hike through our property. But, I never imagined I’d take up archery. I certainly was never opposed […]

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Entertaining with Aladdin

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 […]

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#Disconnect2Reconnect :: Unplugging at the Table

March 27, 2014

Do you ever feel like technology and online social networks are taking over, robbing you of precious time with your spouse and kids? Even though being online is our livlihood, it also tends to suck the very life out of our family, on occasion. But it doesn’t have to be that way, which is why […]

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Letting Go

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 […]

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Read Across America with Dr. Seuss

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. […]

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A Real Look at an Afternoon Outing

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 […]

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#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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