Friends for Life {#BlogEveryDayinMay}

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on May 5, 2013

When I began blogging almost eight years ago, I didn’t even imagine all that would come of it. How perfect my timing was. How I happened to be at the right place at the right time. Not only was it a fabulous way to stay in touch with friends, and display our familiy happenings with our loved ones, but after a very short time I was seeing, feeling, and discovering so much more. I have been truly blessed with the experiences, the opportunities, but most of all the friendships that have grown over the years.

I can not even begin to tell you how incredibly precious my blogger friends are. The amazing people who I met in a virtual world; behind a screen; online. These friends were among the first to hear that I was pregnant – again. The first to know I was happy. They were the first to listen to me ball my eyes out when I made a mistake. They were some of the first to know I was hurting.

Among these virtual-turned-real-life friends are Lori and Janice. I have spent countless hours with these two women – on Skype and the phone, during blogging trips and conferences, via email and blog posts.

Lori, better known as A Cowboy’s Wife, approached me at BlogHer in San Francisco in 2008. Well, she did a bit more than just approach me – she ran up to me, screaming, “I know you. You’re YoungMommy!” This was the first time I had been recognized. Someone recognized ME; she knew who I was. Her bubbly personality and huge smile had me hooked.

Seeing Lori grow and transform over the years has been such a pleasure. I have prayed for her, cried with her, been hurt by her, yelled at her, and laughed with her. I love her dearly and can’t wait to live closer to my Texan friend.

a cowboys wife and me

5 Minutes for Mom was one of the first first websites I found on the internet way back when. I gave my first interview with Janice, as a “mommy blogger” in 2008. She was so energetic and enthusiastic. I couldn’t help but love her passion.

And I love her more today. She has lent her ear and shoulder, on more than one occasion. We have been on the rollercoaster of life, side by side, for the last five years. We may not always agree, but we love each other in spite of our differences.

janice and me

Have you made close friends in the blogosphere? Do you have a profession of love for a blogger friend?

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7 Reasons to Write {Guest Post}

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on April 2, 2013

Writing. Does the word scare you or remind you of bad college essays? Or maybe you don’t think you can write. the only writing in your life is to help your children through their homework. If this sounds familiar, then maybe we need to rethink the meaning behind it.

Writing is an art form, but it is also another way to speak; a way to express the simplest of feelings and ideas. Take Facebook for example, that’s all about writing. But do you think of your “status” updates as work? Of course not. It’s relaxed and enjoyable (or should be, anyway) and there isn’t a whole lot of stress behind it. But guess what? You can take this same enjoyment and apply it to other writing as well.

Perhaps you are feeling a little overwhelmed with life. Maybe your tolerance level for your kids, work and house cleaning has hit its threshold. Here are seven reasons to write, how it can improve your mental outlook, and why you can’t live without it.

7 reasons to write

1. Inspiration:

There is something about the written word that evokes inspiration. Whether it’s a to-do list or New Year’s resolutions, words staring back at us make us respond. They almost force us to move, do or commit. Even if the list is long, and the chores are many, writing them down and hoping to do them can be enough to make them appear achievable. Write out your goals and act on them. Real words inspire us and our future. Make short term and long term lists and see what you can do!

2. Fends off Depression:

Ever hear how writing in a journal is therapeutic? Ever wonder if it is a bunch of malarkey? Then try it for yourself and see how amazing it is. Even writing a journal entry — to cap off a horrendous or honorable day — frees bottled-up emotions. Dr. Oz, the ubiquitous and noteworthy cardiothoracic surgeon, recommends keeping a gratitude journal. He says it’s “…a beneficial thing to approach everyday with an attitude of thankfulness.” Hey, if the doctor is saying it, perhaps he’s onto something.

3. Self-assessment Session:

We can easily become confused about ourselves because of our busy lives. What do I mean? Well, sometimes we want certain things (to lose ten pounds) only to change our mind when something else takes our attention (But, it’s only two scoops!) We lose sight of our goals. By revealing our feelings, dreams and desires in print, we not only know why we desire something, but we keep our focus on the main objective. A few minutes of writing things out prevents wasted time and misplaced priorities. Print out this list and stick it to the fridge or mirror where you can’t miss it daily.

4. Ventilation:

Anger, isolation, loneliness: these are all normal — and inevitable– parts of our lives. Though reacting to negative situations (loss of job) or whining and groaning to our buddies is a human response writing them down not only allows us to materialize what we feel, but it keeps unnecessary verbal explosions in check. When bad news comes — and it will come– go to the pen and paper … and then talk it out. And I don’t mean on Facebook, folks. Keep it to yourself this time!

5. A Worthy Notion:

In today’s age of “me, me, me” it is obvious we all clamor for worthiness. But usually, we won’t find true worthiness in others’ words. We instead have to look in our heart and know we are worthy just because we are. That’s where the truth of who we are speaks the loudest. What should you do when you’re feeling a bit invisible? Make a list of all your fabulous qualities, or attributes. Tape them to your mirror and look at it daily. It will remind you of your worth, even when you are feeling a little worthless.

6. Clarification:

Facing a big decision? Write out the facts and list the pros and cons before you make the choice. Many times, the answers in life aren’t clear. Our friends opinions — as great as that can be –can’t make the decisions for us. Write out how you feel; write out the future consequences to various decisions, reveal your heart’s desire and worst fears. Sometimes we need super x-ray vision when we can’t see straight. But by writing things out, we can focus in on what is important and weed out the distractions.

7. Creation:

Sure, some people have the gift. You know, the gift; those with the great-American novel sitting in their mind just waiting for release. But do you? If you love to read, perhaps that book is inside of you too. Feel like a horrible writer? Then work on your craft. Stephen King said in his book, On Writing, that he believes “ … large numbers of people have some talent as writers and story-tellers, and that those talents can be strengthened and sharpened.” So, keep at it. Your writing could be the spark of creativity just waiting to light the fuse of a new world.

Find a journal, a computer, a blank sheet of paper and get to work. Write out goals for the year and then write out your long term goals for ten and twenty years from now. Begin a gratitude journal, or write a simple thank you note. When was the last time you wrote one of those? Start today and who knows – your words may not only inspire you, but the entire world … and make you mentally healthier than you’ve ever been before.

Heather Spiva is a freelance writer from Sacramento, CA. She is married to her firefighter husband and has two young boys that keep her busy. When she’s not taking care of them she’s writing, or reading, and when she’s not doing those things, well … it’s hard to say. It rarely gets to that point. She just released her first book this year, a middle grade/young adult book called The Puzzle Master. Visit her blog for more information www.heatherspiva.com or to Amazon.com and find it there – It’s only 99 cents for the Kindle version!

Image courtesy of Surachai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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“We all have stories…”

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on January 9, 2013

When I first began blogging nearly seven years ago, it was assumed that I was writing about every minute detail – sparing none. I was asked almost daily why I would want to put our “whole life” out there for any and all to read. I have always wanted to be real and transparent, not only in this space but also in real life, but there was much I didn’t tell.


I’ve never been afraid to share what’s going on in my world, and what’s on my heart. Over the years I have shared about being heartbroken over leaving 2 year-old Ben at Target all alone, the CPS visit we received after a report was filed in our neighborhood and, of course, our life-changing decision to enroll our four oldest kiddos in a public charter school, after always believing I would teach them at home.

But, there are stories that were never told.

What began as a love for expressing parts of our story in words became a drive to just share. To share my fears, failures and mistakes as a wife, mom, and friend, as well as my joy, triumphs, and answered prayers. I remember hoping that even just one overwhwhelmed mom or dad would happen upon From Dates to Diapers and be encouraged by a real mom who’s been there. That this one person would read my real stories and know they are not alone.

From Dates to Diapers has gone through some major tranformations since it’s birth. You will find the story of our beginning. You will see us grow and change. You will understand how much I love and adore my husband and how important our marriage is. You will rejoice with us through the arrival of our fifth, sixth, AND seventh child. You will read as I process through many different feelings and emotions. You will even travel with us to some fabulous places.

But, there is still more to be told.

I feeel like most recently our personal and family stories have been overwhelmed with the business that grew of this blog without warning. Blogging ceased being a creative outlet for me, it no longer held it’s mysterious appeal of putting my thoughts in to words. While I never wrote a word I did not believe, I stopped writing about what was on my heart and wrote only when I felt I had to. I wrote simply to fulfill contracts and deadlines, and I lost my voice somewhere along the way.

I sorely miss expressing myself in words. I’m ready to tell you my stories.

I am ready to take back my blog.

Will you join me on my continued journey as a woman, wife, mother, and friend?

P.S. I do have a few prior commitments, so you will see some sponsored posts over the next few weeks, in addition to my Walmart Moms posts, as I fulfill my obligations. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being so supportive in either case!

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“The World’s Most Powerful Social Media Influencers to Treat and Pamper”

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on August 25, 2012

The internet is all atwitter with this newest list of “top mom bloggers.” I will admit that it IS one of the most complete, unbiased lists I’ve seen in quite some time, and I am flattered to be listed among many of my blogging idols. HOWEVER, the article in which the list is included is just downright insulting, not to mention one in which bad advice is dispensed to marketers and companies.

And, it hit a nerve with me.

As a Social Media Influencer, I am offended that anyone would insinuate that I am willing to work for free, or a “chance to win a prize”. Unfortunately, articles like this are making it more difficult for us to be respected as business-women. It’s giving license, in a way, to PR reps and business owners to send us more ridiculous pitches. Not to mention, demeaning our place in the world of social media.

I understand that many see articles such as these that list our blogs as being free advertising, and I think that’s great. I have nothing against this list. It is the information that came before this list. I am pretty sure that most, if not all, of the listed bloggers on this newest list would refuse to work for an entry in to a contest as compensation.

We are not just silly mommies hoping to win a prize as compensation for our hard work. We work hard, sacrifice much, and devote oodles of time and energy in to our businesses. We are women who own businesses and deserve to be treated as such.

In short, I hope that anyone who comes across this list, considers it a list of strong, powerful women who deserve to be respected and treated fairly.

What are your thoughts about this list, or top lists in general? Do you think they are good for our community and help advance our businesses, or are they simply link bait schemes that cause unnecessary drama and dissension?

I have purposefully withheld the link to the article I mention. The fewer people who see it, the better.

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Bring it, Summer!

May 24, 2012

This afternoon I found myself sitting on an airplane, jetting across the country. My morning was such a flurry of busyness, and I’m really not exactly sure how I made it through the day without falling into a coma as soon as I settled in my seat, only to be awakened by the flight attendant […]

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Standing Out in the Blogosphere

May 4, 2012

Last weekend I had the great honor and privilege of speaking at the first ever Titus 2:1 Conference. Almost two years ago, my Twitter friend Cheryl had a vision and responded to God’s call to put together a blogging conference for Christian homeschool moms. After much praying, planning, and preparation she pulled together a wonderful […]

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#Blissdom ’12 In Photos

February 26, 2012

I am 10,000 feet up in the air and on my way home from Nashville. I am leaving new and old friends, but returning to my sexy husband, beautiful kiddos AND a brand new nephew! I may write a post or two about the fabulousness (and not so fabulousness) that was Blissdom. But, for now, […]

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Be A Part Of A FlashMob. Check.

August 10, 2011

There are now over 40 items on my life list. It’s a list in progress, with more must-do’s added almost daily. Some items have been checked off, while others are still a dream. I was thrilled to be able to check off one of the things I had hoped to accomplish in my lifetime. I […]

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Are You Interested in Being a Guest Blogger on From Dates to Diapers?

July 22, 2011

I’m not sure if it’s due to the hot weather, having a baby in the house again after so long, or just plain bloggy burn-out, but I have no desire to write these days. It could possibly be because of the fact that we have been going through a lot lately as a family – […]

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Type-A Parent Conference :: Take Aways

July 5, 2011

It seems like I just returned from quaint Asheville, where the Type-A Parent Conference was held. Boy, was it fun. But, just like most conferences I attend, I came away with some great thoughts and ideas. And, new friends, too. This was the first conference that I didn’t attend alone. Well, Ray attended BlogHer with […]

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Am I Selling Out?

April 26, 2011

Why so many sponsored posts lately? Although no one has actually asked me this this question, some of you may be wondering. I actually asked myself this question as my brother and I were catching up the other day. He wanted to know how work was going and asked me about some of my recent […]

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#UBP11 :: Better Late Than Never!

April 4, 2011

It’s time to party! Okay, I know… I’m way late to this party. But, I’m ready to have some fun! For those of you who don’t know me, I am Christine – aka YoungMommy – wife to my best friend and mom to seven beautiful (and very loud) children. I began blogging when I was pregnant with Benjamin, […]

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I’ve Lost My Bloggy Groove, But I Want It Back

February 1, 2011

*Long post ahead. Please bear with me and stick it out until the end… I have a couple of questions for you.** I’ve been keeping a web log – aka blogging – for almost six years. I began writing online mainly as a way to stay in touch with one lovely friend who moved far, […]

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Mom Bloggers and Big Brands

November 14, 2009

I don’t make a habit of addressing articles in which I’ve been quoted, but I’m making an exception here. There is a story on the front page of Sunday’s Los Angeles Times – Blogging moms wooed by food firms – and I’ve allowed Ray to post his thoughts. Please weigh in and let us know […]

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How the New FTC Guidelines Affect Bloggers

October 7, 2009

Do you have a disclosure policy in place on your blog? Do you make it clear in your posts when you receive an item for review, are sent on an all-expense-paid trip, or post ads? If not, you need to make sure you begin disclosing your relationship with brands and companies beginning on December 1st, […]

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The Truth About the Walmart ElevenMoms

August 17, 2009

I’m not sure what you’ve heard about the ElevenMoms, and what we do and don’t do for Walmart, but I think it’s about time someone dispels the rumors and myths, by giving you the truth. Let me begin by saying that everything we ElevenMoms do with Walmart is optional and fully disclosed. Walmart does not […]

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The Secret’s Out :: I’m a Lifetime Mom!

August 10, 2009

This January I had the pleasure of joining a fab group of ladies on quite the adventure in New York City. None of us could tell you at the time why we were there, but now, almost seven months later, we can let the cat out of the bag! We were each chosen by Lifetime […]

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Why all the Bloggy Events?

May 5, 2009

  Yes, I have been on quite a few sponsored trips in the last few months and I am hearing all sorts of questions about them. The question that I hear most often is “What are the benefits of these events for the company and/or the blogger?” Well, first let me touch on what I […]

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Creating Buzz For Your Sponsors

March 2, 2009

Companies are seeing, now more than ever, the value in working with bloggers and those engaged in other social media avenues, such as Twitter and Facebook. With BlissDom and Mom 2.0 a mere memory and SXSW coming up next week, BlogHer seems to be the conference that is the focus of much talk as we […]

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You can make money using affiliate programs

February 7, 2009

I am often asked about how I monetize From Dates to Diapers, and how others can do it, too. I do advertise, but since I am on a panel about affiliate marketing, with Lori and Tara today at BlissDom, I would like to tell you about how I use affiliate programs to bring in a […]

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Getting My Bliss On

February 6, 2009

Bliss is joy, happiness, pleasure and delight. For many, blogging is all about bliss. What is it for you? Define it. Achieve it. Enjoy it. Be Inspired. Inspire others. This is your chance. ~~~~~~~~~~ So, I am here in Nashville, at the BlissDom conference, with some of the most influential women online today. We are […]

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I hear ya!

January 29, 2009

Wow! I knew ya’ll would have an opinion and offer help with my little bloggy identity crisis, but you really came through for me. You gave me your honest opinions in the poll, in the comments, via email, on Skype, and even in person. After hearing all of the various opinions ya’ll had (some of […]

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