Decorating for the Holidays

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on December 9, 2010

Preparing to decorate for Christmas always brings me such mixed feelings. It is so much work to pull out the boxes of decorations we have collected over the years, but I do love going through them year after year. Sifting through each box of homemade ornaments, white lights and colored lights, little nativity scenes, and garland, is sure to get us in the holiday spirit, but it’s such a conglomerate of different colors, with no real theme. That’s okay, though – I love the way the house looks decorated with items that bring so much joy as we think about all of the memories each item possesses.

I took a stroll through Walmart’s Christmas Shop, with a gift card in hand, to try to find a few new items to add to help us deck the halls. I tend to lean toward traditional colors and found a couple of great items at affordable prices.

I really like to hang wreaths… They are such a simple way to decorate. I’m thinking that this Pine Cone Wreath would bring a classic look to our front door.

Candles use to reside on our home’s every surface. Not so much anymore, being that we have lots of little pyros living with us. I like the idea of substituting wicked candles with flameless votives, especially when placed in a vase filled with cranberries or other festive fruit. No fire hazard to worry about and these little boogers can fool even the most observant guest.

Next shopping trip will result in new stockings for each member of our family. I plan to have them each personalized and, now that our family is complete, I can be sure that they will all match! What do you think of these?

Every year I purchase a new ornament for each of my children. Sometimes they represent a special event that took place during the year; sometimes they’re ornaments that just reminded me of a particular kiddo. This year I couldn’t go wrong with purchasing a couple of ornament sets.

Some day I may choose a theme for our decorations, filling our house with specific colors or some uniformity, but for now I enjoy adding little bits of goodness to our growing collection.

How do you decorate for Christmas?
Do you have a theme? Or, do you decorate as we do, with a little bit of everything?

I am a part of the Walmart Moms program and Walmart has provided me with the above mentioned gift card, as well as compensation for my time in creating this post. My participation is voluntary and opinions are my own.

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Commit a Minute to Holiday Safety

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on December 1, 2010

“Safety first,” Mimi always says. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing a game, baking cookies, enjoying a candlelit dinner, or decorating the tree, safety must always come first. It’s scary to think of all of the things that could happen when we don’t take a minute, or two, to insure we’re being safe.

A single minute could be the difference between a good day and a day spent in the emergency room. Did you know that every minute, 17 children visit emergency rooms due to unintentional injuries? Injuries are more common around the holidays – nearly 230 people will visit the emergency room each day for holiday-related injuries.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a leading independent safety organization, is calling all parents, specifically moms, to set aside time in their schedule to commit at least one minute to safety each day this holiday season. They have given us a list of things to keep in mind so we can put safety first.

Top 10 Tips for Safer Holidays

1.       Water your tree: Dry trees pose a substantial fire risk. After bringing your tree home, make a fresh cut at the base of the trunk before putting it in a sturdy stand. Be sure to water it daily. Additionally, know your trees expiration date. After about four weeks, the tree will stop absorbing water, dry out and should be discarded.

2.       Check your lights, check them twice: Inspect all of your electric lights and decorations for damage or wear. Cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires and loose connections may pose a fire or shock hazard.

3.       Plan your fire escape: Use the holidays as a good time to practice a fire escape plan with your loved ones. Identify at least two exits from every room in the house.

4.       Sleep safe, install smoke alarms: UL recommends using both types of smoke alarms in your home. Be sure that at least one smoke alarm is installed on each floor of your home, and always close to sleeping areas.

5.       Be flame aware: Always blow out unattended candles and teach your children to stay away from lit candles or fireplaces.

6.       Give wrapping paper a second life: Don’t burn used wrapping paper as it may cause intense flash fires. And throwing it out adds waste. Consider recycling or repurposing it instead.

7.       Know your lights and cords: Do not connect more than three miniature light strings together.  Also, be sure to check the rating on your extension cords and do not plug in more than the recommended wattage.

8.       Steer your tree clear: Your tree should be positioned at least three feet away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. It should also not block any doorways or exits.

9.       Decorate with a safe eye: Cords should not be run under carpets and lights should not be tacked-up with metal nails or staples. Small decorations can be choking hazards so keep them out of the reach of toddlers.

10.   Look for UL: Only use light strings and other electrical decorations that bear the UL Mark near the plug, signifying that safety standards have been met.

Will YOU commit a minute to safety this holiday season? Share how you will fulfill your commitment in the comments below, before December 15th, and you could win a $50 Visa gift card! Enter every day!

I have been compensated to bring you these safety tips, but safety is important to us, so I was happy to partner with UL this holiday season. For additional ideas and activities on how to “Commit a Minute” this holiday season, visit www.SafetyAtHome.com.

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Help End Hunger with Walmart

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on November 27, 2010

This holiday season Walmart invited customers to join them by participating in an in-store food drive. The food drive took place in all Walmart stores, just before Thanksgiving, and all donations went to support local food banks. My family and I were happy to get involved…

I was excited to hear that Walmart committed $2 billion to fight hunger, now through 2015. You can join Walmart in fighting hunger in your community – They are putting $1.5 million in our hands and we can get involved at www.walmart.com/fightinghunger

Together we can make a difference.

I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for this post and video. My participation is voluntary and opinions are my own.

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Eggland’s Best Holiday Baking Party

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on November 21, 2010

On Friday some of my best friends and I spent the entire afternoon doing one of our favorite things – baking! Eggland’s Best sponsored this fabulous baking party and we even had door prizes! We made Quiche, Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies and homemade ice cream, all with Eggland’s Best eggs. (See recipes below.)

QUICHE

Line pie pan with pie dough and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer with grated cheese, sauteed spinach, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions and diced tomatoes. Pour mixture of 6 Eggland’s Best eggs and 1/4 cup milk. Bake at 375º for 45 minutes.

VANILLA ICE CREAM

Beat 2 Eggland’s Best eggs in a large bowl until thick and lemon-colored (about 5 minutes). Add 1 cup sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Stir in 2 3/4 cup half & half, 1 tablespoon vanilla and 1 cup whipping cream and pour in to ice cream canister. Follow manufacturer’s directions. Makes 2 quarts.

CRANBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES

This post is sponsored by Eggland’s Best.
I received monetary compensation for my participation,
but my review and opinions are my own.

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Homemade Treats Make Great Gifts

November 12, 2010

My family and I make lots of goodies during the Holiday season – Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Pumpkin Cake and Fudge are just a few of our favorites. Baked goodies are not only extremely yummy, but they also make great inexpensive gifts for neighbors, family members and friends, especially when packaged up nice and […]

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Holiday Baking with Eggland’s Best

November 3, 2010

It’s November and with November comes the beginning of the Holiday rush, with Thanksgiving right around the corner and Christmas soon to follow. I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but this time of year brings lots and lots of baking for the Youngs. Boy, do I look forward to the […]

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Christmas, a Trip to the Dump, and a New Dog?

December 28, 2009

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve posted giveaways every day of this last week…. I hope you had a chance to enter each one. Even with all of my giveaways, I’ve been taking a vacation, of sorts. A bloggy vacation. But, boy… Have I been busy! Our Christmas was such a wonderful and joyous celebration. […]

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A Snapshot of a Date

December 23, 2009

It’s not very often that Ray and I get a picture taken of the two of us together, so when one is snapped it is cherished! This picture was taken by Marie Young, on our date at the #HoliTweetUp, last week. Good times! Visit more Wordless Wednesday participants at 5 Minutes for Mom and Extraordinary […]

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Walmart’s Holiday Meal Deal {$30 Gift Card Giveaway}

December 21, 2009

Are you all set for this week’s big meal? Well, Walmart has good news for moms seeking to save money without sacrificing holiday cheer – a Christmas meal to feed eight, for under $30 (that’s less than $4 per person)! I was a little skeptical when I heard this, but with the following menu it […]

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Play and Learn

December 11, 2009

I have many fond memories of this time of the year, growing up…. With so many family gatherings and school group activities, we were much busier than usual. Because of the hustle and bustle, it seemed we took many days off of school between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sure, we were still learning, but they were […]

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Thankful

November 26, 2009

I have so much for which to be thankful… A loving Savior A wonderful family Fabulous friends – You Health, laughter, and peace I am simply bursting with thankfulness! I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. Psalms 69:30

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Merry Madagascar {a giveaway!}

November 17, 2009

One of my biggest holiday pet peeves is that Thanksgiving seems to be overlooked. Even television specials are beginning before the day when we give thanks for that which God has blessed us. Last year, I didn’t even publish my Christmas Gift Guide until after Thanksgiving because this bothered me so much, but I suppose […]

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Dancing Sugar Plums, Already?

October 31, 2007

I love everything about the Christmas season – carols, decorations, Christmas cards, baking, and shopping. But, I also love Thanksgiving – reflecting how truly blessed I am, baking, anticipating a large family meal, a warm fire and pumpkin pie. I don’t remember hearing Christmas carols on the radio on Halloween last year, do you? What […]

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