It’s Game Time! Get Ready at Walmart

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on January 29, 2010

I’ve never really been a fan of football, but I’ve always enjoyed a good party. Well, Walmart is making it easy and affordable to host a BIG GAME party next weekend. In fact, they would like help you put together some really yummy goodies for your guests. Check it out… You can purchase all of the following items for as little as $44!

  • One package of Oscar Meyer meat hot dogs (8 ct.)
  • One package of Johnsonville bratwursts (6 ct.)
  • Two packages of Great Value hot dog buns
  • Two bags of T.G.I. Friday’s frozen appetizers
  • One Hormel Supreme Party Tray
  • 12” Chocolate Chunk Cookie
  • Two boxes of Nabisco Wheat Thins or Triscuit Crackers (8-10 oz. box)

game time

Visit Walmart’s Game Time page for tons of great ideas on how to bring everything together for ultimate game time fun. You can even find some interactive games and party tips. You can even create your shopping list right there on the site!

Is YOUR team playing next Sunday? Who are YOU rooting for?

Let’s get ready for some footbaaaaaaall!!

Walmart provided me with two $50 Walmart gift cards for my participation in this program.


Family Game Night

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on September 20, 2009

As fun as they are, family nights out for our bunch usually put a bit of a dent in our pocket book. Think about it – 8 movie tickets (yes, we do have to pay for Noah now!), popcorn, drinks, red licorice, and M&M’s – now, that’s quite the small fortune! Most often, these days, we will save the trips to the theater for special must-see-on-the-big-screen movies, and wait for most to be released on DVD.

Besides, spending our family nights “staying in” can be way more fun! On these much anticipated evenings, we’ll all get our jammies on, make buckets of popcorn, break out the sweets, and sprawl out on the floor in our living room. We’ll then either pull out the games, or pop in a movie, and we’re set to create an evening of fun with our kiddos. It’s totally okay if Noah hops up and wanders around a bit, the kiddos can find the bathroom themselves, Dadddy and I are way more relaxed, and our pocket book thanks us!


To help families across the country make special memories, Walmart and Hasbro have partnered together and created Family Game Night aisles, perfect for helping you put together your own Family Game Night for under $40.

Yes, you heard me right… Under $40!

Thanks to Walmart, we turned $40 into sweet fun with Candyland and the sugary sweet movie Pollyanna. In addition to our popcorn and licorice, we grabbed all the fixings for Root Beer Floats, so we could complete our Family Game Night with a sugar high. Boy, will it be fun!

Kindergarten Learning at Home

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on September 10, 2009

The great thing about having a preschooler or kindergartner at home is all of the fun activities you get to do in the name of learning! I would encourage any mom of a 3, 4 or 5-year-old not to stress too much, but to use this precious time to play and learn together, without an expensive curriculum!

preschool With my “preschoolers” I focus on the basic learning of letters and numbers. I have chosen one of each to focus on each day. This is something that can easily be done by printing out templates and allowing your little guy to color in the outlines of each, saying the sound of the letter, or counting to that number, as he colors. You can even incorporate the teaching of basic colors into this activity by choosing a specific color, as well. If you’d like to be really aggressive, throw a shape in there, too.

Like Sesame Street you will have a letter, number, and color of the day. Point out these letters, numbers, colors and shapes as you go about your day. You’ll be surprised at how many teachable moments you will discover, even after just a short time “studying”.

Here are some additional fun activities that encourages learning at this age ::

Make a batch of Sugar Cookies and let your kindergartner find the measurements (whole numbers only, at this age… you don’t want to confuse him) and help you measure the ingredients. This will enhance his number recognition. I’m sure your little guy loves to play with the dough, like mine do, right? Pick up some letter-shaped cookie cutters, roll out the dough and start cutting! Work on only a few letters at a time, maybe the letters in his first name, to start, and then the letters in your last name. Move on to two and three-letter words next. (You can use these same concepts with pretzel dough and roll the dough out in to the letter shapes. Heck, you can even get into the numbers and shapes here, too!)

If your little guy is already reading simple words, use these activities to practice what you’ve already learned. For example, ask him to grab the C cookie cutter, then the A, and finally the T. Cut out your dough and ask him what the letters spell when put together on the cookie sheet to bake.

When you need a bit of a break, set your budding student up with JumpStart or Mia computer games, instead of in front of the TV. These games are great for reinforcing simple reading, counting, and recognition skills. Sit back and take a breather!

Science could simply be planting seeds, watering them, waiting and watching for them to grow. Take advantage of the time waiting to talk about what happens when a seed turns into a flower. You can even incorporate your Bible lesson into this time by reading, reciting and even memorizing related Bible verses (Genesis 1:11 KJV “And God said , Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.”)

Another thought would be to incorporate Bible, Science and History lessons together by going through the Creation Story. Spend a bit of time talking about the first day :: talk about how darkness is the absence of light and can be scary, but we can rely on God to keep us safe. Talk about the differences between day and night. Then go on to the second day and talk about land and sea. On the third day he created the vegetation, so perhaps here you can incorporate the planting of seeds “experiment.” And, of course, when you reach the sixth day you can talk about how God made each of us special, discussing the characteristics of each individual.

Whatever you decide to do with your preschooler or kindergartner, know that she is soaking everything up just by observing and interacting with you. This is an important time in her life, but the realization that she is a child of God, who is loved greatly, is the most important lesson of all!


Save Time and Money with Menu Planning

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on September 2, 2009

After a long day with the kiddos, the last thing I feel like doing is making a decision about what to eat.  I am drained, they are hungry and McDonald’s looks, and even sounds, very tempting.  But, we don’t do that quite as much now that I menu plan.

I started to menu plan to help avoid the overspending of either take-out or grocery shopping at the last minute.  It has helped us ensure we are saving our money and are eating healthier meals.  Quite honestly, I can plan better to ensure that the kids are getting items on the menu they also enjoy!  Although, they have never complained about Ronald and friends. :)

Menu Planning is simply creating a menu for your family meals.  If you are interested in 1) preventing headaches, 2) saving your money, and 3) saving your time you may want to give it a try.

Here are a few tips to help you if you are interested in Menu Planning:

What does your family eat?
What they *actually* eat.  I have a Menu Planning Recipe Box that includes the meals my family eats the most.  This is a great resource to utilize as you are creating the meal ideas for your family and will be helpful as you plan too.  Your list will help you focus energy on the meals your family enjoys.

What is on sale?
With the list of your family favorites, look at the grocery ads to find ingredients you can prepare on the cheap.  By doing this, you are getting these items at a discount.  You will probably have items in your pantry or freezer that you can use as well (stockpiling items at low, low prices is a good thing to consider).  Your menu plan will help to prevent last minute trips to the store.

How often will you Menu Plan?
I personally plan my menu by the week, but some menu plan by the month.  Just pick a frequency that works for you and start planning.  With your list of meal ideas and grocery list of menu ingredients, creating your actual menu plan will be an easy step.

Creating your Menu Plan
Keeping a written/printed menu plan is the easiest thing to do.  Each Sunday, I create and print off our Menu Plan for the upcoming week.  I pull or print required recipes.  I then clip all recipes together and hang on the fridge for quick access when I’m ready to cook.  This step helps to execute your plan.  I can quickly look at the menu plan and get meat thawing in the fridge or bring items up from our stockpile.  So, when it’s time to cook, the prep is done and I just prepare our feast!

Menu Planning helps tremendously, but sometimes life gets in the way and I don’t prepare each meal as planned.  But, at least I have a plan in place so I don’t overspend trying to pull something together on the fly.  I feel better about what I do accomplish because at least I took the time to prepare a plan.  And, knowing I saved time, money and a few headaches makes it worth it for me!

Photo Credits

This post was brought to you by @MommySnacks. She can be found at, where she brings you great tips on saving money and how you can have fun doing it!


Homemade Play-Doh

February 18, 2009

Have you ever made Kooky Dough? This stuff will keep your kiddos occupied for quite some time on a cold winter’s day! It’s super easy to make, using only three ingredients: * 1 cup flour * 1/4 cup salt * 1/2 cup water My kiddos are able to mix it all on their own, and […]

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