Read to Succeed {Earn FREE Tickets to Six Flags}

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on January 20, 2011

Reading is a huge part of each school day, but the kiddos love to read on their own, too. Once the twins become a part of the story they are reading they can’t put it down. And, Julia? Well, she can devour a book in one afternoon, just like her mama! Josh isn’t quite reading chapter books yet, but he reads everything in sight and loves to sit and read short stories to his younger brothers.

Read to Succeed is a free educational program sponsored by Six Flags to inspire kids in grades K through 6 to engage in recreational reading. Children who complete six hours of recreational, nonschool-related reading are eligible to earn a free admission ticket to a participating Six Flags theme park. Even homeschooled kids are eligible! You can even earn a 20% discount in the Discovery Education Store through June 30, 2011.

To build your kiddos” enthusiasm for reading throughout the program, you can visit for resources, family activities and more.

Happy Reading!

This is NOT a sponsored post. It is my goal here at From Dates to Diapers to bring all of my valuable information… I know my homeschooling friends will especially appreciate this one!


Ben, Gizmo and the Smarty Ants

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

Ben begs me every day to let him play on the computer, my iPhone or my iPad. He and his five siblings, that is. They all have to take turns, and sometimes I just have to hide my phone and iPad, but I’m happy to let Ben play on my computer. To be honest, I’m surprised at how much he is learning as he navigates through the online world of Smarty Ants.

In addition to just enjoying his time on the computer, Ben is learning the names and sounds of the letters all on his own. Well, with the help of his Smarty Ants coach, that is. Occasionally he does need help with a game, but mostly he enjoys the stories and songs.

While Ben’s time on the computer might be limited, he takes Gizmo, his Phonics Reading Pup, along with him almost everywhere. If his Pup has been left behind, however, Ben will most likely be heard singing one of his songs.

As a teacher and mother, I love that the Smarty Ants program makes learning to read so much fun for Ben!

Welcome To SmartyAnts! from Smarty Ant on Vimeo.

Disclosure: I received a Phonics Reading Pup and a one-year subscription to to review for this post.


Hallmark Recordable Storybooks Encourage Quality Time

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

It was just about 4 weeks ago when I told y’all that I didn’t have as much time as I would like to read to my kiddos. Do you remember? Well, a whole lot changed since then, including being told I needed to stay off my feet. Boy, did that little order from my OB create a fabulous opportunity to spend some quality time with my kiddos. What do we do? You guessed it – a whole lot of reading!

That is going to change a bit, of course, when Baby arrives. But, for now, Noah loves to sit with me while he thumbs through the Hallmark Recordable Storybooks, listening to my recorded voice. We laugh and talk about the story together. Sometimes, though, Noah sits by himself and listens to me “read” the stories to him. Most always with a great big grin on his face.

I know that Noah will truly treasure these books, as he gets a little piece of his Mama while she’s busy with his baby brother!

Hallmark is all about sharing their Recordable Storybooks with my friends – Two of YOU will win your very own copy of Thank You, God, For Everything just by leaving a comment here on this post before October 20th!

Also, just as I was able to do last month, I am able to donate another 10 books to a local charitable organization. This month I have chosen to donate the books to our local pregnancy center. (Thanks to Krista for the fab idea!) I know that these books would certainly bless several families welcoming a new baby.

But, what’s more is that one of YOU will win 10 Hallmark Recordable Storybooks to donate to one of YOUR local charities! Leave me a comment telling me about the charity of your choice and why it would be important to you to donate these books to them.

Three winners will be chosen – two to receive a book for their own family and one who will donate the books to a local charity of their choice. Each will be notified by email on or around October 20th.


Story Time with Hallmark Recordable Storybooks

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

As much as I try I just don’t have time to read to my little ones as often as I would like. That’s not to say, of course, that I never read to them… I certainly do. BUT, after the second (or even third) time reading the same book, I have to call it quits.

Enter our recent favorite book – Hey Diddle, Diddle! Nursery Rhymes for Story Time. With this fabulous Recordable Storybook from Hallmark, I can read it once with my kiddos, as I record my own voice, and then they can listen to the story and read along, any time they like, even if I’m busy. The fun part? They can read it over and over on their own, as well, re-recording the story as many times as their little hearts desire. How cool is that?

The Hallmark Recordable Storybooks come in many different titles and are perfect for creating a unique gift for your own children, or even the kiddos in your life who may be far away. Great for grandparents to record for their grandchildren, and a wonderful gift for family members serving overseas to send to their own children at home.

Hallmark has given me the opportunity to share their Recordable Storybooks, not only with you, but also with a local charity. I am so excited to be able to give 10 of these fun books to our local chapter of Troops Need You. Through Troops Need You these books can be sent overseas, so daddies separated from their children can record a special story for their children as a surprise gift.

Also, two of YOU will win your very own copy of Hey Diddle, Diddle! Nursery Rhymes for Story Time just by leaving a comment here on this post before September 21st!

I just know y’all will love these books as much as we do!

Compensated post.


“All The Ways I Love You” – Recordable Storybooks from Hallmark

July 22, 2010

Visit Hallmark to find more great titles. You can also submit your own personal stories on the “Share Your Story Tab” on Facebook. I have two All The Ways I Love You Recordable Storybooks to give away! Leave me a comment here, telling me why you think the special kiddos in your life would love […]

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Borders’ Summer Reading Tip #2

June 18, 2010

This week’s tip on encouraging your young’ens to read is brought to you by HarperCollins:: Encourage your children to read books about people who are different from them. In fact, Katherine Paterson, recently named National Ambassador for Children’s Literature by the Library Of Congress and author of many award-winning books for children, including Bridge to […]

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Borders’ Double-Dog Dare Summer Reading Challenge

June 10, 2010

Even though most of my older kiddos love to read, now that summer is here and all of the neighbor kids are knocking on our door, I’m having a tough time getting them to sit still with a book. Even my younger tykes would rather be running around outside or playing on their new park […]

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Read for the Record

September 18, 2009

My love of books began at a very early age… Mom would often read to my siblings and me, and it was then that I discovered a whole new world. Through the pages of books I met amazing people, went on fantastic adventures, listened to rich conversation, and even found myself in far off places. […]

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