Back to School with Crocs

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on August 8, 2011

Thank you to Crocs for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about Crocs’ new Back to School line. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Back to school shopping around here looks a bit different than in most households, I think. The main reason being that we go clothes shopping throughout the entire year, instead of just before school begins in the Fall. We don’t really emphasize the back-to-school trip over any others throughout the year.

Shopping for clothes and shoes, however, is always a big deal, no matter when we go. With seven kids it’s really hard to swallow a large bill upon checkout, so I am on the constant lookout for the best deals.

Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for items for your kiddos, no matter what time of the year you decide to update their wardrobe:

  • Take inventory of your kiddos’ closets and determine what it is they really need. I’ve found that when I do this, more often than not, we don’t have to purchase as much as I had originally thought.
  • Make a list of everything needed and create a budget. It’s difficult to stick to the list or budget and it’s incredibly easy to get carried away, but you’ll save tons of money if you go out with a plan and are determined to stick to the plan.
  • Set limitations and boundaries. Making it clear to the kids that only certain items will be purchased, in addition to what styles may be off limits, makes the shopping trip so much better. Do this for yourself AND your kiddos.
  • Sometimes it’s better to shop off season. One of these days I will be able to spend a few season’s budget in one shopping trip, so that I can shop the sales more effectively. We all know that shopping for last seasons’ items is always more affordable. That is when the sales are really great.
  • Shop the sales. I always look at the sales racks first. Most of the time I can find almost all of what I need on sale. Besides, it forces me to shop for the kids so they have a layered wardrobe. Remember, kids play hard and often desire to shed those long sleeves for something cooler.
  • Make it fun! While it isn’t always possible, I like to take each of my kiddos who love to shop out by themselves. At the very least, I let them choose some of the styles and colors of the items they need.

What does back-to-school shopping look like for your family?

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Toy Haul For Our Adopted Family

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on December 15, 2010

Being a Walmart Mom has it’s perks, but I have to say that I am most excited by opportunities that help us give to those in need. This month, each of the Walmart Moms were given a $100 gift card to purchase some of this year’s top toys from Walmart for a charity of our choice. I actually chose to use the gift card to help shop for a specific family – a family of soon to be TEN, no less! Follow along as we choose items for this family of mostly girls… something certainly outside of our comfort zone. While we did go over $100 just a bit, I think we did pretty well.

I have been compensated for my time and efforts to create this post and video.

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Rightcliq Makes Shopping Easy

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

I don’t know about you, but I love to shop. (Well, if I can leave the kiddos at home or shop while they’re in bed, that is!) But the holidays can be a little daunting. From hitting Black Friday sales to catching sales online, I suppose you can chalk it up to too much of a good thing. After all, how am I, a busy mom, supposed to keep track of all my great ideas? For all the members of my family?

Enter Rightcliq by Visa, a new tool that makes online holiday shopping a breeze.

Visa provided me with a gift card to try Rightcliq, so I could experience each feature available. I found it to be very fun and easy to use, from start to finish. As the kiddos and I browsed our favorite online outlets this afternoon, we were able to organize each of our “top picks” into different “bundles,” so as to keep it all straight. Little did they know that I was secretly planning to make purchases while they slumber.

If you’re looking for ways to simplify your holiday shopping, try Rightcliq with these simple steps:

  1. Enroll in Rightcliq at www.rightcliq.visa.com – compatible with the Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers
  2. Build a Wishspace – As you shop online, across any website, click to add items of interest to this virtual wish list, organizing by gift recipient into bundles
  3. Click to Purchase – Straight from your Wishspace, click to purchase any item and while you’re at it, have Rightcliq enter your payment and shipment information, and track your package right to your doorstep.

Much like Wishpot before it, this fabulous tool not only helps us moms keep it all together, but may even help YOU get what you really want this year, as well.

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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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Walmart “Open House” and Black Friday Deals

November 16, 2010

Walmart is inviting customers to their Open House to begin shopping at midnight this Black Friday for great savings on items like toys, pajamas, denim and small kitchen appliances. During these early morning hours, select stores will be handing out a few treats to to keep you going… goodies like 5 Hour Energy, candy bars [...]

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Looking for Affordable Back-to-School Clothing?

September 3, 2010

. Just before our vacation we took a trip to our nearest T.J.Maxx and boy, did we find a bunch of great deals! Parents can definitely find everything on their shopping lists, without breaking the bank. We purchased educational puzzles, games and school supply sets, but I happened to notice that many clothing items, including [...]

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Back-to-School Supplies For Less

August 20, 2010

School officially begins for us just after Labor Day, but you may have noticed that I’ve been doing some back-to-school shopping this week. My main goal has been purchasing supplies, so Walmart sent me on a little assignment… The Assignment My mission was to make a list of school supplies, purchase the same list of [...]

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Back-to-School Shopping at Walmart

August 19, 2010

I chatted with KTXL FOX 40, this morning, as I did some back-to-school shopping at Walmart. Here are some of the ideas I shared :: 1. Shop with a list to eliminate stress while shopping and also to cut down on those forgotten items. 2. The store brand items, which most often can be found [...]

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Convenient Online Shopping

May 20, 2010

I was honored to be asked to be one of the first to get an exclusive sneak peek at the new P&G eStore, the online shopping site featuring P&G brands, before it officially launched TODAY. I was given a $20 coupon code and went to town. Not literally, of course. Let me tell you, I [...]

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Buy Once. Play Forever.

February 9, 2010

Just before Christmas, we were introduced to Maukilo – a fabulous online ecommerce, featuring toys that can be enjoyed, loved, and possibly even passed down to your children’s children one day. I ended up featuring the Automoblox in my gift guide for the Holidays, because we loved them so much! Maukilo has a wonderful variety [...]

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Christmas Scramble

December 20, 2009

Have you been scrambling around this weekend, like I have? With the last minute gift decisions, fantastic Christmas parties, and being sick (again), I seriously feel like if I had anything more added to my mental list of things I must do before Christmas Eve I would literally break under the weight. Although, I feel [...]

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Treat Yourself to Something Special {giveaway}

December 3, 2009

Gift cards are expected to top wish lists this Christmas season, and for good reason – the recipient can purchase whatever they desire. No more gifts that will sit in the closet, or end up re-gifted. American Express Gift Cards – one of the only universal gift card available with no fees after purchase – [...]

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Shop and Save at Borders {Giveaway}

November 24, 2009

Why wait until Black Friday? It’s time to start shopping those Holiday sales now! Borders makes finding the perfect toy or game easier for those of you who are looking for high-quality educational gifts. In fact, this week when you shop at Borders, in their new Toys and Games section, you’ll receive $10 off a [...]

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Black Friday

November 23, 2009

As I was sitting here tonight, working on my Holiday Gift Guide, I began thinking about Black Friday. Every year, for the past 10 years or so, I have headed out to brave the crowds with my sisters and mom (and sometimes even my mother-in-law or Grandma), coupons and circulars in hand, to see if [...]

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Old Navy Gobblepalooza {Win one of FIVE $50 off coupons!!}

November 20, 2009

I visited Old Navy yesterday. Okay, I didn’t just visit… The deals were unbelievable and I couldn’t help myself!! Do you think you could resist 50% off already marked down items? Yeah, I didn’t think so! Anyway, while I was there I heard all about their Thanksgiving Day only sale. Yes, Old Navy is open [...]

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Children’s Orchard

November 13, 2009

I recently had the opportunity to visit Children’s Orchard – America’s Finest Upscale Resale retail boutiques, featuring brand-name, top quality, gently used and new kid’s clothing, toys, furniture, equipment, books and accessories. I was so impressed by Roseville’s selection of items and how much I was able to purchase with my $50 gift card (courtesy [...]

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