Tuesday

Champions for Kids partnering with Walmart, Kellogg's, Diamond Foods for local SIMPLE Giving breakfast donations.




Ten million kids across America go without breakfast every day.
Staggering statistic, isn't it? While nine million kids receive free or reduced price lunches and breakfasts through their public school system, ten million kids who are eligible for this program just go without.

We're lucky in Dallas ISD to have received a grant providing breakfast for every single student this year. But many of the surrounding school districts are not so lucky.

SIMPLE Giving is picking up the slack.
SIMPLE Giving is a Champions for Kids program that makes it simple for everyone who can to help kids in their own community. To make sure more children can eat breakfast and stay focused in school, Champions for Kids teamed up with Kellogg's, Diamond Foods and Walmart for a SIMPLE Giving program that makes giving a breakfast, to a kid in your neighborhood who needs one, easy.

Starting this week, you can participate by donating breakfast food items at your local participating Walmart now through May 5. If your Walmart store is participating, simply purchase breakfast foods and place them in this purple donation bins at the front of the store after checkout.

Your donated breakfast items go to the schools in your district. It's that simple. The school district that collects the most donated items from a single Walmart store in its division will also receive $10,000 from Champions for Kids. And the school district that collects the most donations from a Walmart store in its region will receive $1,000 from Champions for Kids.



To see a list of participating stores and the corresponding school districts receiving that store's donations, click here.



These are my adorable little neighborhood friends, having a meal due to the generosity of others a mile from my home. I spent a super fun day with them last summer. Having a meal in the morning helps them concentrate in school, and feel more secure. These little ones go to school with my kids. They are my child's classmates, baseball team members, and playground friends. One in five kids, even in your own neighborhood, are food insecure.

I am writing this sponsored post for The Motherhood, as a part of their effort to publicize the Champions for Kids SIMPLE Giving program.

Join me for a SIMPLE Giving Twitter Party
I'll be co-hosting a Twitter Party on Thursday April 24th at 1pm ET along with @TheMotherhood and @Champions4Kids. You can RSVP here, follow me on twitter @mommyswishlist and follow the hashtag #SIMPLEgiving to answer questions, learn more about SIMPLE Service Projects, and have the chance to win prizes.

About Champions for Kids
Champions for Kids makes it simple to give children in local communities the resources they need to thrive. Helping others does not have to come in large doses. Champions for Kids seeks to ignite generational change by fostering a ‘habit of giving’ among youth and parents in America.


Mommy's Wish List Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Champions for Kids thru The Motherhood

Subscribe to Mommy's Wish List email for more ways to Help Out, or follow me on Facebook

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Monday

Retail as Art: Supporting student photographers in Dallas.



Y'all already know that I support the arts in school. A lot. So I was very excited this past month to be a part of Retail As Art, a photography scholarship competition for high school student here in Dallas.

UCR, who sponsors this program, just wrapped up their 6th Annual competition and awarded 12 scholarships to local kids. Many of these went to young photographers in the Dallas ISD, the district where my kids go to public school. One of Quinn's high school classmates, Melissa, even got her photo into the final exhibition. It was actually my favorite:



Retail As Art
Hosted by Dallas-based UCR, this annual invitational showcases the very best photographic interpretations of “Retail as Art” from DFW-area high school students. The images capture the true essence of Dallas retail, and the scholarships reward the winners and their schools for their efforts. High school students across the Metroplex are invited to enter the competition between February 5 and March 1 every year. You can see all the Retail As Art past year's winning photography here.



At the end of the competition, the winning work is displayed professionally in a Design District gallery, and all the kids and their parents are invited to a lovely gallery opening. I love to see these young artists treated like celebrities. Besides my son's friend Melissa, there were two other neighborhood kids who had work in this show. (Parents mark your calendars for your high schooler to enter next year!)

If you'd like to support this growing scholarship program, you can help underwrite Retail As Art here by making a donation.



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How to make an Easter Egg Cookie Pop Nest Basket


 Easter Egg Cookie Pop Nest Basket

Add this bright, colorful Easter centerpiece to your Easter table this year. It's a fun Easter baking and crafting project that you can do with your family. It features the adorable M&M'S® Brand Chocolate Candies Bunny Mix on Easter Egg Cookie Pops, displayed in a nest, and guarded by a fierce little bird.

We're getting to the super fun time of year at my house when we make Cascarones, Mexican Easter Eggs filled with confetti that the boys hide, find, and crack over each other's heads. This Easter Egg Nest Centerpiece is now on the "We want to make this every year, mom" list too. It'll make our dining room table so festive.

Taste of Home Magazine asked me to make an Easter Centerpiece for them. I wanted to come up with my own twist on their Easter Egg Garden Basket. This past week I was at the thrift store with my friend Elysa and ran across a $1.28 basket. It was the perfect inspiration for me to make this nest centerpiece. You'll easily find very cheap baskets at your local thrift store this time of year to make your kid an Easter basket, or this centerpiece.

I then hunted down almost everything I needed at my local grocery store including all the different MARS chocolates and candies I wanted to use, and found the rest at Michael's Craft Store. I used this week's Michael's coupon to get a deal on my purchases there.

Easter Egg Cookie Pops Recipe

This super fun Easter Cookie Pop recipe is my adaptation of a recipe from Taste Of Home Magazine's MARS Easter Sweets Cookie Garden recipe. Instead of the garden that they made (which you could easily do with flower, egg, and bunny pops) I made my Easter basket into a nest and used eggs only. I added a tiny bird that sits atop the basket guarding his eggs.

Get creative, have fun making an Easter centerpiece like this one with your family!



Prep Time: 15 min.
Bake Time: 10-12 min.
Decoration Time: 30 min.
Difficulty: Moderate
Yield: Makes 16 cookies

Ingredients:
1 Roll (18 oz.) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 Cup prepared white frosting
Assorted food coloring
1 1/2 Cups assortment STARBURST® Brand Jellybeans, M&M'S® Brand Milk or Dark Chocolate Candies Bunny Mix, M&M'S® Brand Chocolate Speckled Eggs and DOVE® Chocolate Eggs
12 Lollipop sticks (available at arts and crafts stores like Michael's)
Medium size cookie cutters in Easter shapes (I used an egg shape)

Materials for Basket Display:
Small basket (I found one at the thrift store)
Styrofoam or green floral oasis (I got mine at Michael's)
Easter grass (I used brown for my "nest")
Sticks gathered from outside and hot glue
Tiny bird, optional



Directions:
1. According to the directions on the cookie dough package, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness.
2. Using your favorite cookie cutters, press out cookies from each shape.
3. Press the lollipop sticks into the bottom half of the cookie cutout.
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven.
5. Cool the cookies. (Tip: If your cookie dough spreads when it bakes out of shape, you can use a fine cheese grater to shave the edges and sculpt your cookie to a perfect egg shape once it's cooled)
6. Color the frosting with a variety of food coloring. Frost the cookies and press on assorted STARBURST® Jellybeans and M&M'S® Brand Chocolate Candies Bunny Mix.

Making your Nest Easter Basket Centerpiece:


1. Set the styrofoam in the basket and cover with Easter grass.
2. Arrange the cookie pops by pressing the sticks into the styrofoam.
3. Decorate the grass with a sprinkling of M&M'S® Speckled Chocolate Eggs and DOVE® Chocolate Eggs.
4. Clip or glue your tiny bird on top of the handle of the basket to guard the eggs!

Nutrition Information (Provided by MARS):
Calories per serving 228
Total Fat 10 g
Saturated Fat 3 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 10 mg
Sodium 177 mg
Carbohydrates 33 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 19 g
Protein 2 g
Vitamin A 0%DV
Vitamin C 0%DV
Calcium 0%DV
Iron 0%DV

About MARS Recipes
You can find this and other inspirational and creative MARS chocolate recipes on the M&M'S® Facebook page at bakingwithmms.com. You'll find even more ideas for the upcoming holiday on my Easter Pinterest Board, including crafts for kids, recipes, printables, and more.

And, I just this weekend posted some Easter Egg Doodle Art Coloring Pages that I drew for Kid's Activities Blog, that you can download and color.






®/TM/© Mars Inc. 2014

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of MARS. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Friday

Belk's New Flagship Store at Dallas Galleria



This week Belk opened it's first flagship store in the state of Texas. At the Dallas Galleria. They're a department store known throughout the south for their Modern Southern Style and their commitment to community charities. I attended a lovely grand opening party with, gosh, what seemed like every stylish southern belle in the city.

Seeing my three favorite clothing designers all in one place was a plus for me. And I also loved the beautiful white, bright design of the store and all the artwork displayed. You'll especially love the Fossil Art Tile Wall that is next to the Fossil Handbag display.

As a Savings.com Deal Pro, I have an exclusive $10 off $30 Belk printable coupon for you to use when you go visit this, or any, Belk store. My Belk wish list is quite extensive, and getting longer every day.

The Three Brands I Most Adore Are All at Belk:
Nanette Lepore
Betsey Johnson
Eileen Fisher



Other designer brands I was excited find at Belk: 
• Michael Kors
• Kensie
• Kate Spade
• Free People
• Vince Camuto
• French Connection
• Cynthia Rowley



Belk Galleria Dallas Events
There's an amazing list of upcoming events at this new Belk store at the Dallas Galleria, including the Beauty Live Event this weekend, and an upcoming Girls Night Out Event next week!

Beauty Live
April 12 – 13
Expert Beauty Panel (11 a.m.): A panel of experts will share their insider beauty secrets and their ‘can’t live without’ beauty products! InStyle Magazine Style Ambassador, Tai Beauchamp, joins the panel and will share what great designer products you can find at Belk. Details.

Belk Presents Modern. Southern. Beauty. 
With InStyle Ambassador, Tai Beauchamp (3 p.m., Belk Level 1):
Discover the latest beauty trends. Learn the secrets of Southern beauty. Meet our expert guests and win fabulous beauty prizes! Details and Tickets.

Engagement Party
Sunday, April 13 from 1 – 3 p.m. (Level 3 – Home Department)
Belk offers an extensive wedding registry including products from Lenox, Tumi, Vietri, KitchenAid and more.
There will be giveaways, prizes and special offers!

Girls’ Night Out
Thursday, April 17 from 5 – 8:30 p.m. (Level 2 – Women’s Clothes)
An evening of fun, fashion and special offers for the fashion lover. Special appearances by designer Cynthia Rowley, fashion bloggers A Piece of Toast and Eleventh Gorgeous, Lucky Magazine Lucky Market Editor Laurel Pantin and more. The fashion show is at 7 p.m. More details.

About Belk
Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk, Inc. is the nation's largest family owned and operated department store company with 299 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states and a growing digital presence. Founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, N.C., the company is in the third generation of Belk family leadership and has been committed to community involvement since its inception. Each year, Belk gives a portion of its pretax income back to the communities it serves. In fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2013, the company and its associates, customers and vendors, donated more than $19 million to those communities.

Belk offers a wide assortment of national brands and private label fashion apparel, shoes and accessories for the entire family along with top name cosmetics, a wedding registry and a large selection of quality merchandise for the home.


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