At Enchanted Fairies sharing holiday magic isn’t just at Christmas time, but all year round for non-profit Kidd’s Kidds and when your family shares in the fun.
Thanks to Enchanted Fairies and Kidd’s Kidds for sharing this special experience with mamachallenge.com with this sponsored post.
I love the holidays for many reasons, but seeing the good in people like the Angel Tree, hearing stories of paying off layaways or giving anonymously to organizations in need, always warms my heart and brings tears to my eyes. So when Kidd’s Kidds invited to me to go behind-the-scenes to see how one of their biggest donors, Enchanted Fairies, goes beyond Christmas time to give and create once-in-a-lifetime experiences for kids with life-altering/life-threatening conditions, I was there with bells on (and so were the kids!)
I actually had been to Enchanted Fairies when my daughter was younger to have her own Enchanted Fairies portraits done for grandma. So I *thought* I knew what to expect when I was invited to share in a special experience at Enchanted Fairies with two special children from Kidd’s Kidds – Avery (age 9) and Mason (age 7).
Both of these beautiful children (and Mason’s sister) had just a few months ago, had traveled with Kidd’s Kidds trip to Walt Disney World (also funded through donations from Enchanted Fairies) and on this special day would be transported – to a beautiful storybook experience captured forever with a picture!
Watching them be kids and in the middle of the moment – with all the efforts focused on them – was truly magical for me. Especially at the holidays, when often the real purpose of the season…giving and living life the most and the best that you can, isn’t always what is celebrated. But today it was — and at Enchanted Fairies, whether you have are a 9-year old, a little girl with a Brain Tumor and Posterior Fosse Syndrome or a 7-year old with Nephrotic Syndrome, you can feel like you are the center of the universe.
As of today through their tireless efforts, Enchanted Fairies has:
- Raised $ 600, 319.14
- Photographed 19, 562 families
- Fed 403 ,137 people
The photo session in itself is much more than getting the perfect shot. Daniel, the owner, really knows how to allow kids to be themselves and capturing the heart and minds of children. The “oh my” opportunities with special props and little “tricks” allows children to relax and let go, so every picture taken comes out as your favorite. Trying to narrow down your favorites is nearly impossible as each look, expression, and interaction really makes the experience as memorable for you as it is for them.
My daughter is definitely going to love her holiday treat when I bring her back for her grand treatment fulfilling her dream as a mermaid! And if you act fast, there are a few appointments left for the Christmas session.
With just a $25 donation to Kidd’s Kidds, every session at Enchanted Fairies includes access:
- Enchanted Wardrobe and accessories
- Signature handcrafted props and wings
- Storybook set including fairies, mermaids, and right now Christmas!
- 20 minute photo session
- One limited edition 10″ Signature Fairies Portrait
Keep the strength of these children moving as well as the amazing work of Kidd’s Kidds but enjoying your own Enchanted Experience!
So many toys, so little time! Here’s your annual holiday helper – THE Holiday Hot Toys for your kids this Christmas. And we’re playing Santa too – with some big giveaways!
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there..”
Hey, don’t kid yourself, even Santa had help even if this poem doesn’t give any credit to the elves.
So consider us your elves and we aren’t looking for any credit either. Here’s your list of hot holiday toys – just in time for you to get them under tree, along with those stockings stuffed. But here at mamachallenge.com have taken it one step further…these gifts are made to make kids play and may even remind you of toys you had growing up. We’ve done some work to find toys that are fun and educate kids while also making them use their imagination. Most of these you won’t see an device needed to make them work or a screen to keep them on for hours. These toys are meant for play, activity, thinking and good ole family time.
Treemendous Ornament Activity
TreeMendous Ornament, Treemendous fun! This patent pending design to let children ages 6 and up to personalize their own ornament. Treemendous is a perfect present because it is an ideal activity to do with grandparents, friends, siblings and parents alike. Boys and Girls alike will embrace the holidays season by making their very own handmade ornament. Sure, to become a family treasure for years to come.
The Sleepover Party Game
Endless Games sleepover party game break out the sleeping bags and leave the lights on. It’s a sleepover party and wear staying up late! Spin the spinner and attempt to complete one of over 200 act It, work it, or party challenges. Be the human mirror and copy everything another player does! Take part in the “Funny sound competition” and make the most ridiculous noise you can!! Try to lick your own elbow!!! Being silly and having fun is The name of the game at this sleepover, so be prepared to sing, laugh, perform, and make a general fool of yourself! Don’t fall asleep early, or you’ll miss out on earning the most cards and staying up all night!
Road Trip the Family Game
It’s a family game that is really for the whole family! Roadtrip could be played in the car, but you can play it for any great game night. This is a well-made game that has won all the toy awards including the Sterling Fun Award Winner, The Toy Man Seal of Approval, The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval and many more.
Welcome to Tiki Island, home to nine colorful carvings all competing to be the top Polynesian Idol! In this fast-paced strategy game, try to maneuver your secret tikis to the top of the line by playing the right combination of action cards. Use a Tiki Up card to move a tiki ahead in line. Tiki Topple sends opponents’ tikis tumbling to the back of the pack. But watch out for the sneaky Tiki Toast cards, which knock your tikis off the board! Score the most points and call yourself the Tiki Master.For 2 – 4 players, ages 10 and up.Contents: 55 cards, 9 custom tiki pieces, 4 playing pawns, 1 game board and instructions.
One of America’s oldest doll companies and have delighted parents and children for over 102 years with our wonderful dolls. Baby’s First Kisses can be easily cleaned and always ready for play – they are Hypoallergenic and MACHINE WASHABLE! The adorable baby doll kisses pleasantly when her soft tummy is squeezed. Helps children develop large motor skills, while stimulating their senses of sight, sound and touch. Great size for babies 1+, toddlers – easy to hold, carry, squeeze and love. Remove the Kisses mechanism from the smart “sanity” pocket and she is ready for the washing machine!
Kenya Dolls is the oldest and most loved ethnic brand in the toy market celebrating 25 years of growing up proud. Kenya’s roots trace back to Dallas, there are several versions to love, but the stand out of this toy is her authentic hair. Whether curly and short, long and natural, or braided and beaded, Kenya truly represents every black girl’s stylish locks.
Insect Lore Deluxe Butterfly Garden Gift Set with Live Cup of Caterpillars Habitat
Watching the butterfly life cycle up close is more fun than ever with the Butterfly Garden Gift Set with live cup of caterpillars. Exciting butterfly-themed bonus items make this butterfly-raising kit the perfect gift! feed and observe your very own beautiful butterflies for a few days before releasing them into the wild! the entire transformation takes about three weeks, depending on the temperature and humidity in your area. There is no need to feed your caterpillars; all the nutritious food they require to become beautiful butterflies is included in their cozy cup.
Project MC Perfume Maker
Project Mc2 is a team of super-smart and seriously cool girls who use their love of science and their spy skills as they go on missions for secret organization, NOV8 (that’s “innovate”!). They’re real girls with real skills ready to take on anything. Watch new episodes of the Project Mc2 original series, only on Netflix!
Adrienne Attoms’ next mission is to use her cosmetic chemistry skills to formulate the perfect look for saving the world. Formulate your own perfumes with Project Mc2 Perfume Maker. Now you can perform this same cool S.T.E.A.M. experiment at home using just household items again and again. Pretty brilliant!
An award-winning educational toy, Orboot is a no-borders globe that connects with the fun and interactive Orboot app. Explore the world with 400+ highlights and 1000+ cool facts across 6 categories – cultures, cuisines, monuments, inventions, animals and maps (national and state boundaries of countries). A STEM toy that sparks the imagination and creativity, Orboot encourages the little ones to explore and discover on their own. It builds knowledge as well as develops linguistic and cognitive abilities in the process.
LEGO® Creator 3-in-1 Treehouse
Enjoy imaginative pirate adventures with this LEGO® Creator 3-in-1 Treehouse Treasures set, featuring a 3-level pirate ship treehouse with a ship deck, ship’s wheel, treasure chest hideaway function, bowsprit with flag and teddy bear, crow’s nest, tire swing and an upper-level den. Pirate accessories include a hat, telescope and 2 swords. This 3in1 model rebuilds into a Pirate Ship or a Skull Cave for more pirating fun, and includes 2 minifigures rigged out for pirate adventures, plus a scary spider figure.
BrickHeadz Luke Skywalker™ and Yoda™
These LEGO® BrickHeadz™ Luke Skywalker™ & Yoda™ construction characters are fun to build using LEGO bricks that recreate all their iconic details, including Luke’s Lightsaber™ and Yoda’s pointy ears and cane. The master and apprentice each stand on a buildable collector’s baseplate for easy display in your home, office or any planet you like. Buildable Luke Skywalker™ & Yoda™ LEGO® BrickHeadz™ construction characters feature decorated eyes and authentic details from the original blockbuster Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back movie, including Luke’s Lightsaber™ and Yoda’s pointy ears and cane.
Snap Circuits Bric Structures
Combine SNAP CIRCUITS with ordinary building bricks and make endless combinations of construction and circuitry. With Bric-2-Snap technology, kids can wire up their brick builds with SNAP CIRCUITS lights, sounds, moving parts and 3-D circuits to invent almost anything and make it go! Instead of just building a structure, learn how to build the circuit that makes the lights in a skyscraper illuminate or that makes the gears on a drawbridge move! There’s no limit to what kids can create.
HEXBUG BattleBots Arena Pro
It’s robot fighting time! Modeled after television’s hit series BattleBots, comes the HEXBUG BattleBots Arena Pro. With over 100 possible configurations, BattleBots fans can experience the excitement that comes with engineering your very own fighting robot. This set includes one arena and two customizable Build Your Own BattleBots.
Tudor Games Deluxe Electric Football Game
Set your plays and watch your teams do battle on this 32″ x 16″ SpeedTurf metal vibrating NFL gridiron with the Deluxe Electric Football Game! The PlayAction remote control places the fate of your offense in the palm of your hand, with its on-board variable speed control. Both offensive and defensive players are outfitted with all new Invisibase Cleat technology, sending your players where you want them to go. The all new PlayAction remote control places the fate of your offense in the palm of your hand, with its on-board variable speed control. Offense? Set! Defense? Set! Slow down the play with your PlayAction remote to see your blockers in action as the play develops. Got a man wide open downfield? Gaping hole in the defensive line? Shift into high speed and accelerate your team to victory!
Dynacraft Realtree 24V UTV
Your little one will love zipping around the neighborhood on this Dynacraft Realtree 24 V UTV, which features working headlights and suspension springs for a smooth ride. The dual seats make it easy to bring a friend along, and a built-in rack offers convenient storage space. A working steering wheel and foot pedal allow realistic use, and an MP3 input makes it easy to enjoy songs and music during the ride.
READY TO WIN?
Enter now for this Realtree UTV today! Enter to win more of the MAMACHALLENGE HOT HOT HOLIDAY TOY LIST!
We all love summer, but when the sun’s beating down on your back, sometimes you need to head for the A/C. Here’s our guide to Indoor Things To Do in DFW with the Kids. (And we’ve got the secret to get you into many of them!)
I love Texas but there are days when you just can’t do one more day outside. That’s when you head back into the precious sanctuary of air-conditioning, however, you still have to keep the words “I’m Bored” from being uttered. So here are some of our favorite ways to escape the heat (and some giveaways to boot!) Plus see our secret how you can get into many of them with one pass and save money all at one time!
1. Texas Discovery Garden & Butterfly Garden – Dallas
Kids love the 2-story Butterfly House where tropical butterflies dance around.
2. Crayola Experience – Plano
They have a playground, puzzles, and coloring galore! Plus, some fun shows and activities that will keep the kids busy all day. (Use the code AUTUMN and get a discount!)
3. SeaLIFE Aquarium – Grapevine
This aquarium is so good, you won’t believe you’re in a mall. I’m talking sharks, rays, seahorses, and more!
4. Lego Discovery Center – Grapevine
Kids can race LEGO vehicles, watch 4D movies, and build tall towers on their Earthquake Tables! Talk about an indoor adventure.
Museums and Art
5. Amon Carter Museum – Fort Worth
Head to the museum on Thursdays from 10:30-12 for artmaking, art discovery, and story time!
6. Fort Worth Museum of Science & History – Fort Worth
This museum has stuff for both you and the kids! Check out their 9-11 Tribute while the kids head over to the Children’s Museum where they can play all day.
7. Perot Museum – Dallas
If you haven’t been to Perot, you need to go! There’s so much to do you can’t cover it in one day and with changing exhibits there’s something to do for the kids (and the adults!)
8. Gold Exhibit at Dallas Museum of Art – Dallas
Let’s be honest, we like shiny things just as much as our kids do. Go check out all of the fabulous things made from gold at the DMA’s newest exhibit.
9. Painting with a Twist – DFW
Painting with a Twist is totally kid-friendly now! Check out the nearest classes to your neighborhood.
10. Board & Brush – DFW
Canvas isn’t all you’ll paint on at Board & Brush. In fact, they prefer, you guessed it – BOARDS!
11. Front Porch Pottery – Fort Worth
Let the kids get messy and create a masterpiece. Surely you need a new whatchamacallit for your bathroom counter, right?
12. Sunshine Glaze – Southlake
Paint a plate (or any of the other fun ceramics) for memories and fun at this beloved venue! Don’t miss the theme days too for indoor painting fun!)
13. Top Golf – DFW
Because sometimes you just want your kids to get really tired so you can sleep through the night.
14. iFLY – DFW
For the kids that love a thrill, and parents that like to give themselves a minor heart attack.
For those REALLY hot days that you need a serious cool down.
16. Urban Air – DFW
This place has a Warrior Obstacle Course, TUBES Playground, and a Battle BEAM. But don’t worry, it’s safe…
17. Flight Deck Trampoline Park – DFW
There are literally trampolines everywhere at this place. No fluff but the kids love it.
18. National Videogame Museum– Frisco
This little slice of nostalgia is just as much for you as it is the kids. Did someone say Burgertime?
19. Free Play – Arlington/Richardson
Just pay $10 to get in then let them play all day! They have over 95 games.
20. Alley Cats – Arlington
Bowling, games, rock climbing, and air conditioning – what more do you need?
21. Main Event – DFW
Old faithful never really gets old!
22. Dave and Busters – DFW
Fun for the whole family! Let them play their games while you grab a bite to eat and maybe a well-deserved glass of wine.
23. ItZ – Euless
Bowling, an arcade, and a pizza buffet will literally keep the kids distracted all day.
24. EpicWaters – Grand Prairie
This place is massive and brand new! Come here once and your kids won’t want to leave!
25. Great Wolf Lodge – Grapevine
If you’re in need of a staycation, this is the place to go! Plus it’s a one-stop shop with activities, restaurants, and a place to lay your head while the kids are running around with their magic wand (plus parents love it, too.)
26. The Escape Room – Grapevine
This one’s for your older kids who love figuring out puzzles!
27. Escape This – Dallas
They’re rated #1 on Yelp for Escape rooms for kids for a reason – great customer service and challenging scenarios.
There are lots of fun things you can do to beat the heat this summer. If you want to try a few, I HIGHLY recommend you grab a POGO Pass so you can get 12 months of free access to participating venues around DFW. (Affiliate partner.)
Be sure to use Promo Code: MAMACHALLENGE at www.pogopass.com for 60% off!
When’s the last time you played with your kids? Forget the sidelines because Mom Needs to Play!
Thanks to The Crayola Experience and Dunkin Donuts for partnering with mamachallenge for some great giveaways.
When is the last time you “played” with your kids?
Not just watched them but played with them?
Studies show that moms that play with their kids vs. just managed, monitor, or act as the organizer are happier as individuals. And a bonus: seeing mom at play (and happy doing it) also creates a stronger bond with the kids to see you be happy.
Science also shows that the more productive and creative moms at play initiated the release of dopamine, the chemical that actually makes you happy.
Happy Mama, Happier Family.
Now this doesn’t mean you aren’t the parent, it’s more that you are involved in the process rather than administer it all the time. I remember as a kid, going swimming meant your parent watched you swim. And as a parent, I’ve done the same thing, but my kids have asked, can’t you go swimming with us? That’s parenting gold – simple request for such a simple thing to make them happy and it’s exercise!
Another poll asked kids what invention they hated most and the #1 answer was cell phones because their kids were always on them! That says a lot, right?
I actually asked my Facebook friends what’s something they loved as kids and quit doing as adults. The list filled up quick – with tons of things they loved doing and hadn’t done in years. But almost every one of them couldn’t be done with the kids.
More Ideas on this Topic:
So what are you waiting for?
100 Ways to Get Out There and Play Printable
Playful Giveaways – Enter to Win
About the Crayola Experience
Explore the Crayola Experience at The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano, Texas is where the magic of Crayola comes to life! Let your creativity run wild, color outside the lines, learn, explore and learn. This is an attraction the whole family can enjoy a colorful adventure for a child (and an adult’s) imagination!
The Crayola Experience in Plano is giving away four passes to get you in the colorful mood!
About Dunkin Donuts
What do you not know about Dunkin Donuts? It’s What America runs on. From coffee, to donuts and everything in between Dunkin Donuts make is your one spot for sweets, treats, and breakfast eats!
Dunkin Donuts is making it even easier to celebrate National Donut Day by sharing a $50 gift card with one special mamachallenge reader.
Are you at that place that your life just needs a big purge? It’s not easy to clean out the crap, but the process is necessary to get to the best parts of you.
Thanks to spa810 Uptown for helping us all to to clean it up and make it better with this giveaway!
At the end of 2017, I counted down the days for change.
I was ready to climb out of my skin and try on something different for 2018.
It so needed to happen.
I don’t know how I thought that was gonna happen without work. And let me tell you it’s been work.
The name of my game in 2018 has been PURGE.
I think HOARDERS should’ve kept a camera on me for the last few months as I’ve cleaned out one house; getting rid of 12 years of stuff we’d accumulated in the only home my family has ever lived in. Then in just over a weekend moving into a brand new house (<——see that’s house not home) that while it says it’s bigger, I cannot understand for the life of me how we have so much stuff STILL. So the purging continued and continues today (there are so many boxes that I’m still not going to show.)
What I found out with each piece is that it isn’t just stuff, but I had wrapped up memories in every single article. When pulling out something out of the box, my reactions seemed so vivid of the memories that you would have thought they happened yesterday. And man it was just a wine glass…You should have seen the tears roll down when I pulled out the first onesie I bought my daughter. That was drama.
So needless to say, it was hard for me to purge. And I’m still not even done.
I think there’s something like 20 boxes left and several of them ready to go when I finally find a way to get rid of the stuff (hey, some of this crap is brand spanking new!)
But the purge wasn’t just stuff around the house.
The purge needed to be me – inside and out.
All the crap in my head that I was believing about myself – it needed to shutdown.
“You’re not good enough”
“You’ll never be anything”
“You have’t done your part”
“You aren’t good enough”
“Your so ugly”
“Your body is so ugly.”
Those statements were like a shuffle and repeat.
So like many women, I began to believe them. And when you do that, it’s true – no matter what anyone else says.
I just wanted to roll up in a ball in the closet, but unfortunately the new house didn’t have any shelves yet so all the clothes were on the floor so there wasn’t any room to roll up so I got that much more upset.
I don’t tell you this to pity me, I tell you this because I know I’m not the only one. And so many others I know are going through this same feeling. A need for change, a need to clean up all that crap in my head, in my heart, and for me, all that crap sitting around my new house.
Want to know the moment I woke up?
It was when my son asked if we could just move back home because this place felt so empty. And he was right. Nothing was on the walls, Home Depot boxes strewn everywhere two months later, and a mom who couldn’t make turn the page to this brand new chapter of our life.
Oh where did I go wrong.
It was so past time to clean up my crap – mentally and physically.
But like the purging, it wasn’t going to be easy. Like an onion, I was going to have to pull off all the layers, one piece at a time.
I hadn’t been nice to me lately so even though I know water was everything, I was dry. And washing my face, whatever. Looking at the mirror, I felt like I had aged 10 years over the last 6 months. You could see it in my eyes, you could see it in my new gray hairs and you could see it in my skin.
Who was the woman in the mirror?
So it was time to remember.
I booked an appointment to spa810 Uptown to not just get a good cleaning. And not just a facial but HydraFacial MD with a NIR Skin Tightening, Lymphatic Drainage would help the purge make a bigger difference.
So of course, you’re asking what’s the difference between a facial and a Hydrafacial?
At spa810 you can score a great facial with ultra sonic exfoliation treatment, lip plumping treatment, an eye treatment to address fine lines and dark circles, a neck and shoulder decollate massage, and a brow wax and shape.
Not so bad, right? And at less than $100 it’s a great deal.
But a Hydrafacial?
Basically you get all the facial results like cleansing, extractions and even an acid peel all from this little tool that sounds kinda like a motorized toothbrush that slices, dices, and julienne fries…Sometimes it’s vacuuming, sometimes it’s adding serum and collagen to the face, it’s rather amazing all of these actions happening with one machine.
It’s a four-step process and when you’re done, you get to see all the crap they pulled from your face (nothing like seeing that to remind you to wash your face at night!)
Cleansing and exfoliation
And then you’re ready to roll – in just about 30 minutes and without a huge red face that makes you want to roll into a ball again (which is exactly what I didn’t need to be doing!) The service wasn’t just fast, but they made me feel relaxed immediately and explained every step throughout the process, so I didn’t feel hurried, but I could get what I needed done in a lunch break.
I also added on the Lymphatic drainage (yep, getting out more of the fluid and junk in my skin) and skin tightening (felt a lot like a sonogram on my face), but I’ll take it to make things kinda go back where they’re supposed to.
Take a look at all of this (if you like that kind of stuff.)
So did getting a HydraFacial Sculpt fix everything?
No it didn’t. But it did make me take care of myself which was the first step in my mental purging process. And my skin did feel a lot better, so I could head off to Beverly Hills to have drinks with Lisa Vanderpump and dinner with Taye Diggs.
That’s an improvement, right?
So if you need a nudge to get your purging process I’d suggest you get moving in the right direction at spa810 in Uptown Dallas. And right now with so many Mother’s Day specials going throughout the month of May, you can get the same treatment I received at more than half off (just $149.) You can also get a massage with either a skin-tightening treatment or a trip to the Alpha-Fusion Pod for less than $100. So that’s something to celebrate.
And a one lucky reader will get to celebrate even more with a $50 gift certificate to use at spa810 in Uptown.
Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7-11, but it shouldn’t end there. Join SONIC in making a bigger impact to help our teachers through Limeades for Learning. Plus help give directly to a teacher in need!
Thanks to Sonic for this opportunity to give back to our teachers and this giveaway.
I remember in 5th grade my teacher Mrs. Simms awarded a few students (including me) for a job well done with a trip to Sonic for tots and an ice-cold Cherry Limeade.
I still remember how proud I was that day.
From that point forward, Cherry Limeades would become the signal of other big milestones, some good and some bad, but the limeade was about helping to get me to the next big thing. And with each sip I was propeling myself towards being better, doing better, and recognizing when I done a job well done.
Turns out Cherry Limeades do that for a lot of people.
They taste good, but they also make them feel good, and also say job well done. Funny how just that styrofoam cup can do so much…just ask any teacher whose PTA brought in Limeades to say THANK YOU. Next week several volunteers plan to load up and do exactly that (and much more too) with activities to say “Teacher, You are a Star.” It’s a nice thing to do and the kids love it as well!
But you know what? Why stop there. Especially when teachers are still working throughout the year, including summers, with less-than-average pay and even chipping in more than $500 of their own money for supplies to make their classrooms better for our kids. So in 2009 SONIC has stepped up to the plate to help public school teachers do more with a little help, like $3 million dollars a year in help.
SONIC’s Limeades for Learning then teamed up 10 years ago with DonorsChoose.org to not only get them help for specific projects but also initiate donations on the smaller level that can make a BIG difference. More than $95 million to public school teachers nationwide has been funded by this partnership to get teachers what they need to teach and students the vital items they need to learn.
Here in Arlington there are several different projects like:
- Mrs. Adger-Barton who is hoping to get money for LEGOs to help teach STEM education in her school.
- Ms. Kilgore who is looking to get fresh school supplies for the new school year.
- Ms. Sanson who hopes a book cart and stools will help encourage reading in her classroom.
Wonder about the products requested, pricing and more? The teacher actually provides the specific items, costs and details that are then verified by a member of the DonorsChoose team.
Don’t see a school you want to help fund or know a teacher that is in need of some special items for your classroom? You can learn how to sign up here and even have the first project matched.
Three times a year SONIC makes $1 million donations to public schools:
- During the Fall Voting Campaign, which typically runs from late September through October
- Throughout the months of January through April during a series of surprise funding events in cities across the country – as an example, today SONIC funded 75 teacher projects from across the country in honor of National Handwriting Day
- Throughout the month of May during #ThanksTeach, a social media campaign encouraging consumers to thank their favorite teachers during Teacher Appreciation Month
And with your help and support by 2021 SONIC’s total contribution to local public school classrooms will exceed $20 million.
Want to make a difference in a classroom?
Enter to win a $200 DonorsChoose.org gift card now that can be used towards any public school teacher project that inspires you plus receive a $50 Sonic gift card for more limeade fun.
In the final stretch to Christmas, get it all done with 10 Quick Gift Picks to Check Off Your List and your holiday fun all in one at Allen Premium Outlets. Plus win a $50 Simon Gift Card too!
Thanks to Allen Premium Outlets for making Christmas easy and sponsoring this post + giveaway.
In the spirit of Christmas (and to keep my name on the Nice List), I’m going to share a big truthful secret:
I don’t have one gift under my tree. Not. One. Single. Gift.
And while I’d like to lie and say the Grinch made a visit down my chimney, honestly, in getting the normal to-do list done, I haven’t any time to get the Christmas to-do complete.
So if the holiday hustle has you sweating, don’t worry, here’s a plan that’ll make it easy to get both your shopping done and get in the holiday spirit all at the same time at Allen Premium Outlets. And at 25 to 65 percent off regular retail price, your pocketbook will be jolly too!
10 Quick Gifts for Everyone on Your List at Allen Premium Outlets
Giving Back with the New Kid on the Block
Gotta love some baby bling! For those new arrivals (and new arrivals to be), these sparkle TOMS are the cutest thing in the world! And you can surprise the mama with her own matching pair. Best of all, when you purchase TOMS they’ll give a pair of new shoes to another child in need.
Christmas Traditions: PJs and Santa Pictures
Christmas Eve wouldn’t be complete without those Christmas jammies! And Gymboree has some serious sales for all your Christmas clothes for the kids. These matching gingerbread PJs are just $11 and some other looks are as low as $9!
Haven’t done your Christmas photos?Head to Gymboree for these Christmas outfits for your cuties and then see Santa here at Allen Premium Outlets on Dec. 23 for a complimentary visit and photo!
Don’t forget to sign up for Gymboree Rewards for even more savings and rewards now and throughout the year.
For Your Pet
Don’t forget your four-legged friends this Christmas. They’ll look so cute this holiday season with this Doggie Bow Tiefrom Francesca’s!
Little tip: Take an Insta of the two of you and call that your Christmas card! See that’s one more thing off your list!
For the Stylish (or Need to be More Stylish) Man in Your Life
Santa might want to take this one for himself, this Leather Jacket with Faux Fur from Johnston & Murphy Factory Store will keep him looking sharp and warm throughout the winter season. Need the whole look? Then with big sales as low as 70% off here they have it from head to toe.)
For the Sports Fanatic
You’ll get nothing but cheers from your sports fan at Adidas! From the NMDs shoesjersey/shirt “flocked(that was new for me too!) Adidas affiliated soccer team name and number can be added here at the store! But if you want it flocked, you’ll need to come in soon so you can get it done before Christmas!
For the Guys You Don’t Know What to Get
Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Stores is where I go every year. Yep, they all know that’s what they’re getting and look forward to their Polo Ralph Lauren Half-Zipper Pullover! Available in every color of the rainbow and size, this is a no brainer. Valued at almost $100, their price is normally $79.99, then on sale for $39.99 but right now with all the deals happening, I was able to get these for less than $28 a piece! SCORE!
For The Grinch in Your Life
Do you have someone that needs to get into the holiday spirit? Then let ‘em show it with this Grinch Mug A Christmas Story Card Scramble< also from Francesca’s. It’s great for 12 and up and will keep your family gathering a little more fun!
Toast to the Holidays with Wine and Bubbles
Also to get into the spirit these festive stemless champagne flutes and themed wine glass “Sleigh All Day” from Francesca’s makes it easy to celebrate the holidays with your favorite friends. And this cool wax wine stopperis a must for a great stocking stuffer as it serves as stopper and a candle with an LED light.
Paired with The 12 Drinking Games of Christmas, you’ll all be able to survive the holiday!
And don’t forget to head to some of the newest offerings at Allen Premium Outlet like Tory Burch and Bare + Beauty!
Need a few more gifts ideas for under your tree?
Allen Premium Outlets’ Holiday Gift Giving Guide is stuffed with retailer offers and gift giving ideas (that means even more discounts), along with the stores in the center where those great presents can be found. You can pick up this valuable resource at either the Guest Service Center, snag from a Holiday Greeters throughout the center or even download it online now.
Can’t find the time to shop?
Need Some Christmas Spirit?
Just because it’s last-minute doesn’t mean that you don’t have time to get in the spirit of Christmas. Allen Premium Outlets hosts free family entertainment on Saturdays to make it easy to get it all done!
Cocoa & Carolers – Saturday, Dec. 16, 7-9 PM by the Fire Pit
Families are invited to sing along with Dickens Carolers and sip on hot cocoa to get in the festive spirit.
Santa Photos – Saturday, December 23, 9 AM-8 PM outside Suite 134
You still have time to let Santa know what’s on your list and take your annual photo with the big man in red. Experience the joy and magic of the holiday season with a complimentary visit and printed photo with Santa.
Now all you have to do is left is to wrap those gifts and put them under the tree (or get it in the mail!) And if you don’t have time, you know there’s an app for that.
Allen Premium Outlets
820 W Stacy Rd
Allen, TX 75013
Now let’s win a $50 Simon Gift Card to get this shopping complete!
Want to know the secret of getting the right gift for the guy in your life? ASK HIM. So for this holiday gift guide, we solve this #mamachallenge for The Guy’s Guide to the Best Gifts for Guys courtesy of my guy, my husband.
Thanks to Academy Sports + Outdoors for making Christmas easy with one-stop affordable shopping and this sponsored post.
Every year around this time the inevitable question always arises: What do you want for Christmas?
It’s a thoughtful question because it means, “I want to give you a gift to show you love and appreciation and I want you to get something you want.”
But even worse some people don’t even both to ask and just assume they know what you want. That’s how I’ve ended up with a lot of pajamas and pullovers…and I have an ample supply.
Funny enough, most men, like myself, are not hard to please and are easy when it comes to Christmas shopping.
Want to know the secret?
- Go to Academy Sports + Outdoors.
- Put something in the basket.
- Go Home, Wrap it (or not, we don’t care.)
- Enjoy seeing his face when he opens it.
For me this place takes care of all my favorite things to do and interests and the fact that’s it’s always affordable with low prices makes it easy to give and gift.
The way my wife clicks on everything on Pinterest is how I feel about Academy. I can walk around the store and find all kinds of gifts ranging from hunting, camping, working out, cooking, fishing…whatever!. And if your man is anything like me, they are probably the same way, and you took the work out of it and now put a present under the tree.
But if you need us to narrow it down a little bit, here’s our Guide to the Best Gifts for Your Guy at Academy Sports + Outdoors.
The Guys Guide to the Best Gifts for Guys
Masterbuilt MES 130S 30 in Digital Electric Smoker with Window
If Santa wanted to leave me something under the tree, this is it. The Masterbuilt MES 130S 30 in Digital Electric Smoker with Window makes it easy to do some cooking, actually a lot of cooking. With an electric ignition and time, you can whip up 6 chickens, 2 turkeys, 4 racks of ribs or 4 pork butts all at one time. And it’s on wheels so it won’t be hard for Santa to roll this one in. This one is a win-win.
LEM Electric Meat Grinder
Every year I harvest quite a bit of meat while out hunting. One of the best and most popular ways to put deer and hog on the table is to grind it up and then freeze it to eat throughout the year.. This is step one to making chili, sausage, and burgers. I’ve been trying to perfect the perfect sausage recipe for several years while working from an attachment on my blender. Unfortunately, it takes hours to get through 10 lbs of sausage and there really aren’t a lot of options for changing up how you want the meat ground up, i.e. course for chili and super fine to crank out some homemade bologna.
With the LEM Electric Grinder you have a dedicated tool to get the job done. It comes with a couple of grinding plates and sausage stuffing tool right out of the box. I can look forward to a much more enjoyable experience processing the game I’ve taken when using the right tool for the job from a great brand.
Outdoor Gourmet Propane Fish Fry Cart Set
To me, when I think of holiday traditions I’d like to start, I’ve always thought the “Fried Fourth” has the double appeal of patriotic alliteration combined with the sweet siren’s call of a bubbling caldron of grease. Fried fish, calf fries, dove, shrimp, frog legs, steak fingers, chicken strips, and mounds and mounds of French fries. Everybody sits around all days getting stuffed on an assortment of fried foods just in time to watch a majestic fireworks show. It brings a tear to my eye and I get a little choked up dreaming about the “Fried Forth.”
But if I’m going to do that much frying, I need a rig that can handle some volume. The Outdoor Gourmet Propane Fish Fry Cart Set can do just that. Two burners, two pots, with three baskets can pump out a lot of golden fried goodness. Hopefully this is the year we can bring the “Fried Forth” to America’s heartland.
Wildgame Innovations Moonshine Hog and Varmint Feeder Light
One thing most any land owner can agree on is this, wild pigs are not your friends. They tear up everything they can and multiply about as fast as anything on earth. These are just some of the reasons to hunt pigs year-round. Not to mention pigs can be some pretty good eating too. One of the most efficient ways to manage these throngs of pork is to set them on a feeder and then light em up.
The Wildgame Innovations Moonshine Hog and Varmint Feeder Light can be set to activate on motion and produces a bright blue light while operating off of a 6 volt battery. Put this up on or around your feeder at night and then just wait for a passel of hogs to show up, then, you and your buddies can get to harvesting.
Do-All Outdoors Double Trap
Next on the list is the Do-All Outdoors Double Trap because one of my favorite activities is shooting clays. Shooting clay pigeons is a great way to stay tuned when bird season comes around and it’s great fun all by itself. For example, when the birds aren’t flying, it’s always nice to have a standby where everyone can get on the line and test their skill for a little game of Wolf Chase.
In addition, there’s no better way to start getting your kids used to hunt that to get them out in the country and start training. Spend some quality time as a family while learning basic hunting and shooting safety and technique. I’m already looking forward to hearing my son yell, “Pull!”
Magellan Outdoors Men’s Glacier Shield Jacket
Our family holiday tradition is going skiing. I love to ski and we try to go somewhere new every year. While it doesn’t often get real cold in Dallas, it is when we head to Colorado. The Magellan Outdoors Men’s Glacier Shield Jacket does you a solid for all the different weather conditions that are thrown are way. And this coat comes with a storage bag so you can pack it away when not in use.
YETI Roadie 20 Cooler
Repeat this: You can’t go wrong with a YETI. Especially when it’s the convenient YETI Roadie 20 Cooler. Whether he hunts, fishes, tailgates, boats, whatever…he’s got a reason for this convenient sized cooler that keeps everything cold for days (tested a million times over!) And for a limited time Academy Sports + Outdoors is giving a free $75 Academy Gift Card with the purchase of any YETI Hard-Sided Cooler.
Under Armour Men’s UA Storm Vortex Short
Now that winter has set in and holiday season is in full swing, it’s never too early to start thinking about that beach bod. Maybe I could say that with a straight face when I was younger, but as the years come on it’s less about looking great and more about staying healthy. Part of staying healthy is getting in regular workouts and when you’re working out you want to be comfortable. Under Armour has some incredibly comfortable clothes that will help you worry less and perform better.
This Under Armour Men’s UA Storm Vortex Short is vented to keep you cool and water resistant to keep you dry. They also have a pocket built in to keep the cell phone handy while cranking out the tunes to keep you moving. Under Armour is a great brand and they continue to hit the mark with these shorts.
FREE SHIPPING BANNER (AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED TIME)
Nike Men’s Run Swift Running Shoes
If you’ve got the shorts on to work out, you’ve got to have something on your feet as well. When it comes to athletic footwear, Nike is the iconic brand that’s been around longer than I have and knows more about athletic footwear than anyone around. I’ve also been with Nike long enough to know what I like and these Nike Run Swift Running Shoes. These shoes are great on the pavement, the treadmill, or the gym floor. The look of the shoe is simple, lightweight and breathable and none too flashy.
Body Champ VKR Power Tower
I’ve been trying to finish a workout program for years now. It’s a pretty strenuous and demanding three-month program working out 6 days a week, which has a lot to do with why I’ve never finished. With the Body Champ VKR Power Tower you can not only do pull ups and chin ups, but can also do dips and leg raises. In addition, you don’t have to wonder if this thing is going to fall and send me crashing to the ground. This tower would be one more tool available to me to keep my “temple” in working order for a long time to come.
Huffy Men’s Alpine 26″ 18-Speed Mountain Bike
This Huffy Men’s Alpine 26″ 18-Speed Mountain Bike is the gift that keeps on giving. Our family has some land out in the country with some elevation to it and it’s perfect for an off the beaten path mountain bike. And riding this will definitely help get some great exercise while going on adventures with and without the family.
The second use is a little more clandestine. Every morning when I set out to go hunting I hop on the ATV and head down to the stand. I know you can hear that things for miles around. Now if I hope on my Huffy, I can peddle right by the stand and be as quiet as a mouse. When you only get to hunt a few weekends out of the season, you want to take advantage of every edge you have.
Mosaic 29 in Fuego Grande Fire Pit
You can never go wrong with a gift that the entire family can enjoy together. I can see us now, all sitting around the fire grilling steaks with potatoes and onions wrapped in foil sitting right in the middle of the Mosaic 29 in Fuego Grande Fire Pit. We’ll finish up the evening with a bunch of kids roasting marshmallows on sticks getting ready for s’mores. If you’re going to be outside with a group of folks you’ll want to take care of him. We can make all that happen with the Mosaic 29 in Fuego Grande Fire Pit. It’s got everything you need. It’ll help you cook up a mess of food and stay warm at the same time. That’s how I like family time well and like this too.
Happy Holidays to you from us!
Known as America’s Dream City, Arlington, Texas is also your winter wonderland for holiday magic during the holidays. Get your game plan for all things Christmas with these 10 Things to do in Arlington for the Holidays.
Thanks to Visit Arlington for their partnership.
Looking for something to do to get you in the holiday spirit? Right in the middle of it all you’ll find Arlington, Texas. There’s always something to do in Arlington, but during the holidays it’s a hot spot fun for things to do for everyone in the family. Here are 10 things to do in Arlington for the holidays.
1. Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Over Texas
2201 Road to Six Flags
Nov 23 – January 5
If you’re looking for holiday thrills you’ll find them at Holiday in the Park at Six Flags over Texas. Discover a winter wonderland filled with holiday attractions including a snow hill, visits with Santa, sing-a-longs, and holiday shows. This year introduces the Merry Marketplace filled with holiday treats, shopping, and photo opportunities. Get the details.
2. Decorators Warehouse
3708 West Pioneer Pkwy
Open year round
The largest Christmas store in Texas, and one of the largest in the world, is located in Arlington. Walk through the 150 styles of pre-lit Christmas trees, dazzling light displays, oodles of ornaments, and even a dedicated ribbon room. Make the day even more special by stopping by Dasher Pie Co a grab one of their delicious pies. Get the details.
3. Texas Christkindl Market
Arlington / Nov. 29 – Dec. 22
Prices: Free to visit
It’s a German Christmas at the Texas Christkindl Market! and this year it is bigger and better than ever! This delightful, FREE, family-friendly market, inspired by a cherished German tradition, features holiday gifts, decorations and music. Holiday shoppers will enjoy exclusive Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas decorations and designs from the renowned Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Village in Germany, as well as over 20 holiday vendors and food options. Join us for an Arlington tradition! Get the details.
4. Santa’s Toy Factory at The Parks Mall
3811 South Cooper Street
Now – December 24
Santa’s Toy Factory is an interactive Santa experience where kids can put on their safety hat and “test” out the new toys at Santa’s Toy Factory before they get delivered on Christmas morning. After testing the toys, kids have the chance to digitally design their own toys. The Toy Factory experience wraps up with meeting Santa himself for photos. Get the details.
5. Arlington Music Hall Spectacular Christmas
224 N Center St.
December 7 – December 14
It’s all your Christmas favorites all in one show! Spectacular Christmas is an original musical adventures featuring singers, dancers, kick lines, special effects, a beautiful Nativity, and a visit from Santa. Matinee and evening showtimes are available this weekend only at Arlington Music Hall. Get the details.
6. Santa at Legal Draft
500 East Division St.
Saturday, December 9
Santa is coming to the taproom at Legal Draft! If you’re family Santa photos include your four-legged pups, this is the place to get photos. Bring your dogs, kiddos, or both, for pictures with Santa from 3 to 5pm. The Taproom will be open as normal. Get the details.
7. Arlington Holiday Lights Parade
100 W. Abram St.
Saturday, December 14
The Arlington Holiday Lights Parade is more than just a parade! Ran by an all volunteer committee, the festivities start at 2pm in Founders Plaza with music, food, and reindeer games. The parade begins at 6pm and concludes with the Mayor and Santa Claus lighting the spectacular 50-foot Christmas Tree. Following the Tree Lighting get pictures with Santa at the Levitt Pavilion and a movie screening of “Elf.” Get the details.
8. Symphony Arlington Holiday in Vienna
224 N Center St.
Thursday, December 14
Spend a holiday evening in Vienna thanks to Symphony Arlington and their 2017-2018 Season “Vienna, City of Music”. The December concert features their annual carol sing-along and lots of holiday favorites including Jingle Bells Forever by J.P. Sousa and Sleigh Ride by Anderson. Book your trip to Vienna Thursday December 14 at 7:30pm at the Arlington Music Hall. Get the details.
9. Interlochen Christmas Lights
Randol Mill Rd and Westwood Dr.
December 13 – December 25
Voted “Texas Best” by fans of the Texas Country Reporter TV show, this year is the 43rd annual Interlochen Christmas Lights event. Featuring about 200 decorated homes designed by residents, the light show is a free event and runs nightly from 7 to 11 pm. Entrance to the event can be found and Westwood Dr and Randol Mill Road. Visit the website for a route map. Get the details.
10. Ballpark Tours Come See Santa
1000 Ballpark Way
Saturday, December 16
Is there a little baseball fan at your house? Santa is making a trip from the North Pole to visit Globe Life Park. Come visit Santa, enjoy sweet holiday treats, and take a guided tour of the ballpark. Doors open at 10am and tours leave every hour with the last tour leaving at 2pm. Get the details