Ten Ways to Make 2018’s Valentine’s Day Unique

Let’s be honest, Valentine’s Day isn’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea. Any holiday that centers around that much love and glitter… it can be a lot even for those of us in relationships. But there is always a way to make a holiday your own – and Valentine’s Day is no exception!

We’ve compiled a few ideas for both low-key and actual outings, so no matter if you’re coupled up, on your own, or with the entire family, you can celebrate the day of love your way!

Re-create your first date

Revisit the first restaurant that brought you together or recreate the first cocktails you shared. Nostalgia can be awfully romantic… Have the kid’s hanging around? Bring them along to really create that stark reality of what was 😉


Chocolate Wasted

Fun for the whole family, the Glendale Chocolate Affaire is the weekend before Valentine’s Day. Learn more about the event here. 


Have breakfast in bed
Warning: Yours may not look like this.

This is a luxury that shouldn’t be reserved for weekends away. Get up early, either together or with the kids, whip up something delicious, and then settle back in for a cozy morning meal together.


Create a photo book together

There is just something so special about having your photographs in print, yet it is so common for our photos to get lost in the cloud these days. Using apps and websites like 

Artifact Uprising or Chatbooks is quick and easy with beautiful results. Plus, what’s not to love about the chance to cuddle up and reminisce on your visual love diary provided by your camera roll?


Love Yourself

Who?? Yes, you! Don’t forget to love yourself on Valentine’s! Whether that means treating yourself to a manicure, sitting in the car listening to music in the driveway (we’re digging this Spotify playlist!), or a week-long getaway (take us with you?) – whatever it may be, make sure to schedule in some time for you!


Workout Together

A couple that sweats together, stays together! Pick a new trail to hike or a group class to attend. Bonus…you get to clean up together afterwards. 😉


Celebrate AZ Cocktail Week

 It can’t be a coincidence that AZ cocktail week takes place February 17th to 19th. Hello, post-Valentine’s date night! See who is participating: https://arizonacocktailweek.com/


Bake something heart-shaped

This one’s for kids and adults alike. Pizza, cookies, pancakes, sandwiches…food is more fun when it’s shaped like a heart. <3


Letters of Appreciation

Take the hallmark out of Valentine’s by adding your own significance. Have the kids and your sig other create letters of appreciations for whoever in their lives. It’s a nice teachable moment that includes limited glitter!


Hold a family craft night

 Nothing like glue and glitter to strengthen family bonds. No matter your kids’ ages and the kind of project you’re after, there is a Valentine’s Day DIY for you. This Pinterest board has all the ideas to craft to your heart’s content. 

Top Arizona Activities to Help You Keep Your New Year Resolutions

The New Year brings with it a bright, shiny new feeling that only comes at the start of something new. And with these bright new beginnings come… new 

promises. New Year Resolutions are an awesome way to reflect on your wants and needs, as humans, as MOMs, as everything that you are!

Make sure you are setting yourself up for success and enter the New Year Resolution mindset realistically. Often, we set resolutions that are just not obtainable in verbiage alone. Rather than, “I want to workout seven days a week,” start with, “I want to workout more.” Rather than making complete life changes, make small ones and work your way up. Acknowledge your effort and your work! Count the little wins that make the big impact! 

Here at MOMnation, we believe in keeping it FUN! That’s why we compiled this list based on your new year resolutions to help you accomplish your goals.

If your resolution is: GET IN SHAPE

Last year, the most common New Year’s resolution was exercise more, at 38%. That was followed closely by 33% of people saying they were going to lose weight. Safe to say, our physical health is easily the first thing on our minds as we head into a new year. But keeping up with these goals is a little more difficult.

Organized Running

These days, fun runs are everywhere – and you don’t have to be a “runner” to participate.   With the pleasant weather in Arizona early in the year, you’ll have an extensive and varied list to choose from. Some of our favorites:

Phoenix Women’s Half half marathon, 10K, 5K – https://raceroster.com/events/2018/13457/b3rd-annual-phoenix-womens-halfb

Runner’s Den Pancake Run 5K, 10K, and kids run is coming up in early February: http://www.runnersdenpancakerun.com/

East Valley Runners holds different distance runs every week – from hills to track workouts. Check out their meetup page here.


One of the best parts about living in the Valley is that by the very definition, we are surrounded by mountains. There’s nothing better for both body and mind than getting outside on one of our beautiful desert trails.

San Tan Mountain Regional Park: Over 10,000 acres, we love this park that exhibits Arizona so well! Make sure you take a picture with the giant saguaro. Get more info here: https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/park-locator/san-tan-mountain-regional-park/

Phoenix Mountains Preserve – includes Piestewa Peak, which is relatively well-known and busy, but very central with easy access – https://www.visitphoenix.com/things-to-do/outdoors/biking-hiking/phoenix-mountains-preserve/

Lost Dutchmen trail at the Superstition Mountains – one of our favorite desert spots to explore, there are plenty of trails to lose the crowds. Make sure to take a map and tell someone where you’re going.  https://azstateparks.com/lost-dutchman

Group Workouts

Join us for MN Bootcamp! January 6th and 20th. More info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2065718150114341/

If your resolution is: MAKE MORE TIME FOR MOM+DAD! Hello! DATE NIGHT

We love family time. We really do. But after a busy holiday season, sometimes Mom and Dad need a little time together – sans kids. And in-laws. And kids. It’s time to reinstate the date night!

New Restaurants + Restaurant Openings

No matter the cuisine, you can find it in Phoenix and the East Valley! Despite our ever-evolving options, it’s easy to get comfortable with a restaurant or two and eat there well past you’ve made your way through the entire menu.

Here are some of our favorite existing restaurants, and a few new ones that are opening soon to get excited about:

Scramble – Early 2018. Why not do a  date breakfast? This casual breakfast and lunch spot is slated to open a new location within the Shoppes at Casa Paloma in Chandler.

Bistro1528 – This restaurant has the perfect ambiance and is always good. It’s a San Tan Valley favorite for date night!

Hash Kitchen – Spring 2018. Already a popular brunch destination in Scottsdale, Has Kitchen is bringing its Bloody Mary bar and delicious hash dishes to Raintree Ranch Center in Chandler this spring.

Meridiem Kitchen and Lounge: We love this new kitchen and lounge! They have a great  menu with tons of options… and, they have two bars and lots of wine.

Little Miss BBQ – Early 2018. This new Sunnyslope spot will be the second location of the nationally acclaimed barbecue joint, adding dinner hours and more to the menu.


Winter MesaFest 2018 – Held on January 6, this free event features local music, arts and crafts for sale, and tons of delicious food.

First Fridays – You can visit more than 60 downtown Phoenix art galleries, studios and art spaces on the first Friday of every month. An amazing, free way to see some of the Valley’s best art.

Concerts – 2018 is shaping up to be a great year for music and comedy in AZ. From Willie Nelson to Milky Chance, Katy Perry to the Harry Potter film shown with the Phoenix Orchestra live…you and your hubby are sure to find something you’ll both enjoy. See the whole calendar and book tickets here – http://www.phoenixconcerts.net/


You have to take care of yourself in order to keep everything else running smoothly! And nothing will make you feel better than acquiring a new passion. Check out these classes below:

Make New Mom Friends

We hold over fifteen events a month! From helping with life skills, hosting night’s out, and everything in between, it’s never boring at MOMnation Events: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MOMnationAZ/events/

Classes and workshops

Plants: From landscaping and gardening, to cooking or photography, the Desert Botanical Garden offers a long list of workshops for a range of experience levels.

Camelback Flowershop holds several bouquet, flower crown, succulent garden and atrium design classes throughout the year. https://camelbackflowershop.com/collections/design-workshops

Art, Crafting and Scrapbooking: Stores like Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and Paper Source offer all kinds of DIY-style classes and workshops throughout the Valley. You can unleash your inner artist at The Phoenix Art Museum and Scottsdale Artists’ School.

Cooking: With locations like Sweet Basil – www.sweetbasilgourmet.com, Sur la Table – www.surlatable.com, and the Classic Cooking Academy – www.ccacademy.edu, you can get hands-on instruction in the kitchen, and then get to eat what you create.

If your resolution is: IMPROVE FINANCES

Let’s face it. Talking about money is never fun, especially when the wallet is feeling a little light. But when we are focusing on the future, getting finances in order is vital. Don’t worry! There are tools that are designed just for this purpose. Bonus – the majority of the above activities and ideas are free!

Use your technology

Phone apps like Mint and online personal sites like LearnVest.com are simple but also incredibly helpful when managing money. They can help you set budgets, schedule payments, track spending and more.

Utilize the people who do this for a living

You’d be surprised at the countless amenities offered by the bank you already use! Give them a call, or check out their online banking site to see what amenities are available to you. We also have some great MOMs that help with financial planning!

This is by no means an exhaustive list. We live in a wonderful city, full of opportunities to help us keep those New Year’s resolutions, whatever they may be. Best of luck to you…and Happy 2018!

The MOMnation Guide to Getting in the Holiday Spirit

As we roll into December, there’s no avoiding that the holiday season is in full swing. So, if you’ve found yourself mesmerized by a twerking Santa in a random aisle in Walgreens, pondering how to bring holiday cheer to your loved ones, we’ve got you covered.

MOMnation scanned the globe (and even our AZ neighborhoods) and came up with some endearing, some unique, and some straight weird ways that families around the world get into the spirit.

Which one of these traditions are you going to adopt?

KFC Christmas

Thanks to a wildly popular advertising campaign in the 70s, Japanese families flock to KFC for dinner on Christmas Eve. The “Christmas chicken” bucket has become so popular that people order their bucket months in advance.

Bake & Bond

Whether or not you eat sweets during the holidays, baking is one of the best ways to bond with your littles and earn bestie status with the neighborhood mom stroller strides group. We’ve noticed that the traditional and iconic gingerbread cookies have taken a back seat to a slew of witty concoctions fed to us through Pinterest- (that never REALLY turn out like the pictures #MomFail)

One recipe that has been a consistent hit during the snowy season and has found its way as a ‘go to” staple is ::drumroll please:: “reindeer droppings. “ Yes, you read that right, as if us mom’s need another reason to say the word poop. Thanks to Google, there are many different, simple and inexpensive recipes that can fit your family’s dietary needs. Therefore, you have no excuse not to start this easy tradition with your family. ::YAY::


“Different” Versions of Santa

Not everyone in Europe subscribes to our American idea of Santa Claus. In Italy, Italian children await the arrival of Befana, a friendly witch who delivers presents because she feels guilty for missing the birth of Jesus – due to too much housework. We can relate.

Our personal favorite is the Catalan Christmas tradition of the Tió de Nadal (or Caga Tió) – the pooping log. First, a log is hollowed out and a smiley face and red floppy hat are added. Catalonian families begin “feeding” him small treats on December 8. On Christmas Day, the log is placed in the fireplace and beat with sticks until he, well, poops out candies, fruits and nuts. Bonus – there’s a song to go with the beating.

Poop log,

Poop nougats,
Hazelnuts and mató cheese,

If you don’t poop well,

I’ll hit you with a stick,

Poop log!

The end of the defecation session is signaled by a salted herring or an onion. Once everyone in the family has collected their gifts from Tió de Nadal, he is burned for warmth. Gracias, Caga Tió.

Non-Pinterest White Elephant

Surely, in one of your social circles you’ve heard of White Elephant. If you haven’t, this holiday tradition is an inexpensive, gutsy way of getting rid of something that collects dust in your house (Score!). Families who plan gift-giving parties together will select a “white elephant” gift from their own house to give as a present- whether grandma’s old rabbit embroidered pillow that needs a new home or a dead houseplant, these exchanges are fun and corky- not the new iPhone X- like one would hope. White Elephant is becoming a staple tradition in most homes across North America. If you decide to play the White Elephant game with your family, there are also different versions of this tradition such as “only homemade DIY items” or “something from inside your own home”- clarify with your crew so everyone’s on the same page!


Holiday Runs







Apparently, holidays aren’t JUST about gaining weight. This holiday tradition is actually festive and healthy. We’ve all heard of our cities having ‘color runs’ right? Well, the new tradition for your holiday season and for families across the states are organized ‘Santa Run’s’ or ‘Reindeer romps’. Clever titles will give you a sense of accomplishment and brings awareness to specified charities. Dress up as Santa, put bells on, hey, we’ve even seen someone dressed up as their best representation of a menorah. We especially love when strollers cruise by with sporting reindeer being pushed to the finish line. What’s better than communities coming together to spread holiday cheer with positive results?! Now, if we only could find our running shoes. 


Elf on the Shelf

Please tell me you bought one of these behavioral tools? We have parent’s waiting for December 1st so that their children’s “friend” can come out of hiding. Why, you ask? Well these clever additions to your family are designed to help “watch” your littles behavior in order to calm meltdowns and improve listening. We know what you’re thinking, how did this become a holiday tradition? Well, these gimmicks play a magical roll in not only our children’s lives but our lives as well! Santa’s ‘Scout Elf’ has enough Christmas magic to fly to the North Pole every night and report to Santa whether your children have been naughty or nice. After their nightly report, the ‘Scout Elf’ flies back to your home and relocates in a different spot.  Children love waking up to find the elf and hopefully* (major asterisk on that one) are better behaved while they know the elf is watching. 

Garbage Party …?

If you’re looking for ways to get your kids to do more chores, introduce them to this tradition from Guatemala. 

Guatemalan families collect garbage and sweep out their houses every year before Christmas, with each neighborhood creating a large pile. They then place an effigy of the devil on top and burn it. With the scent of burning garbage in the air, Christmas celebrations can commence.




..Just ask your neighbors first, okay?


All in all, holiday traditions are about having FUN and creating lasting memories with family and friends. Does your family have any fun/odd/awesome traditions for the holidays? We would love to hear your favorites and where they originated. And if you decide to have a pooping log this year, we want to see photos. And videos.

Merry Christmas, all!


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