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. 

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!


Get yourself a stunning new home for Christmas! Check out this Queen Creek home we adore:

Learn more by clicking here.

Arizona Holiday Family Resources

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. The holiday season can be a difficult and stressful time for many, especially those families who are struggling financially.

MOMNation is built on the premise of helping other Moms through fostering a true digital and real-life community. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of websites and physical locations throughout Arizona where you and your family can find the assistance you need – and a little holiday cheer.


From essentials like food, clothing and housing to disability and veteran services, 211Arizona is an excellent resource for all human services. If you are looking for help regarding domestic violence, mental health support, employment services, or programs for veterans or those with disabilities, this site can point you in the right direction.


As the name suggests, this site is a one-stop shop for all things financial. Here you can find information on charity organizations and assistance programs that provide struggling families help with paying bills and taxes, mortgages, and debts.


Not only does this site include a nationwide directory that provides an extensive list of homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food banks by state, it also has an excellent directory of other resources.


With 2Hands, you can post about a specific need directly on the website, and if someone in their growing group of nationwide members can help you, you are connected through the website. By connecting individuals in need with those who have the means to help, this assistance platform allows people to help others on a very personal level. No Grinches here!


A New Leaf provides a broad spectrum of services for individuals and families alike. Not only can they help to support your family’s basic immediate needs, they can counsel you on critical lifelong skills like budgeting, career programs and housing assistance.


If you’re struggling to put food on the table, visit foodpantries.org. With nearly 300 food pantries in Arizona alone, this site is an excellent resource to locate local food banks and soup kitchens, as well as subsidized groceries. While food pantries can help you any time of year, the holiday season sees an increase in donations. Their directory can help you find free or subsidized food in your area.


One of the most well known organizations, the Salvation Army really ramps up their services during the holidays. With locations all over the Valley, you can look to the Salvation Army to provide youth and senior programs, homeless assistance, and worship services. During December, kids under 12 are eligible for the Christmas Angel program, so no child should go without the joy of a new toy on Christmas.

Phoenix Children’s Project Christmas Assistance

We all want our children to experience the joy and wonder of Christmas. This program helps children living below the poverty level in Phoenix get toys, home-baked treats, shoes, clothes and other essentials.

For more information, you can call 602-955-2228

East Valley Arizona Food Banks

We’ve compiled this list of food banks throughout Arizona for those in need to utilize year-round.

Arizona Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) provides food to people experiencing homelessness, low-income senior citizens, families and individuals, year-round  There is no fee to receive emergency food assistance. For more information, visit them online or call: 855-432-7587

There’s no need to be ashamed if you need to reach out for help – at any time. The end of the year and the holidays that come with it can be overwhelming. But if you are in need of a miracle this holiday season, there’s a sleigh full of resources we hope you can take advantage of! And as always, reach out directly to MOMNation to receive support and guidance from your local community of MOMs.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!!

Our Top Egg Hunt and Easter Festivities for 2017!

Local Easter Egg Hunts:

4/13: MOMnation members only Easter Egg Hunt and Park Play Date hosted by Ashley in South Gilbert!

4/13: Tiny Tots Egg Hunt in Downtown Mesa!  The event takes place on Main Street from Center to Country Club.

4/15: City of Chandler Family Easter Celebration at Snedigar Sportsplex! 

4/15: FREE Easter Spring event at Little Einstein Preschool! Bounce house, cookie decorations, crafts, games and an Easter egg hunts for all ages!!

4/15: Easter Egg-sperience at Vertuccio Farms!  You will enjoy pictures with the Easter Bunny, animals to pet, face painters, a train ride, an egg hunt with over 12,000 eggs and a pancake breakfast!

4/15: Enchanted Island Amusement Park in Phoenix is hosting a FREE Easter Egg hunt ages 1 to 10!

4/15: Easter Egg-Citement at Schnepf Farms!  The Egg hunt begins promptly at 11am.

4/15: Easter EGG-stravaganza @ The Wigwam in Litchfield Park! 

4/15: Dolly Sanchez Memorial Easter Egg Hunt at the Peoria Sports Complex. 

Visit the Great Lawn at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess for special hourly Easter egg hunts and “Bunnyland”!  The entire family will have a day filled with games, rides and live entertainment.


Awesome Local Easter Brunch Locations:

Grand Easter Brunch in the Palomino Ballroom at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Original Breakfast House in Phoenix – The Easter menu is served from 6:30am to 2pm

The Farm at South Mountain – Must make reservations 

SanTan Brewing Co. in Chandler is hosting a Sunday Brunch Buffet in their private Brewers Reserve 

Rustlers Rooste in Phoenix – Must make reservations

Easter Brunch at the Wigwam in Litchfield Park



MOM nation Serves the Community this Holiday Season 🎄

“I never imagined we’d impact this many.  My heart swells with excitement and gratitude each and every time we come together and even more so when it’s to serve the needs of others in the communities that we raise our children in.” says Katie Lambert, Founder of MOM nation.

Throughout the Thanksgiving holiday the group participated in the 5k Turkey Trot in Gilbert, AZ.  The proceeds from the event were to benefit various children’s charities.

The group coordinates a monthly outdoor movie in downtown Mesa AZ that they call Movies on Main.  In November the donation drive was for dog food donated to local shelters.  In December the donation drive was for baked goods for Veterans in need.  The event is free to get in, open to the public, and provides safe, kid friendly entertainment to the community while benefitting many local small business owners and various local charities with donation drives.

To kick off the spirit of giving, the group participated in Operation Christmas Child 2017.   “20 of our beautiful Mama’s came together with their families to fill 100 shoe boxes with donated Christmas gifts for children to be delivered throughout the holiday season.” says Lambert. 

This past week MOM nation partnered with sponsors (Banks Craft Company and Team Evolution Real Estate) to provide a free and very festive holiday craft table for kids at the weekly Farmers Market in Downtown Chandler.  Next month at the market in Chandler, the group will be collecting donated items for local pet shelters and will be providing information on pet adoptions.  Roxy and the Loan Dog might even make an appearance!

On December 18th, Santa, Shondi Zwaschka,  Krista Puruhito and Katie Lambert will be delivering the gifts from the Adopt a Family drive.  The group donated gifts and will be providing a Christmas for 5 families.

In February of 2017 the group plans to participate in the Team Bradley Bear 5k.  This charity event is near and dear to one of the groups beloved members.

The Moms of MOM nation are incredibly passionate about uplifting and supporting each other and creating a positive impact to the members of the community.  For more details on our community efforts, click HERE to contact us.

Want to Start a Holiday Tradition this year? Here are our AZ Faves!

Holiday traditions make the moments so much more memorable!  Our AZ Moms love these:

“Every year we watch movies in our christmas pajamas around the Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve.  Some of our favorites are White Christmas, Christmas Vacation, Miracle on 34th Street, The Grinch (1960’s version), and Elf.”

“We go to Zoo Lights at the Phoenix Zoo.”

“Our Christmas PJ and Smores Party is a  Christmas movie on the lawn with hot chocolate and smores.  Everyone that attends brings a toy or a canned food item to donate to a local charity.”

“We do Elf on the shelf.  The weather is so amazing in Phoenix that sometimes the Elf appears out on the patio.”

“We pick a family that we know is struggling and we leave gifts on their doorstep “ding-dong-ditch” style.  It’s fun and rewarding.”

“I do a cookie baking marathon a week before Christmas. I love making cookie trays for our friends!”

“We make dinner and then we grab the stroller and the baby and find neighborhoods with awesome christmas lights to walk through.” (Some MOM nation recommended locations here: Tour of Christmas Lights)

“For Christmas we go to the Mesa LDS Temple on Main just East of Mesa Dr. to see their spectacular Christmas lights! We usually get hot coco or chocolate milk to drink as we walk around!”

“The weather is always perfect so we eat outside and play backyard games every year.”

“We always make more food than we know we will eat and pack up the leftovers to pass out to those in need in our area of Mesa.”

“We LOVE the Mesa Arts Center and the entire family always gets together there for a holiday show.”

“We sing christmas carols and deliver homemade cookies to our neighbors!”

“We have an ugly sweater party every year and make it an outdoor chili cook-off.”


Photo donated by Nicole – Visit Nicole’s Website

Tour of Christmas Lights – MOM nation approved

It’s that magical time of the year again.  Visit these MOM nation approved neighborhoods to crank up the holiday spirit!

Loop of Lights at Pecan Creek South – Pecan Creek Drive and Carolina Ave, San Tan Valley

Christmas on Comstock – Off of Elliot between Recker and Higley, Gilbert

Mesa Temple Garden Lights – 525 East Main Street, Mesa

Natal Circle – Country Club and Guadalupe of off Cherry, Mesa

1517 S Arroya Cir – Mesa

8414 E Valley Vista Dr – Scottsdale

3611 E. Kachina Dr – Ahwatukee (Phoenix)

4415 E. Calle Tuberia – Phoenix

6480 W Orchid Lane – Chandler

1075 W Mulberry Dr – Chandler

Mom Nation Turkey Trot – Charity Event!

Our awesome members, Robin Quallick & Ashley Reed, lead our team in the 5k TURKEY TROT in Gilbert on Thanksgiving morning 11/24/16.

The proceeds are to benefit various children’s charities. (AzBrainFood is a big one).

We had a blast showing our support to our community on Thanksgiving Day!  #WeGiveBack

Movies on Main – December Showing

Bring a baked good for a vet!

Mom Nation Members please arrive at 6pm for choice seating!!  Being in Mom Nation pays off!  😉

Doors open to the public at 6:15pm and they close when we are at capacity.

This month we will be showing The Grinch! We will have a Whooville dance party! In the spirit of giving we would like to gather as many baked goods as we can. Please bring them with you to the movie so our very own MOM nation member, Jillian, can bring them to homeless vets as a holiday care package.

Anyone who brings a vet with them to the Movie will be eligible to receive a free professional photo of them and their vet together!

Please arrive early to grab a seat, a hot dog, shop for your holiday needs, and partake in some awesome raffles!