Top 5 Reasons Moms are loving Eastmark in Mesa

What’s all the buzz about Eastmark lately?  Oh nothing…it’s just one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the country consistently recognized as the #1 seller in Arizona.

That’s all great but why are Moms loving it?

1. The variety of homes offered at many different price points suits the needs of a wide range of families.  If you aren’t the new build type and need to move a little more quickly, there are several gorgeous gently used resale homes available. Check with The New Build Ninja for the list of specs available and get the best of both worlds, the brand spanking new home and the quick move-in!

2. The community feel is strong between neighbors.  There are many active Facebook social groups like Eastmark Moms, Eastmark Neighbors  and Eastmark Babysitters Group .  The beer club, gardening club and healthy life group brings those with similar passions even closer together.  The Eastmark Experience info page will keep you up to speed on the First Friday concerts, holiday events and all the other neighborhood happenings.

3. The amenities make life much more enjoyable and ridiculously convenient.  No mom wants to pack everything and everyone up just to drive several miles to the public pool or the park for fear of having to quickly pack up again and come home because someone had a meltdown or an accident.  Some of our favorite amenities are the 12 neighborhood parks, the splash pad, the Handlebar Diner, the Great Park, the Visitors Center with game room and the neighborhood pool.  The upcoming farm, lighted ball park and dog park are sure to be winners once they are complete.

4. The schools are very attractive and very close.  Queen Creek high school is coming to Eastmark in 2019.  Eastmark offers two of the country’s top-ranked charter schools. BASIS Mesa at Eastmark will be serving grades K-12 starting in 2019.  Sequoia Pathfinder Academy at Eastmark is a STEAM-based elementary school that serves grades K-6.  The Learning Experience, serving the early education needs of children 6 weeks to 6 years, plans to open an Eastmark campus.  The public elementary school, Gateway Polytechnic, serves K-5.  There’s also a new Legacy Traditional School being built nearby that will be opening this year.

5. The commute is super reasonable.  These days anything affordable with the new home smell also comes with a 45 to 60 minute commute to the city depending on traffic. Eastmark is super close to the 202, the 24 and the 60.  It’s 30 mins to Phoenix Sky Harbor and 10 mins to Gateway Airport.  San Tan Village and all the shops and restaurants is 12 minutes away and Downtown Gilbert is only 18 mins away.

Got Eastmark questions?  Ask the New Build Ninja!

Jen Duncan (480) 707-7554

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. 

Need a little life balance? Bye bye DIY!

Your life is probably just as busy as mine.  There’s work…and maybe you run a business or two.  Kids, pets and significant others appointments, school and other activities.  Then there’s laundry, keeping the house tidy and well stocked, groceries, bill paying, vehicle maintentance and meal prep.  Someone’s got to make sure the bills are paid, the insurance is current and prescriptions are filled.  The landscaping, home maintenance and pest control needs to be kept up.  Every year the taxes have to be filed and maybe, just maybe this is the year you are buying or selling your home.

Phew… I’m tired just thinking about it.  Are you?

Are you feeling defeated?  Like there isn’t any balance?  Either your house is clean or you get to spend time with your kids?  Either you eat healthy meals or the laundry and landscaping get done.  Doesn’t it get a little stressful around tax time when turbo tax isn’t working right or you aren’t sure about the deductions?  Then there’s the house… did you disclose appropriately to keep your butt out of court in the future?  Did you price the house right?  Stage it appropriately?  Do you know where to market and how to market?  Is that stranger really interested in your house or are they casing the joint and seeing what you have for a security system so they can rob you blind later?

Now I’m not only tired, I’m super stressed.

Back in the day, it was cool to DIY.   Your parents probably changed their own oil, did the landscaping and taxes, etc.  Most likely they were always sick, tired and really grouchy.  Do you find yourself following in their footsteps thinking this is just “life”.

Well, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Everyone has the same 24 hours and you aren’t going to get it all done.  It’s just impossible.  The key to balance is leverage and the key to leverage is mindset.  Change your mindset, change your life.  You don’t have to follow in your parents footsteps.

Automate everything that you possibly can.  Set up automatic bill payment online, get on auto ship programs for the products you love (I LOVE Melaleuca auto ship), add recurring events to your calendar and set it to remind you for things like vehicle registrations, call the AC guy for the yearly tune-up, oil change reminders,  etc.

Pay experienced professionals what they are worth to handle some of the things you just aren’t experienced in, good at or the things that just don’t please you to have to do.

Hire a landscaper, a house cleaner, a professional tax preparer, a mechanic, a pest control person, a handyman and a professional real estate Broker.  Hire a professional that preps meals or at least gets your groceries delivered to your door.  Hire a kid from the neighborhood to walk the dog.  Pay these people what they are worth.  You get what you pay for here…do not forget that old saying.  I cringe when I see people make the mistake of hiring the least expensive person.  THEY ALWAYS wish they had hired a true professional in the end.   It ALWAYS costs you more when you go cheap.

Trust me, you do have the money.  Budget for this.  You’ll be more happy.  You’ll have more time. You’ll be more productive at work or in your business.  Life all around will be more enjoyable.  You’ll spend more time with your family.  At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoyment.  Stop doing the things you hate to do and are not good at and kills your time.  Leave it to the pros that do it every day.  You’ll thank me and yourself later.

Here are a few of my favorites:

House Cleaner

Mechanic 

Mobile Pet Groomer 

Grocery Delivery

Landscaper 

Tax Prep

Pest Control

Pool Guy

Real Estate Pro

Good luck achieving the balance!  It is achievable.

 

This awesome Mesa Historic Home is for sale!  DETAILS HERE 

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.

Hiking

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.

Events

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/

If your resolution is: LEARN A NEW SKILL OR HOBBY (ME TIME, AMIRITE?)

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!

 

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

Learn more by clicking here.

Three Easy (and Doctor approved!) Stretches to Relieve Pregnancy Pain

What Women Are Not Being Told About Pregnancy-Related Pain

It is estimated that at least 50% of women who are pregnant will experience low back or pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy. It is a fairly common expectation of pregnancy. Our bodies change as baby (or babies) grow and we experience changes in hormones, potential changes in sleep patterns and changes in the mechanical function of our bodies. No surprise that aches and pains arise, right?

It is ok to acknowledge this potential pain and discomfort as long as we are also keeping women well informed about the fact that there is help with it during pregnancy. That is often the missing piece that women are not being told: common pregnancy-related pain should not be considered “normal” pain that you just have to deal with. In fact, some of those aches and pains can continue to progress after pregnancy into postpartum, so beginning to address them early is, at the very least, providing your body with help from the onset.

Several months ago I was invited by Tara of Organic Birthing Hypnobirthing to provide a few quick tips on how to help with pregnancy-related pain. Below you’ll find the tips I discussed and a video showing you how to safely and comfortably practice these poses. Of course, there are more than just three, but for many, these three are a great start to relieving discomfort.

(More of a visual learner? Keep scrolling for the video version)

“Hug the Baby”

This movement is used to activate the low core muscles and create movement in the belly. During pregnancy, many women feel that they lose connection to their core (abdominal) muscles. This gentle contraction of the low core provides a nice movement of the belly and helps to keep the core “connected.” It is a myth that women cannot keep their core connected and strong during pregnancy.

Child’s Pose

Yogis will appreciate the benefits of this position. A slight widening of the legs can help to create room for baby. This position provides a nice stretch along the back down around the sacrum and into the hips.

Deep Squat

The deep squat is great for stretching the hips and the pelvic floor. It is an important stretch to include in birth preparation. This squat takes the pelvis straight down toward the floor, as where a basic squat is often done with a posture as if one was getting ready to sit in a chair. This stretch should always be done carefully, so holding onto a chair or non-movable support is fine. This can also be modified as the pregnancy progresses or if the full squat is not attainable.

Remember: especially when stretching and exercising as an expecting mom, keep incorporating breath. Breathe through the movement and listen to your body.

 

Dr. Robyn Wilhelm, PT, DPT is a perinatal and pelvic Physical Therapist specializing in pelvic floor and women’s health physical therapy. Connect with Dr. Wilhelm on her practice website: http://www.wilhelmpt.com.

 

The winner of our HQ birthday party giveaway is…

Dominique Gastelum
The prize is a FREE day rental at HQ, 3 large pizza’s (cheese or pepperoni) from Queens Pizzeria and 2 hours of FREE face painting from Pop’n Art by Liz.

This event was sponsored by Team Evolution Real Estate.

It’s October! Top Fall Family Events in AZ

At last! October in AZ has arrived!!  Time for outdoor living, zoo trips, park play dates and, of course, HALLOWEEN!

Over at MOMnation, we know it can be tough to narrow down the fun, so we put it all in one place. Below you’ll find all the info you need for a family and fun-filled fall season.

Events

MOMnationMarket and Halloween party is happening at HQ on October 28th.  MacPea Photography will be there with a cute little Halloween set-up and will be offering photo minis! All market vendors will have candy for the kiddo’s and Liz with Pop’n Art will be face painting.

For more info and to RSVP, click here.

Queen Creek Trunk or Treat  is happening on October 21st from 5p to 9p. Children trick-or-treat by going from car trunk to car trunk on “Trunk or Treat Street” to get their bag filled with goodies. Admission is free.

For more info, click here.

The SpOoOoKieST Trick or Treating Locations

Our MOMs love these neighborhoods for the best trick or treating and the spookiest decorations.

Gilbert:

Power Ranch

San Tan Ranch

The Gardens*

Circle G Ranch

Coronado Ranch

Gilbert also has The Halloween House!

Mesa:

Dobson Ranch

Evergreen Historic District

Las Sendas

Boulder Creek

San Tan Valley:

Ironwood Crossing

Circle Cross Ranch

Phoenix:

Desert Ridge Aviano

Ahwatukee:

Equestrian Trail in Ahwatukee

 

🎃 Pumpkin Patches 🎃

MacDonald’s Ranch, Scottsdale, AZ

Take a horse or mule drawn hayride over to the pumpkin patch and pick your favorite pumpkin!  Come for the pumpkins and stay for the petting zoo, hay maze, pony rides, gem mine, cowboy golf, carnival rides, face painting, and sand creations. Visit their website to learn more.

Mother Nature’s Farm, Gilbert, AZ

Tons of pumpkins to choose from and a cute little “farmhouse” shop with local goodies.  You can also enjoy hayrides, an adventure maze, a straw bounce and farmyard animals. Learn more at their website: http://mothernaturesfarm.com

Tolmachoff Farms – Glendale, AZ

There’s a six acre corn maze, a petting zoo, train rides (weekends), corn box, pedal carts and a jumping pillow. Not done yet? Tolmachoff Farms also hosts the AZ Field of Screams and of course, a pumpkin patch!

 

👻 If Haunted Houses are your thing:

AZ Field of Screams – Glendale, AZ

Haunted House and Hayride – Phoenix, AZ

Jack and Jill’s Haunted Hill – Phoenix, AZ

13th Floor – Phoenix, AZ

Fear Farm – Phoenix, AZ

Sanctum of Horror – Mesa, AZ

The Crypt Haunted Attractions – Mesa, AZ

The House on Camino – Mesa, AZ

Dark Scares – Mesa, AZ

Golfland Fright Nights – Mesa, AZ

Scarizona – Scottsdale, AZ

 

Did we miss something that you love?  Please comment below and share!  

Happy Halloween!  

 

This awesome home in The Gardens in Gilbert, AZ is available for sale!  Check it out!

The Gardens in Gilbert, AZ

Energy Bill Savings Tips for Arizona MOMs

As MOMs in AZ, there’s lots we have to think about and energy efficiency certainly is at the top of the list.  It’s not only important for a comfortable home environment for the fam, but it’s also beneficial to the household budget. 

There are several ways to keep the house comfier and the wallet happy during the summer months.  Here are our great suggestions from our MOMs:

  1. Get sunscreens, especially on the windows in direct sunlight.  Sunscreens come in many different sizes ranging from 60-90% sun coverage. They not only help block the heat but also provide some privacy.  Sunscreens can make a really big difference in the overall comfort of your home, and also offer major relief on your energy bill.  
  2. Sunshades are a must and we LOVE the automatic version.  There are many options and colors of shades that are programmable.  Once the sun hits a certain level, the shades come down.  It’s great!  Manual versions are also available and are a bit more cost effective while still offering the savings on the monthly energy bill.  Check out one of our favorite, and very popular, manual sunshades here.
  3. Nest Thermometer! This programmable thermostat learns your habits and saves approximately 15% on your cooling bill. The coolest part is that it can be controlled by your smart phone.
  4. Check out energy rebates and usage programs from SRP, APS and SW gas.
  5. Check your insulation levels.  Having the correct amount of insulation is super important, and at least 90% of AZ households do not have sufficient insulation.  Speak to a professional to determine the appropriate amount of insulation and appropriate R-value. Here’s some more info.
  6. Energy efficient windows are a great investment and will definitely help reduce the energy bill.  When selecting new windows, consider their energy performance ratings with respect to climate and home design.  You can expect at least a 20% savings on your energy bill if not more.
  7. Make sure your “extra” fridge in the garage is up for the challenge.  Higher temperatures can stress it by forcing the motor to run constantly, especially if your garage exceeds 110 degrees.  The energy bill will spike and you run the risk of the machine failing and risking food spoilage.
  8. Service your AC unit ASAP if it has not been regularly maintained.  You’d be surprised how much more efficient a regularly maintained AC unit is and you might even find that it makes sense to upgrade and replace the unit with a higher SEER rating for maximum efficiency.  Be sure to change your AC filters regularly; it may seem small but this helps keep the unit running efficiently.
  9. Speaking of AC units, don’t forget about your ductwork.  This is nearly as important as the unit itself.  Look for sections that should be joined but have separated, and for obvious holes. Don’t want to do the work yourself? Consult a pro.  Ignoring this could mean a 25% to 30% energy loss.
  10. Seal energy leaks around doors, windows, etc.  If you can see the light of day, you are losing energy.  Caulk and/or apply weatherstrip to doors and windows. Caulk to seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets. You can even install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
  11. Moving air is cooler that turning on your air conditioning because it creates quick evaporation of moisture from the skin.  Ceiling fans are found in almost all homes in the Phoenix, AZ area and help create a more comfortable environment by moving air.  Don’t think there’s a fan for you? Ceiling fans come in many styles and colors to fit any design scheme!
  12. Go solar! Solar power popularity is on the rise and you can now either purchase or lease the systems.  There are still several options and incentives available for installing solar panels on top of the already big savings on energy bills.
  13. Upgrade to energy star appliances, and don’t forget the water heater.  These appliances save a ton on energy but they don’t slack on performance.  Upgrade your dishwasher, freezer, refrigerator, washer, dryer and water heater.
  14. Keep the fireplace damper completely closed while not in use!  Consider adding glass doors and keep them closed to increase energy efficiency.  
  15. Planting the appropriate trees in strategic places around your home conserves energy and reduces your energy bills.  Be sure to consult a professional as planting an inappropriate type of tree or placing it in the wrong area can be damaging to some major systems of your home including the roof, foundation and plumbing.
  16. Purchase black out shades or blinds and place on all windows affected by the sun.
  17. Consider purchasing a home with North / South exposure.  This is the most optimal orientation in the Phoenix AZ area.  Search Phoenix area homes for sale here.  

Contact me to discuss your energy efficiency level.  I have great referrals for professionals to help with any of these suggestions and love to get to know MOMs!

 

This house just SOLD! Want to see properties just like it? Click the image or visit: http://bit.ly/2tJVI7v

Katie Halle Lambert
Associate Broker
Team Evolution at 
Revelation Real Estate
480-250-0023
www.EvoAZ.com

4 Simple Tips for Organizing Your Playroom (and Life)

Hi Moms! This is fellow Mom and resident MOMnationAZ professional organizer Katy Krupnik of The Tidy Cottage. I love my kids, I love the way they enjoy their toys, but man toys can be a literal pain in the butt (or feet in the middle of the night).

Read on for tips to create a tidy toy room so those pesky toys stay out from under your feet!

1. Pair Down the Duplicates

We don’t even realize that our kids are playing with a lot of the same toys. Our kids don’t need three types of pretend laptops or four different types of train tracks. In fact, if our kids have only one or two options for each style or type of toy it will be less overwhelming to choose what to play with.

For example, this last year we bought my son a train table and it came with a bunch of little knick-knack wooden trees and signs, some tracks that built a bridge and around a mountain. Then my husband bought a box of different train tracks from a garage sale so they would have plenty to play with. So cool right!? Except it was a pain! My kids would get really frustrated and upset every time that bridge fell apart and they would fight over the wooden knick-knacks, and then the different track pieces would overwhelm them. It was such a frustration for all of us! I did not want to hear them running over complaining about it one more time so I took all of the bridge pieces and knick-knacks and non-wooden tracks away one evening, just to see if they would mention it or miss it. And life went on…with less arguing and running to mom complaining about something breaking or someone stealing a little piece, it was awesome!

Pairing down toys to just their favorites and what they enjoy the most is helpful, it eliminates the clutter and focuses in on what your children want to play with – which brings more peace into the home.

2. Purge the Broken and Worn Down Toys


If the puzzle has missing pieces or the wheels are off the car, it’s time to toss the toy. These are only cluttering the playroom or area and add frustration when played with.

Group “like with like” toys. Similar toys should be kept together. All cars together, all little people toys, music toys together, doctor kits together…etc. This will help your kids to be able to play with one type of toy at a time and make it an easy reset for the whole family. Everyone will know where cars go because they will all be together. It will be very obvious if a toy is misplaced, the car will look very funny next to all of the play food.

3. Clear Containers

If your kids tend to throw everything into baskets or bins, store toys in separate clear containers with lids. Kids can see what they want to play with, take it out and then put it back after they are done. They can’t go back to the habit of tossing toys together.

4. Take the Puzzles Out of The Box.
Take puzzles and memory games out of their boxes and put them in clear pencil pouches or ziplock bags with the cover of the puzzle or memory game cut out and placed in the bag. Then you can put the puzzles and memory games in one basket instead of taking up a whole shelf or area in your home!

I hope these tips help you on your journey to tidy the toy rooms in your life, we as Moms deserve to enjoy the wine at the end of the day without sitting on those pesky toys!

Katy Krupnik
Owner of The Tidy Cottage
www.thetidycottage.com

Want to see more organization and home design inspiration? Follow along @thetidycottage on Facebook and Instagram

The Secret Life of Demoted Fur-babies

Since having kids, especially since having our second baby in January, my interactions with our pets have gone something like this:

“Jack, move. Jack, get out from under my feet!”

“Jack, OMG your farts are gross.”

“Did anyone feed Jack today?” (Jack has had either no dinner or two or three dinners because we couldn’t remember if we had fed him or not, due to “new baby” zombie status).

“Jack. JACK. JAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!”

“The damn cats stole the baby’s bottle nipples again!!”

“Ugh, the damn cat is stuck in the nursery!!” (after we juuuuuuust got the baby to sleep)

*crash*

*random baby toy starts lighting up and signing in the middle of the night*

“DAMN CATS!!!”

Jack is our Boston Terrier, and honestly, he is the most amazing dog ever. I know that every pet owner thinks that about their pets, but seriously… everyone loves Jack. I mean, look at this face! Jack is almost 13. He is old, he is arthritic, he’s going deaf, and he’s generally running out of craps. He is my toddler’s best friend, and he has tolerated a lot of abuse from her as we try to teach her “gentle!” And boy, does he love her come meal time (and I’m happy that I don’t really have to clean my floors).

Before our first human baby, Jack was our fur baby. He went everywhere with us; hiking, visiting friends, shopping, long walks to the park. He was photographed with us in a Santa suit for our family Christmas cards. Every eight weeks he would go to an organic doggy spa and get a blueberry facial, to give you a sense of the lifestyle that Jack was accustomed to.

And then, our first daughter was born. Jack had to learn his new place. Instead of blueberry facials, he was lucky to eat dropped blueberries off the kitchen floor.

Then my husband got the bright idea to “surprise” me with two kittens. He felt compelled to rescue these kittens because they were the same age as our daughter, and because I talked about MAYBE SOMEDAY having two kittens… not necessarily when I was like, completely overwhelmed with being a first-time mother. We are HUGE “Fixer Upper” fans and I always loved how Chip would surprise his family with animals, and perfect Joanna Gaines is all like “Oh, Chip!” and then they’d laugh and teehee… but the reality is, we’re not millionaire farmers with hired help to tend to the animals. We live in a cookie-cutter development with not a lot of land, and I was pissed that I had to rearrange my newly organized laundry room to accommodate this giant, stinking litter box. I shook my first in the air and declared they were my husband’s cats, not mine. I had enough bodies to keep alive!

So naturally, the cats love me and don’t really care too much for my husband.

Jack was sick over the weekend and it was one of those icky situations where I was following him around the house with the carpet cleaner and paper towels in hand, trying to scrub his yellow bile vomit out of our cream-colored rugs (clearly the previous owners didn’t have kids or pets). And when I looked into his sad, aging eyes, I realized… he was our first baby. He needs me right now. And those damn cats, they need some attention too besides my scowling and yelling at them to return the baby’s bottle parts to the kitchen sink.

It was long overdue, but today I decided to use the very limited and precious free time that I had to devote to our pets. After scrubbing the pukey carpets, I made parboiled chicken and white rice for Jack to help his stomach. I also took a few minutes to get down on the floor by him, and really look into his eyes, and scratch his head and neck and just pet him and talk to him.

howtoreconnectwithyourpets

When my longhaired cat, Sesame, jumped on my lap I decided to seize the moment and groom her. It hadn’t been done since my baby was born in January so it was way past due. In these 100-degree temps, she’s been so uncomfortable trying to find the coolest spot in the house to lounge. I brushed what looks like ten pounds of fur off of her, and not only do I live to write about it – she seemed to enjoy it!

The other cat, Nip – well, she’s the unruly one. She killed a moth that was in our house last night so I made it a point to praise her and scratch her neck.

Our home has two girls under two, a dog, and two cats. We are our own circus. And despite my yelling or complaints at our animals, they give us so much love (at least Jack does, the cats do on their own terms… as cats do!). My toddler plays with Jack every day and says goodnight to him every night by leaning down and gently placing her head on his body. And you should hear her giggle when she chases the cats around the house. The baby is just starting to focus her attention on Jack and her face lights up with a smile when he licks her feet. Puke-stained carpets and “DAMN CATS!!!” aside – I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Just don’t tell my husband that.

Tips for Reconnecting with Pets After Baby:

  1. Take a few minutes a day to devote to your first babies. Whether it be an early morning snuggle sesh or a late night rub, a few minutes go a long way!
  2. Remember to not feel guilty – your pets love you just as they always have. There is always an adjustment period!
  3. Have your little ones help with your pet’s maintenance. Include them when brushing and feeding your pets;  this will help your child learn responsibility and will help to form a bond between baby #1 and baby #2.

MOMlife by Courtney Spiak