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.

211arizona.org

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.

Needhelppayingbills.com

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.

Homelessshelterdirectory.org

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.

2hands.org

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!

Turnanewleaf.org

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.

Foodpantries.org

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.

Salvationarmyphoenix.org/locations

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!!

Best Coffee Shops in Arizona

If you’re a MOM you’re most likely also coffee obsessed! Our MOMs are too.  Sure, Starbucks is great (drive-through, hello!) but where can a MOM get away in Arizona to enjoy great coffee, and maybe even a… kid’s play area?  Here are our absolute MOM and pop fave coffee shops around Arizona.

Best Coffee Shops in Arizona

 

Chandler

Peixoto: This shop operates on a supply of Brazilian beans direct from a family-run South American coffee farm.  We love supporting that!

Sozo: Sozo is a huge coffee shop in Chandler that has a stage with open mic nights and live music!  It’s also kid-friendly with a separate toy room for the littles.

Gilbert

Bergies: Aside from the cool downtown Gilbert location, we adore the little rustic cottage and the cute outdoor patio.

Sweetz Cold Brew: Cold brews and vegan-friendly foods here! We also love the layout and high-top bar with plugs for your laptop/phone.

The Coffee Shop: Located in Agritopia in an old, rustic barn… need we say more?

Glendale

Cabin Coffee Cafe: We love the vibe here!! Friendly staff, cozy vibes, great coffee + a kids table.

Rayner’s Chocolate and Coffee Shop: It’s chocolate AND coffee 🙂

Mesa

Jarrod’s Coffee & Tea Gallery: Coffee plus art equals a one of a kind experience in historic downtown Mesa.  

Volstead Public House: Vegan and adult beverage options at this old historic coffee shop located along the light rail.  We LOVE the exposed brick wall and the old wood floors.

Phoenix

The Velo (Roosevelt Row): It’s cyclist-friendly coffee shop! They even boost Sunday social rides and live music on First Fridays. Swoon! 

Where U Bean Coffee (Ahwatukee): Awesome decor and they make an amazing banana pudding!

The Teapot: One of the most family-friendly coffee shops that we’ve ever come across. Inside, there’s a children’s corner with toys and outside, large play structure, bikes, toys, umbrellas for shade. Teapot also has picnic tables and a big community table, making it even more MOM-friendly. We love it!

Scottsdale

Maverick Coffee: Located just south of Shea, Maverick coffee has everything you need to get away and maybe even get some work done: big couches, incredible coffee, yummy pastries, and an ambiance that cannot be beat.

Sip Coffee and Beer House: Get your espresso or coffee infused with a little liquor. Sometimes, when you’re a MOM, there are days for this. 🙂

Tempe

Cartel Coffee Lab: Dedicated to quality and integrity of coffee, this stuff is so good. The beans for every cup of coffee are ground and drip brewed as you order. It’s worth it, but maybe not so kid-friendly.

Gold Bar Espresso:  Great coffee and great pastries.  Sometimes there’s even live jazz!

Got a MOM and pop coffee shop that you love that wasn’t mentioned?  We’d love to know about it.  Please leave your recommendation in the comments!

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

Pools and Splash Pads! An AZ Summertime MUST 🏊🏻

The triple digits have hit.  Our MOMs are meeting up and cooling down in these area “hot” spots:

CHANDLER

Desert Oasis – We love it for the rain drop and spray whale plus the zero depth entry pool with kiddie slide.  There’s also a splash pad!

Mesquite Groves – We love it for the family area/pool with zero depth entry and the lazy river!

GILBERT

Santan Village Mall – The splash pad is very toddler friendly with a soft surface and nearby family restrooms.  We LOVE that!

GLENDALE

Rose Lane Park – We love the zero depth entry pool and awesome splash pad.

MESA

Eastmark Great Park – We love it for the covered splash pad and shaded picnic ramadas.

Golfland Sunsplash – We love it for entertaining the older kids and, of course, the water cannons!

Mesa Aquatic Complex – This facility just opened days ago and the pool and long and lazy river is why we love it!

Riverview Park – The playground is extraordinary and the splash pad is HUGE!  We love that!

PHOENIX

City Scape – We love the splash pad and its ultra urban feel.  Even better that it’s accessible by light rail.

Desert Ridge Marketplace – We love the splash pad location right by AMC movie theatre!

Mountain Vista Park – The Ahwatukee location and the splash pad put this park at the top of our list!

SCOTTSDALE

Scottsdale Quarter – We love that the splash pad is surrounded by awesome shops and great restaurants!

TEMPE

Beach Park at Tempe Town Lake – This splash pad playground is one of the largest in the Valley.  We love all the “water” play equipment!

Kiwanis Recreation Center – We love it for the wave pool!

 

Brought to you by Team Evolution Real Estate and Stafford Cleaning Services

The Postpartum Style Struggle #2

Hey there Mamas!

Okay, so now you’re holding your sweet little bundle of joy, the birth is over, you’re sitting there in your hospital bed, probably still in your gown and now sporting hospital panties and a pad the size of a crib mattress. You’ve never felt more glamorous! Am I right? 😉 Well, now may not be the time for glamour, but it can be the time for comfort and confidence! 

Let’s get practical (and cute!) 

If you’re anything like me, those hospital panties don’t even come close to staying up on their own. Like not even close. So definitely let’s do the pants thing. Stay away from dresses for now, you’ll want everything down there to feel secure and in place. Pants can help. My recommendation for your first “mama outfit” would be leggings and a tunic. Get some soft, stretchy leggings preferably black, (just in case your pad betrays you) and wiggle your jiggle into those. They pull everything together and just hold it there. Now, you look like a toddler in a diaper under your clothes, so make sure the tunic you choose, covers your behind all the way. That way, there’s no lumpy bumps hanging out in the back. 

Oversized tunics are pretty forgiving and hide a lot, so if you’re feeling super self-conscious about your postpartum pancake belly, join the club and throw on something that’s fitted in the bust and flows over the stomach. You can even find tunics that have been engineered to come apart around the boobs for easy access if you’re breastfeeding! Nifty! 

Here’s the nitty-gritty about why this look works:

When you look at the model above, where do your eyes go first? Her boobs? Probably. Let’s face it mamas, if we’re going to try to flaunt our assets (one of which is covered in an adult diaper at the moment), we may as well go for boobs. That’s why we want the tunic to be a bit fitted at the bust. Dressing yourself strategically is all about drawing the eye away from where you don’t want it to go. Don’t want people staring at your belly? Get a tunic fitted in the bust, throw on some cute chunky earrings and if you’re heading out for grocery run, or just out to Target to try to stay sane, some cute flashy flats will also help keep the attention in a long line from head to toe. A tunic with a large print will also minimize your belly. The general rule is: large print= area appears smaller, small print= area appears larger. 

Bottom line here, mama friends, don’t stress about it! This outfit is all about no stress and comfort, which is where you want to be right now. Now go snuggle that sweet squishy little newborn and smell his head for the rest of us. My kids’ heads just smell like dirt and maple syrup now. 

Hugs Mama Friends,

Ashley 

Stylist/Owner 

Metro Image Consulting L.L.C.

www.metroimageconsulting.com

Want me to come help you “Shop Your Closet” and learn to style yourself? Contact me on my website or text: STYLE to 480-296-4851. Be sure to mention MOMnation for a special discount! 

Special thanks to Sarayah Blackburn with Blackburn Photography

How our MOMs Survive on the Surface of the Sun 🌞

It’s getting hot in the Valley of the Sun!!  Our MOMs have great tips, tricks and advice for surviving these next 5 months of heat with kiddos!

At Home:

Most of our Mama’s keep the AC set to 78.  Infants are usually comfortable in thin material pajamas with long pants and sleeves especially those that are too young for bedding.

Drink water!  Keep sipping water all day even if you don’t feel thirsty.  It’s very easy for anyone to get dehydrated during the summer months in the Phoenix area.

Beware of the water that comes out of the faucet.  Both sides will be hot and could be too hot for little hands.  The same goes for the water in the garden hose.  DO NOT let your child use the garden hose without running the water until it’s cool first.  The water that comes out initially will be scalding.

Little feet should have shoes or sandals on at all times.  Even the “kool” decking around the pool is scorching hot in the midday sun.  Wear shoes while walking outside at night as well, even in the back yard.  Scorpions can be found in many areas at night.

Stay away from the bees.  Summertime is bee season in Phoenix and bees could be harmful to people and animals.

For the house, sunscreens for windows and covered patios make a difference in energy efficiency and comfort.

 

In the Car:

Get a car seat cooler.  Popular styles have pockets in the material for four or five ice packs that you place in the seat when it’s not in use.  This usually keeps the car seat cool even if you are parked for several hours.

Use a sun screen in the front window.  It will help keep the car a bit cooler as well as the steering wheel.  If the sun isn’t beating down inside the car, usually the seatbelt buckles aren’t quite so hot.  Do be sure to cover those buckles or keep them in the shade somehow.  They can be branding irons for little kiddos if touched after sitting in the sun.

Get an extension hose/tube for the front AC vent so that the AC can be directed easily and more effectively from the front to the back of the car.  If your car doesn’t have designated AC vents in the back, it could get very hot for your small child / baby.

Always have lots of water!  The new aluminum or stainless steel water bottles keep the water cool even when left in hot cars for hours.

Keep a light jacket or sweater in the car for both Mom and baby.  It can be very cold in stores, restaurants and grocery stores during the summer months.  This can also be used to cover up leather seats when parking in sunny areas.  Leather seats can be very uncomfortable in the heat especially with shorts on!

Never, never ever leave a baby, child or animal in a hot car even for a minute.  The temperatures are extreme and can be very dangerous.

 

Is your AZ home as efficient as it can be?  CONTACT US and ask for a free copy of the “Efficiency Cheat Sheet” for tips on energy efficiency and tricks to maximize the comfort of your home and minimize your energy bill.

Home Maintenance Musts for AZ MOMs! 🏡

It’s so important for our AZ MOMs to keep an eye on these maintenance items regularly. Even renters should be aware!

Have the pest control company that regularly treats your home keep an eye out for signs of termites.  If you see a skinny tube hanging from the ceiling, that could be a termite tube.  They do tend to appear frequently on the stem wall and walls of the garage.

Change your AC filters per the manufacturers suggestions and get the AC unit serviced every spring and the heater serviced every fall.  Watch for signs of draining from the overflow drain pipe, that could mean there is a clog and a large leak could develop.

Keep an eye on the grading around the perimeter of the home.  Ask a landscaper to properly grade the ground around the home periodically.  This ensures the water runs away from the house vs pooling at the foundation.

Cut back trees from overhanging the house.  The debris from the trees could cause water pooling on the roof which could cause leaks and other damage to the roof.  Keep the roof and gutters clean of all landscaping debris.

If there’s a bathroom or other plumbing fixture (like a bar sink) that isn’t used often, run the water for a few seconds every week or so to keep water in the trap and to keep sewer gases and insects from coming into the house through dried up traps/pipes.

Check insulation levels in the attic and add or level as needed.  Check every few years and especially after having work done in the attic.  Be sure that insulation is replaced if disturbed.  This will help with energy efficiency.

Have roof checked every 3 years or so and especially if there appears to be an issue or a leak develops.

Sweep any active chimneys to minimize debris that could potentially cause a fire.  This should be done yearly.

Clean the lint trap on the clothes dryer between each use and clean (vacuum) the dryer vent / hose at least yearly.

Be sure to have anti-siphon devices on exterior hose bibs to keep the water from being disbursed back into the home water system after use.

Some homes do not have the anti-tip device installed at the kitchen stove and that could be very dangerous for a small child.  If you are unsure if yours is installed, pull your stove straight out and look in one of the corners closest to the wall.  The device will be installed at the base of the wall and secured to the floor.  One leg of your stove should slide into it and it will prevent the stove from tipping forward if there is weight put on the open door (like a child standing on the open door).

Check your windows periodically, if there is fog or “sweat” between the panes, there may be a broken seal and the energy efficiency of the window may be compromised.

Have your garage door and opener checked often.  Garage doors and openers can be very dangerous if they aren’t adjusted properly and if the reverse mechanism does not operate.

The access door between the house and the garage should be a fire rated self-closing door.  If it does not close on its own, it’s very important to have it adjusted so it operates appropriately.

Brought to you by Team Evolution Real Estate

Special Delivery!!! What to Bring when it’s BABY TIME!

AGH!  It seems like it took forever yet no time at all and now it’s show time, baby!

Here’s what our local AZ MOMs suggest packing in your overnight bag for the hospital…and psst…pack it early!!


For Baby:

Car seat
Baby Wrap or Carrier 
Wipe Warmer and Wipes
Diapers / Cloth Diapers
Boppy

Clothes / Onesies
Swaddle Blanket

For Mom:

Comfy Clothes 
Snacks / Bottled Water
Coins for Vending Machine
Toiletries – Don’t forget a Brush and Mascara
Comfy, Lightweight Robe
Socks and Slippers
Headphones
Ponytail Holder
Deodorant
Comfy Granny Panties
Long, Thin Overnight Pads
Essential oils 
Nursing Bra
Nipple Cream

Postpartum Padsicles
iPad / Magazines / Games
Sleeping Mask and Ear Plugs
Pillow and Blanket
Chapstick
Baby Book

Dads need a bag too!!  You’ll be tired.  You’ll appreciate being as prepared as possible and that will hopefully eliminate tasks so Dad doesn’t have to leave the hospital and you can maximize the time you have together as a new family with the nurses around for help.

Here’s what Dad will need:

Snacks
Sleeping Mask and Ear Plugs
Headphones
Phone Charger
Change of Clothes
Deodorant

Congrats Mama!!

Lakes, Parks and Picnics! Our Local AZ MOMs Love these Special Spots 🎣

Spring has sprung and the weather here in the Phoenix area is GORGEOUS!  Time to enjoy it while we have it, right?  Our local MOMs love these locations …perrrrfect for picnics and close to home. You’ll be lakeside in minutes!

WE LOVE Veterans Oasis Park!  There is a huge community fishing lake, a tortoise viewing area, waterfalls, a butterfly and hummingbird habitat, a play area and miles of trails to explore.  You won’t believe this is in Chandler!

Desert Breeze Lake in Chandler offers a play area, walking trails, a splash pad, carousel/train rides, covered picnic areas and a Hummingbird Habitat.

Dobson Ranch Park in West Mesa is all new and some sections are toddler friendly.  There is a lake, shaded picnic areas, a play area and basketball courts.

Located near the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden, Papago Park  offers a variety of family fun. Enjoy extensive trails through the sandstone buttes, the archery range, 1.7 mile exercise course and almost 8 acres of fishing lagoons.  It’s also only 10 minutes from downtown Phoenix!

Red Mountain Park in Northeast Mesa is a popular favorite!  The drive in has gorgeous mountain views and the HUGE park (over 1,000 acres) offers sport courts, covered play areas, covered picnic areas, walking trails and a fishing lake.

Discovery Park in Gilbert offers two fishing lakes, sport courts, swings and a climbing rock play area, covered picnic areas, a butterfly garden and a “learning” path.  They even have equestrian trails!

Riverview Park in Northwest Mesa offers a fishing lake, a splash pad and a HUGE playground with a 50 foot tall Genesis climbing tower and a 60 foot long caterpillar mesh rope climbing structure.  There are shaded picnic areas and shaded playground clusters for the little kiddos too starting at age two!

Encanto Park in downtown Phoenix is nestled right up against the golf course and offers a fishing lake, a playground, sport courts, a swimming pool, paddle boat rentals and Enchanted Island Amusement Park!

Surprise Lake in Surprise offers fishing, a playground, sports fields, a dog park and a swimming pool.

*Most locations prohibit feeding the wildlife for their safety and yours.  Please make sure you check the rules of each location before approaching or feeding the wildlife*

Our List of Local Farms that offer lots of Family Fun 🐄

We just recently experienced Schnepf Farms for an awesome birthday party and it was great inspiration to check out a few others.  Here are our kid friendly local favorites!

From weddings to birthday parties to on the spur of the moment family adventures, Schnepf Farms is a great destination for all ages.

The Farm at Agritopia offers free tours of the Farm on the 3rd Wednesdays of each month at 10:00 am rain or shine.  Have lunch at Joe’s Farm Grill or a coffee at the Coffee Shop too!

Peaches N’ Play 2017 sounds like a really good time!  It’s one of many events happening at Vertuccio Farms.

Petting zoo, parties, weddings and farmers markets, Superstition Farms  offers farms tours as well as eggs and dairy products for sale.

Cooking classes, yoga, a cafe and more at the Farm at South Mountain.

Tours are also offered at Crooked Sky Farms!  2-year-old’s and under are free.

Tolmachoff Farms is seasonal and open from November 15 – December, February – May.  Tours include “you pick” areas, train rides, farm animals, pumpkin patch and corn maze.

Caywood Cotton Farms offers tours! Reservations required!

The Queen Creek Olive Mill offers tours and olive oil tastings.  The restaurant on-site is a MUST!  Make sure you save room for lunch!

Feed the critters at the Rooster Coburn Ostrich Ranch!  Be sure to catch the Monster Truck tours that take you through the Ranch.

Brought to you by TeAM evolution real Estate