Traveling With Kids Part 1: Passports

 

Does the thought of traveling with kids give you hives or make you giddy with excitement… for me, it’s a little of both!

There have been many MOMnation posts asking questions about traveling with kids, so we hope to tackle a few of these common questions in the blog!  The first one is asked often: When Do You Need a Passport and Where?  And how do you get one?

Perhaps the best advice I’ve ever heard, from a fellow East Valley Mom, was to not call all trips vacations, even if it is “Spring Break” or “vacation time.” Some trips are just trips…. A lot of packing, travel, effort – worth it, but NOT relaxing.  Some trips are vacations and time to have fun, unwind, relax.  The MOST important thing to enjoy and survive a trip with kiddos is to manage your expectations of what the trip will be.  And…. Plan more vacations and fewer trips!

After over 100 flights with littles, hauling baby gear, breast pumps, strollers, so many security searches, and dealing with sea sickness and kiddo barf in a rental car (longest, smelliest 7 hour drive EVER… ironically – one of the most memorable)!  I can say emphatically, manage expectations and that will make your trip and your kids’ experiences much better.  And, I can’t say this enough, you never EVER have to make “I’m sorry for my toddler” bags for people around you on planes, unless the guy with the tuna sandwich or snapping gum plans to give you one too. Families have a right to travel and fly, and to do it without hassle from other travelers OR mom-guilt.

On to passports: Laws have changed over the years and the enforcement of passport rules can vary by area/checkpoint. But the State Department has clear rules (as do other countries) about what must be presented, and it seems enforcement has gotten more strict at the border since we were kids.  Even if you have heard, my friend said she didn’t have to show her license, even…. last time we went a few years ago, etc. It is always best to recheck both the State Department current guidelines and travel advisories before leaving the country.  It’s also important to note, this advice pertains to short trips, not long stays in countries that may require Visas and other documents.  You should always check the State Department for the specific requirements of the country you are traveling to.

Travel advisories are important as well.  They are advice.  In very few countries does the State Department actually prohibit travel, but you should know before you go.  If there are travel warnings, you must be aware and make a conscious choice to still take the trip.  We recently traveled overseas with a large group, including many kids, to a country that had an active advisory.  We went with a plan to be very observant, clear rules for adults and kids about safety, and stayed in tourist-friendly and “safe” areas.  We also signed up and registered our travel with the State Department so they could alert us in the event of any activity, and I’m glad we did.  The trip went well but I was glad we had the information before we left and to know we would be alerted in the event of a security concern.

Here are the details on land/air/sea travel and what you need for documents:

For Mexico:

If traveling by land you can use a passport card.  This is the size of a driver’s license, but NOT a driver’s license. Few places now accept only a driver’s license to reenter the U.S., and there are no guarantees that even if you did a year ago or years ago, you will be allowed back in the country.  If you plan to visit Mexico by land, get a passport card or passport.

The passport card allows for re-entry ONLY FROM LAND from Mexico, Canada, and sea port re-entry from the Caribbean or Bahamas.

If traveling by air even to Mexico or another country, you will MUST get a passport book.  These are more expensive but far more useful/used for more purposes, and also can be used for a variety of identity verifications in business and life.

Due to increased regulations, there is no guarantee that a driver’s license will allow re-entry into the country, or a birth certificate for a child.  I highly recommend not taking the risk.  Some will disagree with me, but after reading some of the stories from moms who have been stopped at the border, I highly recommend getting passports for ANY travel outside the country.  Due to the increase in child trafficking, border crossings are doing much more screening for this and it is important to be able to prove the relationship with your child (which is what a passport provides).

For air travel INSIDE the country, you do NOT need a passport, you need a state approved and AIR approved ID and I usually take my kids’ birth certificates or passports.  I have NEVER in 100+ flights been asked for this traveling domestically but I like to have it with me just in case.  Arizona licenses are only good through October 1, 2020 (next year!) for air travel.  Then you will need an air-approved ID or passport.  I recommend just getting a passport.

To obtain a passport card or passport, there are multiple requirements.  I recommend filling out the paperwork at home, getting the photos at CVS or Walgreens, and then presenting this packet at a local office (there are many in Phoenix Metro area).  This ensures that your documents are all in order and speeds up the process.  To obtain a passport or passport card for a child, both parents must be present or have a signed affidavit from the second parent – in order to avoid parents taking a child out of the country in a custody battle.  You need a birth certificate to prove citizenship and parent relationship, the other parent or a document giving consent, and passport-approved photos for the child.

If you need a passport quickly, there is a Tucson passport office that has fast-track appointments available and passports within two-weeks or even the same day in the event of a (provable) life-or-death emergency – i.e. a family member with a grave illness, etc.  Information below.

There are many passport expediting agencies that claim to get your passport faster.  I used one of these when I lived in D.C.  It did make the paperwork slightly less overwhelming but I found out I could have done the exact same thing for far less cost, and had it expedited as well, just applying myself.

Expedited service is usually within two weeks (barring a government shutdown), and regular service within four.  However, I requested expedited and received mine in just over a week.  You must send off original documents with the application, so be aware of that and watch for them to come back!  My best advice is plan travel as far as possible ahead and apply early for your passport!

Here is how to determine what passport/passport card you need:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport/card.html

Here is the information on the Tucson location (you do NOT need to go here to expedite service, only if you need the passport for an emergency or trip in less than 2 weeks): https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/requirements/where-to-apply/passport-agencies/western.html

Applying for a Passport for Children, rules vary for under 16 and 16/17 year olds:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport/under-16.html

Cost to obtain a passport card is $50-65, about half of the passport fee ($115-$145), rates vary based on renewals/new, adult/child.  Expediting fee is $60 per passport on top of the usual fees:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/requirements/fees.html

Where to Apply:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/requirements/where-to-apply.html

Check the State Department for safety advisories:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html

Travel advice, and registration for traveler advisories:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html

by: Liz D, Tempe Mom

 

Check out this awesome LIKE new home – 5 bedroom / 3 bath with pool in tempe! 
This and more at EvoAZ.com

 

 

 

#MOMlife is a Reality 👩‍👧‍👦

MOMnation is more than a village, more than a tribe, it’s a one stop shop for MOMs and it takes a lot of passion, talent and commitment to maintain.  In our new reality show, meet the MOMs that keep it all going and together while doing the same with their families, households and businesses.

Katie, Jessica, Jeni, Emilie and Nicole are founding members.  Catch a sneak peek into the inner operations of the group and the private lives of the MOMs that make it all work in season 1 of Inside MOMnation.

In episode 1, you’ll meet the 5 of us.  Catch an insiders view on our VERY popular signature event, Find your Soul MOM Speed Dating and an insiders view of a day in the life of Nicole as she works the family biz while killing in at #MOMlife…also, her very heartfelt share on her very first son, her rainbow baby.


In episode 2, you’ll get to know Jessica just a little bit better. Jess is the party planner, pro photographer extraordinaire and MOM of 4 that pulls off the most epic, fun parties and events like the Original Find your Soul MOM Speed Dating event and the annual Prom for MOMnation.

Stay tuned for episode 3…

Brought to you by Team EvoAZ at eXp Realty.  Filmed and edited by Brooke Johnson.

My Delicious but Low Sugar Holiday Treats for Kids!

Most Holidays bring with them a deluge of sugary treats. While most treats can be enjoyed in moderation it can be difficult to not over indulge. So I thought I would put together some Tips for having a delicious and fun Holiday without the high refined sugar overload.

Christmas Cookies!
Making cookies for the Holidays is a big tradition in many households. There are plenty of options that are refined white sugar free. Here are some delicious recipes that I found on Pinterest but there are countless others if you just do a quick search. Santa will thank you as he works late into the night!

Two Ingredient Cookies Plus Mix-ins

Sugarless Low Calorie Sugar Cookies

Cinnimon Maple Meringues

Coconut Almond Cookies

Vermont Maple No-Bake Cookies

 

Christmas Stockings!
Stockings can be a big refined white sugar source. If your child is already used to getting candy in their stocking and you don’t want to eliminate it cold turkey I recommend putting in one or two candy treats but then filling the rest with small toys and activities. The Dollar Tree is a great source of inexpensive kids items as well as stockings themselves, if you don’t already have one. They have puzzles, race cars, stickers, craft items, nail polish, you name it. Just try to avoid the candy isle…

Don’t forget the Pie!
My go to pie recipes are Apple and Blueberry. And both can be done without too much added sugar. I feel that fruit pies don’t need very much extra sugar as the cooked fruit already has a ton of delicious natural sweetness of its own. My favorite apple pie recipe is by Chef Chloe which you can find here. Her recipe does call for refined white sugar but you could easily reduce the amount or substitute it with Agave or any favorite sugar substitute. And as for the blueberry pie I found this recipe that I altered, instead of using ¾ cup of granulated sugar I use ¼ cup of agave syrup. Its delicious and goes great with vanilla ice cream and to keep the sugar down you could make “nice”cream using frozen bananas, vanilla, maple or agave syrup and almond milk blended until smooth.

Apple Pie tip: Make sure you peel all of your apples, it plays a big role in the final texture of the pie.

Blueberry Pie Tip: The above recipe calls for 5 cups of fresh blueberries setting aside 2 cups. 3 cups are cooked down and then at the end you add the final 2 cups of fresh blueberries which gives a nice burst of fresh flavor with each bite. Fresh blueberries can be a bit pricey so what I do is I buy a big bag of frozen blueberries and use 3 cups frozen for cooking and then just buy two cups of fresh blueberries to help reduce the cost.

Apple and Blueberry Pie Tip: You can make your own crust from scratch, buy store bought that is ready to go into your pie dish or if you don’t have a pie dish they also have crusts that are already in a disposable dish ready to bake.

I hope you like these tips and I hope they help you to get through the Holidays a little healthier but still keeping it delicious. For more refined white sugar free recipes head over to my Blog at PineappleAspirations.com.

by: Crystal Koel

SPend Christmas in an awesome new home like this 5 bedroom / 3 bath with pool in tempe! 
This and more at EvoAZ.com

Kid Friendly Holiday Craft by Banks Craft Co ☃️

Need a cute, kiddo friendly craft to keep your littles occupied and in the holiday spirit?  Here’s are a few awesome craft ideas brought to you by Banks Craft Co! 

Hand/footprint Wreath Supplies:

Square canvas
2 different green acrylic paint colors
Red acrylic paint
Letter stickers or marker to write on the canvas
Ribbon

STEPS:

Draw a circle with pencil. You can use a bowl of any kind to get that perfect circle.

Start handprints with one color green. Going around the circle but leaving enough room for the other color green (see image).

Next start the other color green. You can do all hands or all feet or a combo of both. Since we did 2 kids we did the younger ones feet & the older kid hands.

Add red paint circles for the “berries”. You can use a finger or pencil end.

Once dry you can add your stencil letters.

Using a hot glue gun, glue the ribbon to the canvas and enjoy!

“Let it snow” Snowman supplies:

Any size canvas
Any color finger paint
White, black and orange acrylic paint
Stencil letters

STEPS:
Let the kids finger paint the background!

Once dry apply white paint to the bottom of your kiddos foot and make footprints.

Add the snowman details with a small paint brush.

Add stencil letters.


Reindeer and/or Christmas Tree supplies:

Any size canvas depending on if you want to do both or just one design

Green, red, brown, yellow, black acrylic paint

Letter stickers

STEPS:
Using footprints arrange the desired design on the canvas.

Once dry add the details to the design you choose.

Apply stickers.

We hope you enjoy making these cute crafts with your little ones.  Keep an eye on our page, at Banks Craft Co, for more kid friendly and MOMs night out crafts!

 

LOVE AZ and want to start building your investment portfolio?  Good idea.  Call Katie with Team EvoAZ at 480-250-0023 as ask how YOU can get started.

MOMnationAZ ROCKS the World kickoff at the Tempe Festival of the Arts 🎨

MOMnationAZ participated in the super popular Tempe Festival of the Arts this past weekend and hundreds of kids flooded the booth to join in the two free art projects provided by awesome volunteers from our awesome local MOMs group

We met thousands of visitors over the weekend and enjoyed booth after booth of local art, live musicians, food trucks and, of course, the fun and interactive booths in the Kids Block.

MOMnationAZ offered free nature crafts and rock painting to kids of all ages along with a goodie bag chock full of freebies, trinkets and toys for the kiddos.

Rock paint artists were free to take their rock home to enjoy forever or were invited to join us at MOMnationAZ Rocks the World, a Facebook group following the travels of our painted rocks.

 

The instructions on the back of each rock read, “Post a pic on MOMnationAZ Rocks the World Facebook page and re-hide”.  If you see one of our rocks during your travels throughout the Valley, take a pic and post it to MOMnationAZ Rocks then re-hide.  Lets see how far these colorful rocks travel!

 

Join us at MOMnationAZ Rocks the World!  Just paint a rock, add the tag on the back, post a pic and hide it! 

Looking for a NEW, gated home in the heart of Gilbert?  This one is highly upgraded and ready for YOU!

Family Friendly Camping in Northern AZ

The idea of camping is vastly different to each of us.  If you have spent time camping as a child, it can have a Christmas/holiday type excitement.  Then, as you start to drift back down from reminiscing, logic and reality spark.  How many diapers do we need?  Did we pack toys?  When should we leave so that nap is not interrupted?  Do we have enough room?  Will we be warm or too cold?  The list goes on…

When camping with kids it’s always easier and more fun to go with other friends who have kids because it takes a village..lol  This will allow the kids to have a blast while entertaining each other, creating memories and exploring nature.  It will also give you the time needed to unplug from the trenches of parenthood and drink a beer with your fellow soldiers.

This was our first camping trip as a family and we decided to rent an RV.   We used RV rental outlet in Mesa AZ.  They were awesome and very easy to deal with.  Most of our friends have pop-up campers.  We realized, after renting an RV, that it’s nice to be able to disconnect from the pop-up and have a vehicle to go into town and or explore some trails.  We later purchased a pop-up because of this and a few other reasons.

Where to go?  Are you trying to escape the heat? It was helpful to check the weather in the area that you are thinking of visiting.

In AZ you usually want to be above 6,000 feet in elevation to get 70/80s when its 105+ in valley.  Most of lower lying areas like Payson and Prescott still hit 100s during the day in the summer.  This can make things the opposite of fun quickly.

We decided to go to a campground, Yavapi Campground to be exact, that requires reservations, has bathrooms, is closer in proximity to town and is 3 hours or less from Phoenix.  Keep in mind that cell service can be non-existent in some of these areas.  If you have a job that requires checking in, this could  make or break your true relaxation.  Research the options for connecting to ensure that you can connect when needed but still enjoy the feeling of being disconnected.   Verizon service was the strongest and existent in many areas while AT&T had no service anywhere at the campground.

When to go?  Make sure to check availability especially if traveling on a holiday.  Campsites fill up quickly and most are reserved for holidays 30+ days in advance.

The drive up to Yavapai was super simple from Phoenix.  Mostly I17.  Consider the traffic going north on Fridays and south on Sundays.  It’s best to hit the road before 3pm or after 6pm.

Yavapai Campground is 10 minutes from downtown Prescott, food & supplies.  It is less than 1.5 miles from Lynx Lake.  It’s within walking distance to the campground but beware, it’s downhill to the lake but uphill all the way back.  It might be best to take the car if you have little littles.

 

The next thing we did was make a “to do” list a few days in advance, listing all supplies from clothes (be sure to include warm clothes for nighttime) to household supplies like dish soap, paper towels and garbage bags.  We planned to make and eat most of our meals at the campground so the list continued with cooking supplies, food, snacks, cookware and storage supplies.  Of course, we could not forget the most important part, S’mores supplies!!  We did work out a “meal share” plan with our friends which basically means each family is in charge of one meal feeding the entire clan.  We each took our turn and it worked out great!

We had a great time and would fully recommend this campground to anyone looking for family friendly Prescott camping areas.

 

 

Matt Lambert is a local Realtor, super Dad and lover of the great outdoors. Find out more about Matt at EvoAZ.com.

 

Want to live close to the great outdoors but still be close to the freeway system and work?  Located at Val Vista and McKellips, this 4 bedroom home is not only affordable but in a great location, just a quick drive to the lake or mountains!  Details here or call 480-250-0023.

 

 

Lou Learns to Adult: Communication Basics!

Why does Lou need to “learn to adult”?  This sounds like a silly question, and it probably is, but by answering it you’ll get to know more about me, where I’m coming from and why I need to learn how to adult at this age.

I was born a very long time ago in a small town in Ontario, Canada.  My cousin, JP, was my best friend. We were born 40 days apart. He’s older.  We even went to kindergarten together. And then we left that town and my best friend behind because my birth father, or “sperm donor” as I call him, was not a very good person.  My Mom, older sister, younger brother and I moved a province over to a slightly bigger, small town in Manitoba, Canada.

 

I went to a Catholic elementary school for grades 1-6.  I made many good friends and was quite happy. Then my Mom met my Dad (Step Dad technically, but he adopted us and raised us, so he’s my real Dad).  Again, we packed up everything we knew and moved to a city a couple hours away. Keep in mind, computers hadn’t really been invented yet, so I didn’t get to keep in touch with all my friends on social media.  

I had a sister join the family when I was 14 years old.  She will never live down the fact that every time I babysat her, and told her to do something she would utter, “You’re not the boss of me”.  Surprisingly, I still like her.

I struggled starting Middle School in a new city and a new school that happened to be several times bigger than I was used to, and I not so gradually took a wrong turn.  It just got worse in High School. I made bad decisions and ended up dropping out of High School in my last year.

 

 

 

Luckily, a few years later, my Aunt went back to get her GED and I decided to join her.  It turns out that I graduated from the same High School as The Man, in the same year. We just didn’t know each other yet.  My GED classes were at night. And I was “significantly” older.

I got the odd job, mostly retail, and I actually enjoyed working with people.  Even though a healthy portion of them did not play well with others. I had no desire to continue my education formally.  At that moment. I lived with my then boyfriend and our cats. After my seven and a half year relationship ended when I was 25, I kinda crashed for a bit.  But then I started to learn how to be alone, how to do things for myself.

Early the following year, I met my knight in shining armor, The Man, and he wanted to take care of me from our very first date.  I had no problem letting him. It was hard to be an adult and I felt that six months of it was enough for me. We got married a year and a half after meeting (on a date that I had picked out three months after meeting).  I went to college for “Studies in Special Needs Child Care” because I was passionate about those sweet souls. A few months later, The Man got a job offer in Oregon. We had to take the chance for an adventure.

An adventure it was….

I was a “Stay at Home Wife” for the first three years of living in Oregon.  I didn’t have permission from the Government to work. Since it was the Government telling me that, I didn’t want to risk it, so I didn’t really do much work around the house either.  And then I became a “Stay at Home Mom” and had a different excuse to not do much around the house.

Fast forward to twenty-two years later, and I’m wondering why I can’t do much for myself.  This is not to blame The Man at all. He took care of me out of love and I let him out of laziness.    

Maybe there’s something about seeing the big 5-0 looming in the not-so-distant future that makes one think, “What am I doing with my life?”  It could be the fact that the kids are getting older and I want them to do more around the house. Or maybe it’s the constant arguing about someone not being able to rely on the other someone with important matters.  Maybe. We may never know.

Either way, it’s time that I learn how to “adult”.

Let’s start with a topic that is very personal to me.  Talking on the phone. I absolutely hate talking on the phone.  Hate! At one point, the voicemail on my cell phone said, “Hi, it’s Lou.  Are you sure you can’t just text me?” I hate calling my family just as much as I hate calling the IRS.  No offense to them, but my family is crazy.

I think part of the reason is that I have a bad memory, so any time I talk on the phone, there is no record of it that I can refer back to.  Another reason, and one that explains why I like to write instead of talk, is that I can’t think quickly on my feet. I need time to digest what was said to me and how I want to respond.  I need to be able to edit my thoughts, and doing that while on the phone just leaves awkward silences. But, in order to be a grown-up I need to do this, so I will practice. Before I make a call, I’m going to practice what I want to say.  I may even make notes.  

Once you get up the courage to make a call, what are some ways to do it properly?  

For example, if you are calling a business about a job that you just applied for, try this; “Hello, my name is Adam Adult.  I’m calling to speak to the manager about an application I submitted” Sounds way better than, “Ummm, can I, like, talk to the manager”.

Another pointer, that I have to mention to my kids constantly, is how to answer a phone.  Say, “Hello”. Could it get any easier? Even a quick, “Hi” would suffice. Stop picking up the phone (and for those in this century, pressing the button to answer the phone) without saying something!

Next up we should discuss communicating with people face to face.  That tends to happen in real life, too. You need to make a good first impression when meeting someone new.  When speaking with someone in person, do your best to look them in the eye. I know for some people it’s hard to do, but it’ll get easier the more you do it.  Use a firm grip when you’re shaking someone’s hand. There’s nothing worse than limp hand. So gross. And stand up, for Pete’s sake. When they are speaking, listen.  Don’t listen to interrupt and respond. Listen to hear what they’re saying. This actually goes for every time a person is speaking to you. When you’re with someone, a nice thing to do is to ask them questions about themselves.  It’s not all about you. No one wants to sit there and listen to you talking non-stop. Trust me.

Now that you’ve practiced speaking to a real human in real life, the obvious next step is to speak in public.  Yes, in front of a group of real humans.  This is going to take a lot of practice for some people. Some people just have a natural ability to speak in public.  Those people must be wizards. It’s just not normal. But we’re learning.

Step one, and I think the most important, for speaking in public would have to be knowing something.  Please educate yourself on the subject. And then maybe learn a bit more, just to be safe. Practice what you know until you’re confident on the subject matter and what you want to say.

Hooray!  You’ve survived your speech, now what?  I’m sure you’ll be surrounded by many adoring fans.  If you don’t know them, you can introduce yourself. It’s true.  Look ‘em in the eye and say, “Hi, I’m Gloria Grown-up, it’s nice to meet you”.

 

 

 

What happens if you have two people that you know, but they don’t know each other?  Don’t panic! Introduce them. There’s no stopping you now. They say that you’re supposed to speak to the “more important” person first.  So, you’d have to say, “More Important Person, I’d like you to meet Other Person. Other Person, this is More Important Person”. But, that sounds so archaic.  Maybe just pick the person you know the best or have known the longest and do it that way.

Now get out there and be a good grown-up!!  

Learn more about Lou from her blog at LouLearnsToAdult.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving?  Visit EvoAZ.com for current and upcoming homes for sale, perks for sellers, local info and more.

This perfect little mid century modern, 1950’s home located in West 2nd Historic District in Mesa is cuter than cute and in a killer location.

 

7 Keys to a Relationship that Lasts a Lifetime

We all work hard to find the one.  The person who completes us, then what?  We live happily ever after in a blissful state of union of course.  This is what we’ve learned from fairy tales and Hollywood.  I hate to burst your bubble but life can be messy and even great relationships have challenges at different times.

Whether you’re married or in a long-term relationship how do you ensure your love endures a lifetime?  We have some tips that are essential to maintaining an amazing healthy relationship that stands the test of time.

  1. Get to know yourself. The Japanese say you have three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show to your close friends, and your family. The third face, you never show anyone. It is the truest reflection of who you are.  How can someone else know you if don’t know yourself.  We love personality tests and some of our favorites are below with links to FREE tests.

Enneagram Test has nine different personality types to help you understand yourself better and encourage personal growth.

16 Personalities is based upon Myers-Briggs with 16 personality profiles that provide a description of who you are and why you do things the way you do.

  1. Get to know your partner. We mean really get to know your partner. Their authentic true self. We highly encourage you both to take the personality tests together and compare results.  This makes a great date night too.                                                                   
    Another resource for connection is Intuitive Development.  We’ve taken every class at Intuitive Development and there are two classes we highly recommend.  The first is Understanding Emotional Patterns to learn how to manage conflict resolution by identifying your emotions.  The other is Defining Bottom Lines with an emphasis on how communication is the cornerstone of all successful relationships. You will also identify your bottom lines and determine the most important elements for you in relationship.  Identifying these things for yourself will provide clarity and more stability in your partnership.
  1. What’s your love language? Have you taken the free assessment for The Five Love Languages?  This is based on the book by Gary Chapman. The 5 love languages are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts, Physical Touch and Quality Time.   Most people enjoy many of these in relationship but we all have a primary love language that fills up the emotional bank account. We are all usually very good at demonstrating our own love language.  For example my love language is Words of Affirmation so I’m usually good at writing love notes, text messages or verbally telling Marty how much he means to me.  Marty’s primary love language is Acts of Service.  So he is always doing things for me like getting me coffee in the morning or calling me on his way home to see if I need anything.  While I love the things he does for me and he appreciates my generous words of how amazing he is, we both long for love to be expressed to us in our Love Language.  With this awareness we are both able to reciprocate in our partner’s primary love language.  This enhances our relationship immensely.
  2. Communication is so important in relationship. In her book, Hold Me Tight, Dr. Sue Johnson’s work utilizing Emotionally Focused Therapy (“EFT”) talks about how our communication can either push us apart or bring us closer together.  For example, if your partner says you really pissed me off, more than likely this will cause a fight or flight scenario.  It will certainly not bring you closer together.  However, by determining the underlying reason for the anger and then communicating the issue to your partner in a softer more loving way will allow the message to be heard and more receptive.   By digging deeper and working together, we can communicate what really caused the anger that typically has an underlying feeling of hurt and being unlovable.  Sharing these feelings together will likely draw you closer together instead of further apart.
  3. Common Interests are really important. While it’s ok to each have your own activities and hobbies you may do alone or with friends, it’s also imperative to have things you do together.  One of our favorite rituals is reading the daily message in the Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo.   We also take regular walks or bike rides together in the morning.  Find some regular activities that you enjoy doing together; maybe take a dance class together or our new fave activity, AcroYoga.
  4. Date Nights are imperative and you just can’t have too many. Especially if you’re a parent, it’s vitally important to make time for yourself and as a couple.  Remember to be an example to your children of what a great relationship looks like.  We can’t stress this enough.

We also recommend the 90-Day FFR Challenge.  Plan just one surprise date for your partner once a month for three months.  EFT therapist, Dr. Lisa Gold shared that most of her clients have forgotten how to have fun together.  Having fun connects you as a couple.  You are reminded why you fell in love with your partner all over again.

  1. Gratitude for the little things. We can easily take things for granted that our partner says or does for us.  When Marty started bringing me coffee every morning and turning on my work computer I was smitten.  However, since he’s been doing this for over a year now it’s easy for me to transition this to an expectation that he’ll do this for me every morning rather than a kind gesture. Be sure to acknowledge the things your partner does for you, even if they’ve been doing it for years.  Try to see your love with fresh eyes every day.

While relationships are work they are so rewarding when you are in good one.  Our hope is that you have an amazing relationship that will last a lifetime and that you never settle for one that’s just good enough.

 

Dana Lam, with Fun Fantasy Ritual 
Inspiring Surprise, Adventure and Excitement in Your Relationship

FunFantasyRitual.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinking about a move?  This awesome Tempe home has a pool, RV parking, is the largest lot in the neighborhood AND is super close to the zoo… like walking distance 😮

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Fall service you must do on your AC unit in Arizona 🍁

Before you know it, fall will be upon us. That means that you have to prep your home’s air conditioning for this cooler season. Check out these tips from Armer Air Heating & Air Conditioning LLC:

Invest in draft snakes to prevent warm air from seeping out and vice versa.

Re-caulk gaps and repair weather-stripping on windows, piping, and foundation to save money on heating.

Change the air filter to alleviate autumn allergens and pathogens.

Call an expert to clean vents.

Run fans clockwise to reduce heating costs.

Lower temperature of water heater to around 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

Insulate pipes.

Schedule an HVAC maintenance check-up. To avoid emergencies and costly, unexpected repairs and replacements, this phone call should be made seasonally (every 3 to 4 months). For the fall, a professional should perform the following tasks on the central system:

Clean air ducts.

Check for correct amount of refrigerant.

Test for and seal leaks in ducts.

Measure evaporator coil’s airflow.

Verify correct electric control sequence.

Inspect electric terminals, and clean and tighten connections.

Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear.

Check thermostat’s accuracy.

Change your thermostat settings. When you change your clocks, change the temperature settings on your air conditioner’s thermostat, too. With cooler temperatures, you should increase or decrease the temperature based on your comfort.

Run the heat. The first time you turn on the heat for the fall, it’ll smell. Usually, that burnt smell is dust that’s settled on the heating components over the last few months of being stagnant. It’ll go away quickly and, if the heat doesn’t come on, call an HVAC professional.

Clean or replace your air conditioning unit’s air filter. Regularly clean and/or replace your air conditioning unit’s air filters about once a month (and always during the change of season). This routine cuts down on allergens and pathogens in your home and reduces your energy bill between 5 and 15 percent.

Remove natural debris from around the condenser unit. By the end of summer, dirt, grime, weeds, and leaves build up around the condenser unit. This can potentially disrupt clean airflow and hinder the efficiency of your HVAC system during cold weather.

Use a hose to remove all natural debris and clip overgrown grass. You should also rake any grass clippings, leaves, or weeds.

Clean your unit’s coils. The air conditioner’s evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over the summer months from your lawnmower (and through the fall as the leaves change). This dirt reduces airflow and can cause your A/C unit to absorb heat. Clean the exterior area around the coils and remove any debris.

Shut off the unit’s power. Shutting off the unit’s power averts any risk of condenser damage if someone accidentally switches the thermostat setting to “cool” during the fall. Look for a shut-off box on the exterior wall near your condenser unit and flip the switch inside.

Tip: Next spring, don’t forget to turn the power back on 24 hours prior to using the A/C unit.

Add extra insulation. Use foam pipe covers around the air conditioning unit’s exposed pipes and wiring, particularly those that go into your home. You can also use duct tape to keep the foam insulation in place and to stop pipes from freezing and cracking.

Brought to you by Armer Air Heating and Air Conditioning 
Contact us for questions, AC inspections and maintenance.
(480) 290-2977 – armerair@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

View this and other very cool homes for sale

 

 

 

 

 

Brought to you by Team EvoAZ at Revelation Real Estate 

Raising Confidence and Dealing with Rejection – Why Modeling is not what it Seems! 📸

The saying goes ‘things aren’t always what they seem’ and the same can be said about modeling and the modeling industry. Primarily the perception is that modeling is glamorous, easy, very well paid, and that’s not even mentioning the fact that models are not exactly known for their grey matter! However, none of that is necessarily the truth. In actual fact modeling, and being in the modeling industry, can teach a ton of great life skills many overlook.

Do you want your kids to understand good hygiene, posture, manners and etiquette? Do you want your kids to learn social and communication skills? How about geography, persistence, delaying gratification or learning how to cope with rejection? And do not forget having a healthy self image, good listening skills, know how to be safe online, consequences of actions, and probably your favorite, the importance of sleep so the kids go to bed early!  Yes… More Than Modeling camps, and the modeling industry, really can teach all of the aforementioned!

Let’s take the emotionally painful issue of rejection. Nobody likes to be rejected or rebuffed, however, rejection is something all children, and adults, need to face numerous times in life. Models deal with rejection (usually of their personal appearance) on an almost daily basis. For every 100 or so jobs they may cast/audition for they may only get booked once or twice. Thus models become adept at dealing with rejection more so than the average person. The principles on how you deal with that rejection are the same for models, and in fact anyone. Children, tweens and teens can sometimes suffer the most with rejection as they are in developmental stages, so the better equipped children become at dealing with rejection, the better their position will be for moving successfully through life.

To help, here are 3 tips on how you can help your child deal with rejection:

  1. Listen to your child when they have encountered a situation where they have been rejected. Give them your full attention and validate their feelings so they feel safe and understood.

  2. Always encourage your child to put more emphasis on their character and the way they handle situations, rather than an actual achievement or result itself. Example: “You worked so very hard for this! Well done!” rather than “I am glad you got straight A’s!”

  3. Encourage them to focus on the future rather than looking back and dwelling on a rejection. A rejection needs to be acknowledged, then put aside, and focus needs to be shifted to the road ahead. Once your child is in this frame of mind have them try again, or trying something else. This will help your child get into a better frame of mind and will also encourage drive, ambition, motivation and concentration.

More Than Modeling is a new business in the Phoenix area teaching modeling classes, but their primary mission is raising confidence in kids. More Than Modelings’ holidays camps teach a variety of essential life lessons transferable to any job and walk of life – merely utilizing modeling and fashion with which to engage the kids.

Erika is the owner, founder and teacher of More Than Modeling. Originally from England Erika left a high school Science teaching position after completing her Master’s degree in Education, to pursue modeling, travelled the world doing so, and upon gaining her USA green card settled in Scottsdale to open her business. Years of international experience as a model, and seeing that industry through an educators eyes, resulted in the formation of camps, workshops and classes where kids think they are learning about modeling but parents know they are learning so much more than that! Erika’s heart and passion lie in equipping children with skills they can use no matter where life may take them and uses the subjects of modeling and fashion to transfer and communicate these skills.  Call 480-442-9833 

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Photos by Jessica Nelson