The Top 10 Neighborhoods in the Phoenix area 🏡

The housing market in Phoenix is warm to say the least, with just two months of available inventory Valley-wide.  That’s not much.  It’s definitely a sellers market right now.  

We pulled MLS sales stats for the first six months of 2019 to find the hottest neighborhoods and the results weigh heavily in favor of the West Valley!  

 

 

Sundance in Buckeye

Located right off the I10 with a golf course and views of the white tanks.  55+ options available.  

Homes for Sale in Sundance

 

Anthem Country Club in North Phoenix

A Del Webb development with many parks, clubhouses and two golf courses located about 30 miles north of Downtown Phoenix.

Homes for Sale in Anthem Country Club

 

CORTESSA in Waddell

At the base of the White Tank Mountains and close to the Wildlife World Zoo Aquarium & Safari Park.

Homes for Sale in Cortessa

 

Seville in Gilbert

There’s the Country Club, golf, dining, mountain views and more. 

Homes for Sale in Seville

 

Verrado in Buckeye

Verrado has it’s own “walkable” Main Street setting it apart…as if the tree-lined streets and front porches didn’t already.

Homes for Sale in Verrado 

 

Vistancia Village in Peoria

Water slides, a full entertainment calendar and so much more. 

Homes for Sale in Vistancia Village

 

Estrella Mountain Ranch in Goodyear

An amazing lake community with peaceful streets and beautiful scenery.  

Homes for Sale in Estrella Mountain Ranch

 

Park Scottsdale in Scottsdale

There are three Park Scottsdale communities stretching over a few miles along the 101.  It’s probably the best location in the entire Valley and, even though Park Scottsdale is an older development, many of the homes are being remodeled before they are sold.

Homes for Sale in Park Scottsdale

 

Arrowhead Ranch in Glendale 

Next to the 101 and the 17.  Of course there is a golf course and tennis, swimming and full fitness and spa services.

Homes for Sale in Arrowhead Ranch

 

Desert Mountain In Scottsdale 

Incredible amenities including tennis, spa and fitness, social and family activities.  Great for those that love hiking! 

Homes for Sale in Desert Mountain

 

The top selling 55+ neighborhood is Dreamland Villa in Mesa

Started by Joe and Ross Farnsworth, this 55+ Community located in Mesa has all the amenities!

Homes for Sale in Dreamland Villa

 

Brought to you by Katie Halle Lambert and Team EvoAZ at eXp Realty

 

If you’ve never bought a house before…or even if you have, the free “Buyer Cheat Sheet” is gold!  Download it here. 

Follow or message Team EvoAZ at eXp Realty here.

Traveling with Kids: Part II – How to Pack & Arrive Sane

Vacations bring visions of beaches, breezes, reclining, and reading those books or magazines you just haven’t gotten to yet.  Vacations with kids are often not at all as the brochure advertised.   There is no brochure for a trip filled with barf, missing baggage, or panic over where the favorite toy has disappeared! But these are the realities sometimes traveling with kids.

We traveled on over 100 flights with our first kiddo – for work and for family trips – and many since adding to the family.  We recently took an overseas trip with 20 people, including 10 children – many were teens and two toddlers.  I have learned A LOT along the way and I’ve shared this with many friends traveling with their kiddos over the years.  Travel with kids seems overwhelming, but the ability to expose your children to new places, people, experiences, bond with each other, and make memories is absolutely worth it.  If you think back to your childhood, how many memories were made with parents and siblings or extended family road-tripping or somewhere away from home?  These are special times, and you can increase the enjoyment and decrease the stress with a few no-fail tips for every trip.

 

Here are easy action items and suggestions to arrive sane there and back for any trip:

Manage expectations. True in work, life, parenting, coaching – but no more true than on a sweaty tram home to the parking lot after a long day at Disneyland with two over-tired, screaming kiddos and a stranger’s armpit in your face.  Mickey was great but the ride home should have been one of Dante’s Circles. Start the trip with an honest admission that traveling with kids is hard work – away from routines, familiar places and things – naps may not happen on schedule or at all, people may puke, there may be delays.  Start knowing these things may happen and promising to your tribe you will roll through it, don’t hide the fact that traveling has hiccups from your kids. Prepare them for waits and that problems may arise and we all have to be on the same team to get to the fun parts.  It is worth it for lifelong memories, the bonding time, and for the adventure.  I promise you will remember the crazy and fun decades after you have forgotten what spilled apple juice smells on pants after a 5 hour flight.

Make a list. Sit down and talk about the trip, ask for 2 must-dos or three priorities of EACH member of the family. Let them share without comment from others until the list is made. This works for 2 person or 20 person trips.  Often some of the struggles on a trip can be totally avoided when we take time to figure out what matters most to those we are traveling with and plan around those priorities.  This often will reveal if there are unrealistic expectations and help you prioritize your schedule while traveling and make choices on the fly when plans change.  If you are traveling with a large group or small group, schedule it so that individuals or individual families have meals alone or everyone gets some down time EVERY DAY.  This will save your sanity.  And, take the list with you!

Simplify packing: Unless you are going to a third-world country, even overseas there are stores with diapers, wipes, mouthwash, etc. We all pack as if we were going to the deepest backwoods.  Unless you are…. My take after so many trips, and especially now with bag fees nearing what ticket prices used to be, is to pack only what you need for the trip there plus a day, in consumable supplies, and plan to stop at (with a family member or in your rental car) a Target or Walmart on your way to your first stop.  If you don’t plan to have transportation, it is hard to find a place that isn’t a block or a $3 Uber away from a Walgreens or grocery.  You will have to buy supplies to replace what you take from home anyway, instead of lugging it all around and paying to do so, get the bulk of what you need where you are going. Diapers, wipes, baby food, formula, even toiletries are all on sale and take coupons in nearly every city in the U.S.  Overseas it is harder, but I managed to find a pharmacy with the same over the counter meds we take at home, for less, and it only took 5 minutes out of my trek, instead of an hour to figure out what to pack and not.  Then, you can also buy that full size shampoo in the brand you’d rather use, or save more room for souveniers.  Pack your own medication, clothes, allergy-sensitive or special products, kids favorite toys (mine each get 2 small ones!), shoes, baby gear* (more on that below).  For clothes, consider doing laundry halfway through the trip (if more than 4-5 days).  Most hotels have laundry machines, some will do your laundry for a fee that is reasonable.  In a pinch, there is always the sink for underwear and small things like bathing suits that get worn over and over.  When we go see family, with their prior permission, we often borrow clothes so we don’t have to take much but shoes, underwear, and pjs.  Sounds crazy, but it has made it so much easier to travel and get through airports with much less stuff, and reduce wait times for baggage.

Carry On EVERYTHING: On all but maybe 10 of those flights… we carried on everything. I know you think I am nuts, but this decreases the time we are in the airport (germs, hassles, lines, stress) by at least two hours every trip, we don’t have to arrive as early and we can go straight to our car/transportation getting off the plane, usually skip baggage claim and bypass everyone waiting.  Even when the baby was little, even when I traveled alone, even when we went on long trips.  We roll our clothes, use space saving bags, and Dad gets the bags, I get the kids.  If I’m traveling alone, I usually identify someone in the security line that looks like a mom, dad, grandma or grandpa and ask for help with my bags getting on the belt or on the plane.  Usually I don’t need help if I have a roller bag and stroller and a backpack.  The stroller carries a LOT and you can bungee a carseat to a roller bag.  Older kids can also take a bag or two.  Our 3 year old did an entire trip recently with no stroller and dragging his own bag.  Mostly because he didn’t want his sister touching his bag, but, you know.  He did it.  I usually try to consolidate the kids into one suitcase for their clothes and the toy they sleep with, we share a suitcase, and then we and they each get a bag they promise to carry (backpack!) with their books/tablet/coloring stickers/snacks for the plane.

Essentials: Your kids are going to be bored once you reach 10,000 feet or 30 miles from home in a car. I promise.  If you are tech free family, all power to you.  Bring thin/light books, a coloring book they haven’t seen, crayons (plan to lose some on the floor at landing), snacks like granola bars, fruit leather/snacks, pouches if you are brave.  Window clings and those wixisticks are for whatever reason at least 15 minutes of fun.  Stickers/sticker books.  If you are a tech family, PRELOAD and don’t expect working wifi, most won’t stream video.  Make sure the tablet/phone has games and at least one movie that will work if there is no WIFI.  Plan to pay for wifi.  Southwest has a lot of free video content if you just connect to their WIFI.  And, plane trays and seat pockets are dirtier than most public restroom toilets.  I always – ALWAYS – wipe the entire tray, armrest, window down with a Wet One.  I don’t mind looking like the crazy mom if my kid avoids Influenza A the first two days into our Disney vacation.

Baby Gear: I may not offer a popular opinion here, but we found most of the baby gear (we tried A LOT and regret it) to be totally useless. Under 3 (probably 4) a stroller is essential.  Beware if you take your nice one…. When you gate check it, it will come off the plane with something bent or broken, possibly beyond repair.  Happened every flight.  We finally bought a $20 travel system on Craigslist, Evenflo, that lasted us through two years of travel.  It was a lightweight seat/car seat too, and worked great, had a big basket.  Graco’s wheels are too big for security belts at TSA… and will lead you to screenings you don’t want.  An umbrella stroller is better than no stroller, you can hang stuff on it.  Bring your booster seat (they can’t use these on the plane if no back).  And for a car seat between bucket and booster, we got a Cosco (not Costco) Scenera for $30 we use for any travel or we used to borrow one from a friend.  We now have an extra to loan to friends. TAKE YOUR CAR SEAT if you can.  Kids under 3 will often sleep if in a seat, and if not, they want to get down which is often not possible.  If kiddo is under two and you didn’t buy a seat and you are on any airline but especially Southwest, ask if it’s a full flight – really full – and bring it on anyway.  9/10 times we choose the last row, and no one wants to sit by two people and a baby.  If there was a seat, we got the open one and if not, they will gate check your seat (bring a bag even a garbage bag or sports bag to put it in).  Get tags for your bag and stroller BEFORE boarding is called.  Baby seats MUST go in a window seat. So consider that when booking, it is an FAA regulation for safety and non-negotiable.  Don’t pay for seats, they must seat a parent with a child and a baby in a window.  So unless you want to be sure you all sit in a row, you do not have to pay ahead for seat selection.  With the four of us we usually take two seat in two rows.  When you buckle a baby seat in make sure the buckle is facing away from the seat or into a space you can lift to release it.  We once had our seat stuck on a plane for a bit because we had buckled it facing the hard side of the seat and could not lift the tab to unbuckle it.  Ask for an extender if you need it.  And check to see where the buckle lies, in case kiddo is sitting on it.  Often there is nothing you can do but you can pad it with a diaper.  Take a bag that is a tote, zippered, on the top so you can reach into it easily while seated.  Or a backpack with easy front pockets.  I pre-filled bottles with toddler formula and breastmilk, so all I had to do was add water or open them.  TSA will likely screen breastmilk and bottles.  It’s annoying.  Be prepared to have to go to a different area with all your junk and have them swab them.  Buy water for bottles past security don’t take it through, even though it’s allowed, they are usually difficult about it.

Transportation: Car rentals are cheapest in the US usually weekend day to weekend day, weekdays are more. I like carrrentals.com the best. Go there, check the price, then check the cheapest company’s price on their website.  We have found more and more that Uber and Lyft are cheaper in most places (even Hawaii and overseas) than renting or even than some public transportation.  Obviously, be cautious and you must feel comfortable using these services.  We would send screenshots of the driver and car to whomever wasn’t riding with us for safety.  I even do this now in the US when I use it locally.  If you decide to venture into public transportation, ask for help from your hotel/someone that works at the train station, especially if you are in an unfamiliar place, before you set foot on the bus/train.  TRUST ME it will save you a lot of time and headache, and scary experiences.

Other People: Do not make gift bags for people flying on your plane with your baby. If you have to fly with a tuna sandwich your neighbor is eating, or their B.O…. you do not need to make apologies for procreating and traveling with your family.  There is a terrible truth in travel that upsets me every time I enter an airport.  Take a 30 something women, do her hair, put her in a suit and people will fall over themselves to help her on a plane or help her with bags. Take the same woman, put her in yoga pants, a shirt with spit up, baby on hip, and give her a stroller and people will literally part waters around her in an airport to avoid helping her.  My family has taken to seeking out moms traveling alone in airports just to offer a hand to get on the plane, or help with gate checking, ANYTHING, after so many terrible experiences seeing how parents are treated.  It is nearly the inverse for fathers traveling…. But that’s a whole other blogpost for another day. 😊 ASK FOR HELP IF YOU NEED IT.  From airport gate staff, or friendly-grandparent types.  Usually they are just thrilled to offer help carrying a bag or just helping get situated on a plane.  Obviously do not leave your kid or stuff with them, but they can be a hand to get through security or on the plane.  And OFFER THIS HELP even if it seems weird when you see a parent struggling traveling alone.  That one act of kindness can change an entire day/trip/memory.  Our youngest got seriously hurt when he tripped in the gate area on a trip last year, he cut his lip on the charging station on a seat, and was bleeding profusely, EMS were called and it scared him and us.  We were all shaken, including our older child.  A mother and her son ran to the nearest store, bought each kid a small toy and asked if they could give them to them.  (Don’t assume – ask…)  This distraction of them coming to ask and the toy calmed our son down enough to be examined.  He was fine, we were able to calm down, take a breath, and managed to make the flight.  The whole thing could have been much different and we may have been refused boarding, if he had not been able to stop hyperventilating-crying long enough to be looked at.  He was fine, we were fine, and those two happened to be sitting next to us on the flight.  Both kids – even the little one – made them thank you notes on take off.  Today, it is a sweet memory of the kindness of strangers instead of a traumatic memory.  Be that person.  We try to pay it forward every trip to other families with kiddos.

Drivealogue: If you haven’t seen these cards, they are conversation cards for families, for the car ride home from school, dinner table, etc. THESE ARE AWESOME FOR CAR TRIPS AND PLANE TRIPS and they make them in different age ranges.  Even great for couples!  I have a friend that sells them locally if you want some or you can buy them online.

YOUR TRIP: Finally, these are all musings from my experiences traveling as a mom and in business travel. I am an admitted over-organized, overthinking, germaphobe and plan ahead for even the relaxing trips.  Your style may be totally different (and, frankly, better)!  Set your expectations and then make sure what you do around housing, activities, packing, and schedules on your trip mirrors those must-dos and what you really want to get out of the trip.  There is no wrong way to travel with kids, just easier and harder ways.  Try to do it in the way that mirrors your family’s day-to-day needs and focus on the goal of time together and memories.

 

I wish you an amazing Spring Break whether you are staying home or traveling far, and pray that all your travels are safe and full of less stress and great memories!  If you have questions, feel free to email me or message me.

by: Liz D, Tempe Mom

 

CHECK OUT THIS BEAUTIFUL, BRICK AND HISTORIC HOME IN WOODLEA OF PHOENIX
This and more at EvoAZ.com

 

 

Tips to Reduce Energy Consumption with Central AC Use in Arizona

TIPS TO REDUCE ENERGY CONSUMPTION WITH CENTRAL AC USE

Home heating and/or cooling, depending on where you live, are your largest home energy consumption activities. Here in Arizona it is certainly home cooling. Here is our extensive list of tips to greatly reduce your energy consumption via central air conditioning. You may not be able to use all these tips but you could certainly employ a number of them.

THERMOSTAT CONTROL

A house that is slightly cooler than the outside feels far more comfortable than you might think. Relative temperatures can go a long way. So when it’s 100 degrees outside there is no need to try to create a 60 degree environment inside. 77 or 78 degrees Fahrenheit is only slightly above ideal room temperature and can be plenty comfortable when it’s far hotter outside. Your AC system will not need to work as hard to maintain that kind of temperature.

Use Digital Thermostats – they are more accurate and can be programmable to set different temperatures for certain times of the day.

Dial down your thermometer a couple degrees at night – cooler evening temps make for a better sleeping environment and it easier for your system to bring temperatures down a bit more in the cool night air.

Dial it up a few more degrees for times of the day when there is usually nobody home. A cold house does not keep you cool if you’re not there.

Don’t position heat-producing appliances, such as televisions or lamps, near the thermostat. The added heat can fool your thermostat, causing the unit to run longer than necessary.

CRANKING YOUR THERMOSTAT WAY DOWN DOES NOT SPEED UP HOW FAST YOUR HOUSE COOLS DOWN!!

Don’t do this. It does not work. AC units only have two settings – off and on. When your thermostat detects your house has warmed too far past your setting the AC unit kicks in and will run until the thermostat detects the house has cooled enough. Cranking it farther than usual means it just runs the same but probably for longer since you’ll have a tendency to forget to turn it back up, meaning you’ve let it run too long and consumed more energy than you needed too.

CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING MAINTENANCE

The central AC unit is the largest energy draw. Old and poorly maintained equipment draws far more energy.

Replace old air conditioners with a modern high efficiency Energy Star unit – they use a lot less energy (up to 40%)

Choose the right size air conditioner – too small a unit will struggle to keep up and run constantly, too large a unit will cool your home too fast and frequently be turning off and on while not doing enough to reduce humidity.

Check the air filters on your AC system – replace them on schedule. Dirty and clogged filters cause the system to work harder, using more energy.

Schedule a yearly maintenance with your HVAC contractor to ensure your units are running at peak efficiency.

Keep your air conditioner out of the sun – install on shady side of house or at least have it protected by shrubs or a partial wall or fence

REDUCE SOLAR HEAT INPUTS

The sun will heat any object it shines upon and that includes the inside of your home. These tips will help reduce solar heating as well as save your flooring and furniture from fading.

Close curtains on windows facing the sun

Install thermal liners on your curtains – they reflect more of the heat back out the window

Install window tinting on sun facing windows – residential tint film is designed to cut UV rays substantially

Plant trees and shrubs around your house – their shade will help keep the house cooler

Paint your house a lighter color – darker colors absorb solar energy, lighter colors reflect it away

Make sure your attic is properly ventilated, your roof absorbs a lot of heat. Vents in the eaves allows hot air to escape. Consider adding a ridge vent or attic fan.

REDUCE OTHER INTERNAL HEAT GAINS

Besides the sun there are many things and activities around the home that produce heat.

Turn off pilot lights on gas furnaces and fire places – you don’t need them during the summer

Cook outside – It’s summer, enjoy the BBQ as much as possible on hot days

Install compact florescent bulbs, they produce a lot less heat than incandescent bulbs

Turn off appliances – even unplug them. Many TV’s, CD players, satellite TV receivers, stereos, cell phone chargers and other electronic devices draw power and give off heat even when turned off.

Keep your fridge and freezer full – more food in your fridge and freezer means it won’t warm up as fast when the door is open. Also all that thermal mass stays cooler longer and the fridge does not have to work as hard to keep it cool. When the cooling system is running on your fridge it is producing warm air in your home.

Take shorter showers and vent off the warm moist air – open a window while showering.

Reduce clothing dryer use – hang clothing outside if you can. Don’t use the dryer during peak daytime temperatures, instead use it early morning or in the evening. And keep that lint trap clean!

Don’t use the dryer setting on your dishwasher. Instead open the door and let them air dry.

DIVIDE YOUR HOUSE INTO ZONES

Large buildings employ zoning to more efficiently manage cooling and heating. You can do the same in your home. Most modern central air systems will employ automated zone control systems. Some home systems may employ two or three different central ac units each cooling a single floor of the house. If your system does not have these sorts of zone controls built in you can try these tips.

Have your HVAC contractor install zone dampers into your air duct system.

Close off empty and unused rooms – close doors, windows, curtains and vents. There is no need to cool this space as much as the rest of your home.

If your central AC uses separate thermostats for different floors (or zones) of your house, adjust temperatures according to usage patterns in those parts of your house.

Use small room AC units in your more lived in areas (living room, bedroom). You can let the rest of the house remain a few degrees warmer, reducing central a/c use which can offset the costs of the extra unit.

KEEP THE AIR FLOWING

Use fans – they circulate the air around and moving air help your bodies natural air conditioning (evapo-transpiration) work better.

Turn fans off when you’re not in the room. Moving air cools your skin, moving air with no skin nearby cools nothing, it just eats electricity, and the fans’ motor is producing a little bit of heat.

Re-Arrange your furniture – make sure chairs and sofa’s are not blocking air flow from your HVAC vents.

REDUCE HUMIDITY IN YOUR HOME

Ridding your house of excess humidity will help make your family feel more comfortable. You may even be able to set your air conditioner above 78 degrees when using a dehumidifier combined with fans. Your body can stand a couple extra degrees if the air is drier and moving around.

Use a dehumidifier to take water out of the air- turn it on when the temperature rises.

As mentioned above (reduce internal heat gains), minimize showers, baths and boiling water while cooking to reduce humidity inputs into your home.

INSULATE AND PLUG AIR LEAKS AROUND YOUR HOME

Trap cold air inside as much as possible. Letting it leak outdoors mean you have to cool more of it to replace those cold air losses.

Weather-strip, seal, and caulk leaky doors and windows and install foam gaskets behind outlet covers.

Seal air ducts – leaky ducts mean you push less cool air to where you need it. Have your AC contractor test and seal your duct work.

Increase attic insulation – insulate your attic to at least R-30.

Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans sparingly – you’re pumping out your cool air.

WATCH OUT FOR THE “REBOUND EFFECT”

If you follow many of the tips in this article you will certainly reduce your energy consumption and save money. Depending on where you live and the size of your home those savings could be hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year. A nice chunk of change for most anybody. Be careful though not to simply use the money you save to buy more energy consuming devices or turn your AC down a few degrees thinking you can now be cooler while spending the same as you did before. In energy and conservation economics this is known as the rebound effect.

Brought to you by Armer Air Heating and Air Conditioning 

Contact us for questions, AC inspections and maintenance.

(480) 290-2977 – armerair@gmail.com

 

Ahwatukee Home for Sale
Stunning views! Luxurious custom home in a private, gated community in the Ahwatukee Foothills.

2018’s Top 7 ‘MOM Approved’ Neighborhoods in the Phoenix area 🏡

Our MOM’s have spoken!  What are the top 7 favorite Phoenix area neighborhoods and why?

Morrison Ranch in Gilbert won the TOP neighborhood of 2018!!  Why?  LOCATION, location, location!!  This community is just a few miles from the 60, the 10, The San Tan Mall and the Superstition Mall not to mention tons of restaurants.  Plus the greenery, parks and amazing floor plans from a variety of builders.

Eastmark in Mesa was a close 2nd.  From the neighborhood diner to the community pool, the splash pad to the visitors center, the many school choices to the many parks throughout the community, our MOMs are moving in and they are not leaving the Eastmark bubble. Why leave when everything you need is within seconds from your door?

The very popular Ironwood Crossing in Queen Creek is home to many of our MOMs!  The location is awesome, the community offers many amenities and the home prices are very attractive.

Agritopia in Gilbert is a favorite for good reason!  Aside from the super cute curb appeal and unique home styles, the orchards for fruit picking, the Coffee Shop and Joe’s Farm Grill.   This community is super close to the 202 (within minutes) and the San Tan Mall.

Dobson Ranch in Mesa has some amazing amenities and probably the best location out of all 7.  The new park is awesome, the lake is awesome, the events like the fishing derby and the outdoor movie are awesome.  It’s a great place for kids and parents too plus it’s minutes from the 60, the 101, close to Downtown Mesa and 15 minutes from Sky Harbor.

Mountain Park Ranch is a huge community right in the heart of Ahwatukee.  Located within minutes from the South Mountain Preserve, hikers and bikers will be in heaven in this location.  Parents will love the convenience of the 10 and 202, the smaller town feel and the added bonus of all those views!

Power Ranch is a such cool neighborhood in south Gilbert!  Located so close to the 202, check out the two clubhouses,fishing lake, splash pad, pools and sports courts and fields.

There were a few others that didn’t make the cut but many MOMs recommend.  Areas like south Scottsdale, Arcadia and Desert Ridge in north Phoenix.

Fully Remodeled South Scottsdale Home for Sale

 

 

Summer Camps and Programs in the Phoenix AZ area

Summer is coming and the kiddos only have a few days left in the school year. MOMs are scrambling to find an exciting solution for summer child care. Luckily, there are several programs offered by the city and the local school districts but also some specialty programs. Check it out!

City and School Programs 

Avondale Elementary School

City of Chandler

Chandler Public schools

Gilbert Public Schools Kinder Camp

Gilbert Public Schools VIK Summer 

City of Mesa

Mesa Public Schools Athletics Department summer sports program

Paradise Valley Public Schools

City of Peoria

Peoria Public Schools

City of Phoenix

City of Scottsdale

City of Tempe

Local Gifted Program

AZ Smart Minds

Arts and Theatre

Center Stage Academy

Mesa Arts Center

Phoenix Country Day School

Kindergarten Prep 

Tiffany Davies is offering a COUNTDOWN TO KINDERGARTEN summer program. PM her on FB for more details!

Other Awesome Options

ASU Summer Enrichment

Boys and Girls Club

Skateland Summer Kids Camp

Looking to move?  This awesome Gilbert home is FOR SALE! 😍

Awesome Gilbert Home for Sale! Click the photo for details. Or call 480-250-0023.

 

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!

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

12 Things to Know About Dealing with Scorpions in Arizona

Our family business has always been bugs. Growing up, my dad owned a pest control business, so I’ve been around bugs my entire life. I can vividly remember when I was little, my dad would bring home jars of scorpions, spiders and all kinds of things that he would catch while out working. He would place them on the kitchen window seal (I’m sure my mother just loved that!) and teach us about them.

While I never did grow fond of our house visitors,  I did learn a lot. Sure, I still run from the room screaming if I see a spider, but running a pest control business in Arizona means knowing the importance of being knowledgeable about all insects, especially scorpions.

The truth is, that no matter where you in the valley, scorpions are likely there. Maybe you are one of the lucky few that have never seen one inside your home, or perhaps, like many of us, you’ve found one in your shoe!

Scorpions tend to come out more when it’s hot, so with the extreme weather we are having, we felt it was important to remind you of the basics in scorpion safety. Being educated and knowledgeable about scorpions, and all dangerous desert critters, is essential to protecting both you and your family:

  1. Scorpions are not malicious and they do not hunt humans.
  2. Most scorpion stings are caused by accident, by being  accidentally stepped on, or by aggravating where a scorpion is sheltering
  3. Scorpions seek warm places, so use caution when putting on shoes, or taking out towels from the closet.
  4. While scorpions are mostly found outside, they are attracted to heat sources inside of homes such as cars, hot water heaters, and attics. Always check storage boxes that are stored in the garage and attic before bringing them inside your home.  
  5. Scorpion mothers have anywhere between 25-35 babies which she will carry on her back until they are ready to survive on their own, at around two months! Yikes! Can you imagine having 25 babies?
  6. If the mother scorpion cannot find food, she will eat her babies. She would have to be pretty hungry though because scorpions can go up to a year without eating.
  7. Scorpions can live up to 20 years but average about 6.  Scorpions can also live underwater for about 2 days. So if you see one in your pool, use extreme caution, as it may not be dead.  
  8. Scorpion venom is a neurotoxin designed to immobilize their prey.
  9. An adult scorpion knows how to control its venom when it stings.
  10. A baby scorpion does not know how to control its venom, so their sting can be much worse. This is why you will often hear that small scorpions are more dangerous than big scorpions.
  11. Everyone is different in how they react to a scorpion sting, but most adult humans will not need any medical treatment. Symptoms will last for several days and include a feeling of pins and needles, numbness, shortness of breath and pain at the sting site.
  12. A sting for a very small child, elderly person, or ill person can be very dangerous and immediate medical treatment is advised.

So, what can we do about these creatures that have been on earth for longer than humans and multiply at alarming rates? Here are 3 proven ways that we recommend to help stay safe, and not just from scorpions, but all kinds of creepy crawlies:

  1. The first and most important thing is to have your home sealed. You can do this yourself or hire a professional. If you look at your doors and you can see daylight underneath, then your house is inviting all types of bugs in. This can be a simple fix at Home Depot. If you have a hole in your ceiling where a ceiling fan was installed, this needs to be patched and sealed! No matter how much pesticides are laid down, if your house has openings, scorpions, and other bugs will find a way in.
  2. Make sure your yard is de-cluttered and free of debris that scorpions can nest in, including keeping your grass is trimmed down. Also, make sure your palm trees are debarked and kept trimmed. Scorpions LOVE palm trees for their moist shade and protection they provide. Do not place any type of shed or outdoor container directly against your home. Place it along a fence away from your home. In fact, do not have anything touching your home; keep a minimum 6-inch gap. This includes shrubs, trees or any vegetation.
  3. Have regular pest control service. Don’t wait until you’re having a problem. If you’re not seeing a lot of activity, think about having bi-monthly or even quarterly service. This will kill off the food source of scorpions which will help keep them away. We also recommend having your attic dusted at least twice a year.

What about the babies? Keeping our littles safe from scorpions is really important, and luckily there are a few easy things we can do:

  1. Do not place a crib directly underneath a fan, air vent or can light. Bugs can come through very very tiny openings and fall from the ceiling if they are residing in the attic.
  2. Do not place a crib directly against the wall as several kinds of bugs can crawl up the wall and into the crib. Some people have resorted to placing glass jars on the legs of the crib – this would be because scorpions and spiders cannot climb slick surfaces.

If you or your child is every stung:

  1. Stay calm and get away from the scorpion.
  2. Some scorpions can make themselves flat so it’s hard to smash them. Try to capture it in a glass jar or throw a cup over it and come back to it later.
  3. Clean the area well with soap and water.
  4. Apply an ice pack or cold cloth to help relieve the pain and stop the venom from spreading.
  5. We recommend calling your doctor or pediatrician as soon as you can for their further recommendations.

Ready to keep your house safe from scorpions? Give Creepy Crawly Pest Control a call at 480-969-2926. Be sure to mention this post!

Special thanks to Jessica Nelson with Photos By Jessica for the photo.