MOMnationAZ.com presents PROM2018: A Prom for Parents

On Saturday, August 18, from 6pm to 11pm, 100 couples and probably even a few singles going stag, will gather at the historic Crowne Plaza in Chandler to dance the night away at this Prom for Parents. ‘As parents we don’t have many opportunities to get together and party the night away old school style’ as Katie Halle Lambert, the founder of MOMnation describes.

East Valley mom of four, Jessica Nelson, not only attended PROM2017 last year she also helped with decorations and the evening’s agenda. ‘I really enjoy the social opportunities that MOMnation offers but I also love diving in and helping with all the awesome events the group organizes throughout the year.’

And, just like the high school prom, some moms that have attended the event in the past say their emotions and confidence can be a rollercoaster ride.

Jeni Cohen, a Mesa Mom of five, admits ‘I was a little shy and hesitant about meeting new people before I joined this group over three years ago and now I can’t imagine life without them. The variety of events and opportunities that group provides help Moms of all personality types find real friends that they click with.’

Mesa business owner Emilie Nikolich Mom of two states, ‘My life is busy.  MOMnation gives me an opportunity to plug in when I can on a social and professional level and I never feel like I have missed a thing.’

All agree that the annual Prom for Parents is an amazing way to recharge their social batteries and meet new friends.

What’s to expect at this Prom for Parents? MOMnation’s founder, Katie Halle Lambert says, ‘The ticket price includes a great variety of yummy appetizers served throughout the night, an entry into the drawing for some awesome prizes (someone won an iPad last year) and entertainment emceed by a pro DJ. And, of course, we’ll crown Prom King and Queen.’

This is the second annual Prom for Parents that the Phoenix moms group has organized and last year, the first, was sold out. Each year is a different theme. The PROM2017 theme was the 80’s and this year it’s masquerade ball. The upcoming event is open to the public and is priced at $28 which includes appetizers. Crowne Plaza is offering discounts on rooms for Prom attendees. For more information, visit the Eventbrite page.

MOMnation is a Phoenix, AZ area based social group exclusively for MOMs that coordinates social gatherings, business opportunities and local resources for its members.  Follow @momnationAZ on Instagram.

Contact:

Katie Lambert,MOMnation Leader/Founder
MOMnationAZ@gmail.com

Escape the Phoenix heat to Mount Ord!

Mount Ord

Escape 105 degrees to 80 degrees in 90 min. Mount Ord is a great destination to not only escape the heat but also to enjoy the beauty nature offers ascending from 1086ft to 7129ft above sea level. With young kids this trip is great because it’s not an entire day in the car and they will easily sleep on the way home.

Facts:

1. MAP –  All wheel drive recommended

This is a fire road that is regularly maintained. This mountain is above 7000ft and the weather/conditions can change very quickly. I have seen AWD mini vans at the summit in dry conditions. I have driven it in heavy rain/snow and the road can get very muddy and a little scary even in our Jeep.

Here’s the  moderate / experienced 4×4 route

2. Hiking is available at the summit and along the fire road. The decommissioned fire tower at the top is about a 1/2 mile hike from the locked gate.

3. Picnic areas do exist. Nothing formal but there is space to set up camping chairs and tables.

4. Camping is also available!

Our experience:

We have been visiting Mount Ord since our son was 3 years old. We usually depart our home here in the Valley around 8am and arrive at the top around 9:30am. When parked at the top, there is a spot just over the gate and to the left with an old tree that gives nice shade and a perfect place to set up a picnic. We usually go up with friends and our German Shepherd so the kids can play and we can enjoy the views at 75-80 degrees. Once noon comes it does heat up and can quickly get to mid to high 90s.

We quickly discovered this was a great spot to snow chase!

One Saturday this past winter, we noticed the weather in this area supported snow fall. We are both from New England and miss the snow at time so we felt drawn to go explore. We piled into the jeep, brought warm clothes and ascended.

It had rained a lot in the area so the ground was soft with lots of mud. It was hairy on a few occasions as the mud was deep and slick at some ridge points.

It was so cool to cross the elevation point where snow was accumulating.  As we continued, so did the accumulated amount. At the top there was 2-3” of fresh snow. Our kiddo loved it. We made a small snow man and threw snow balls but quickly ended up back in the jeep as it was a bit windy, wet and cold.

It was an amazing experience all packed into 4 hours and then, in 90 mins, we were back in the sunshine!

 

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

How to Cope When In-Laws Overstep

I see it far too often in mom groups – a young mother asking how to deal with her in-laws, usually her mother-in-law. There are shocking stories about a MIL piercing ears, giving first haircuts, feeding very young infants candy, cookies, and ice cream, and just being plain rude and disrespectful of parenting choices. I’ve even heard of very unfortunate situations in which a MIL fed her grandchild food he was allergic to because she thought the parents were fabricating the allergy or being overdramatic.

I am very fortunate to have a great MIL who is not only very loving toward my children, but also respectful of my husband’s and my parenting choices. I often think about what I would do if things were different. If we set rules and boundaries that were blatantly ignored? Although I am a quiet introvert around most people, I do have an assertiveness that took years to develop. When my oldest daughter was just a baby, I knew I had to speak up for her when she couldn’t. For example, relatives always wanted hugs and kisses and to hold this cute baby girl. I often had to repeat that she was uncomfortable with other people holding her and instead of a hug and a kiss, she would give high-fives.

There’s usually a polite way to enforce boundaries. However, it is difficult when it’s a trusted adult who is being disrespectful while you’re away. You trust her to keep your children safe and follow your rules. I understand grandmothers want to spoil their grandchildren and I think special treats are great. I have no problem with my preschool daughter getting sweets and gifts from her grandparents. It crosses the line, though, when your child’s health and safety are disregarded. I would be extremely upset if a grandparent ignored my wishes to keep my daughter rear-facing in her car seat or if they pierced her ears without permission.

I think it’s important for children to spend time with all of their family, especially grandparents. But if that time is stressful for you or your children, it becomes less of a priority. And if rules are broken time and again, the privilege of spending unsupervised time with my children would definitely be taken away.

So what do you do if you are being treated rudely or your parenting choices are being criticized? This is something both you and your spouse would need to approach. When you get married, you start your own family and form a bond that is supposed to be unbreakable. Husband, wife, and children are now the inner circle and come first, and the family you grew up with are now second. There are a number of things that can make this bond falter, and one is poor communication. When my husband and I were first engaged, we took a Pre-Marriage Prep class – read more about that here. This helped us tackle future communication issues and brought up the issue of rude or critical in-laws. Nothing will get resolved it you don’t fully communicate to your spouse how you feel when his family member does or says certain things to you.

Be very specific with the situation, your feelings, and your expectations. What would you like him to do when this happens next? If your MIL is critical of what you feed your kids, your husband can chime in and say, “It’s so difficult to get kids to eat anything, but they always eat her cooking and I really like it, too.” Or if you’re left out of planning an activity, maybe your husband can announce how great you are at crafting and you could make some cute place cards. Have a plan and follow through. Be assertive, but also try to be patient with everyone involved.

About Jen Armstrong

Jen is a working mom to two beautiful girls and wife to a brilliant engineer. An Army Brat originally from California, she loves Disneyland, traveling, and lives for Autumn. You can find her most days avoiding laundry and eating chocolate while running her blog, A Strong Home.

 

Moving?  Check out this awesome Phoenix, AZ home.  Situated on an oversized corner lot with an RV gate and no HOA! 

Click for more info and pics

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

 

 

Speed Dating Event for Moms to Find Their “Soul Mom”

 

On Friday, Mar. 30, from 6:30-10 p.m. 30 women will meet at Boulders on Southern for a speed dating event. But, instead of searching for a romantic connection, they’re looking for a fellow, local mom to connect with and befriend. Or, their “soul mom,” as MOMnation, the Phoenix moms group and organizer of the event, describes it.  

 

East Valley mom Nadia Schanze attended a past speed dating event put on by the group. She says that finding a mom friend is “trickier than I ever considered dating to possibly find a husband.” She explains that you have to find compatibility with a partner through asking questions, but “as a mom, you have to ask the same questions and ‘what ages of kids do you have?’”

 

And, just like dating, moms that have attended the event in the past say their emotions and confidence can be a rollercoaster ride.

 

Terese Dallas, an Ahwatukee mom of a 14-month-old admits,I tried a new lipstick that was a complete fail! I was super self-conscious of it but also didn’t want to be the lady in the bathroom fixing her makeup. I just have to laugh about that now.” Mesa mom, Jen Duncan says “I worry if I will say the wrong things or if people will think I’m corny. Or what if you don’t jive well then see them at another event?”

 

But, they all agree it’s an amazing way to recharge their social batteries and meet new friends. “I broke out of my shell and really dove into meeting new moms. I was so glad when I sat down with a mom who was just as excited as I was to be out and eating hot food that wasn’t a hot dog or fast food,” Schanze says.

 

Of course, the social awkwardness is worth it when you find “the one.” For Jen Duncan and Allison Rodgers, attendees of the very first speed-dating event, they were lucky enough to do just that.

 

“Allison is from Long Island and I’m from Jersey. She gives me some grief about being a Jersey girl, but we hit it off right away,” Duncan says. “I truly believe I did meet my mom soulmate, especially since not only did we get along so well, but so do our daughters who are around the same age,” Rodgers says.

 

In this “and they lived happily ever after” tale, the two Phoenix Valley moms now live in the same neighborhood — Southeast Mesa’s Eastmark community.

 

MOMnation leader, Katie Lambert says, It can be really hard to find the time and the courage to make deep connections with other women that are dealing with the same things you are as a mom among the other hats we wear as women. This event is a great ice breaker and encourages bonds that last a lifetime which also makes attending all the other events on our calendar much easier for the shy mom.”

 

This is the third time the Phoenix moms group has organized this event, and they’ve sold out the past two events. The upcoming event is priced at $16 and includes appetizers. For more information, visit the Eventbrite page.

Top 5 Reasons Moms are loving Eastmark in Mesa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Got Eastmark questions?  Ask the New Build Ninja!

Jen Duncan (480) 707-7554

Ten Ways to Make 2018’s Valentine’s Day Unique

Let’s be honest, Valentine’s Day isn’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea. Any holiday that centers around that much love and glitter… it can be a lot even for those of us in relationships. But there is always a way to make a holiday your own – and Valentine’s Day is no exception!

We’ve compiled a few ideas for both low-key and actual outings, so no matter if you’re coupled up, on your own, or with the entire family, you can celebrate the day of love your way!

Re-create your first date

Revisit the first restaurant that brought you together or recreate the first cocktails you shared. Nostalgia can be awfully romantic… Have the kid’s hanging around? Bring them along to really create that stark reality of what was 😉

 

Chocolate Wasted

Fun for the whole family, the Glendale Chocolate Affaire is the weekend before Valentine’s Day. Learn more about the event here. 

 

Have breakfast in bed
Warning: Yours may not look like this.

This is a luxury that shouldn’t be reserved for weekends away. Get up early, either together or with the kids, whip up something delicious, and then settle back in for a cozy morning meal together.

 

Create a photo book together

There is just something so special about having your photographs in print, yet it is so common for our photos to get lost in the cloud these days. Using apps and websites like 

Artifact Uprising or Chatbooks is quick and easy with beautiful results. Plus, what’s not to love about the chance to cuddle up and reminisce on your visual love diary provided by your camera roll?

 

Love Yourself

Who?? Yes, you! Don’t forget to love yourself on Valentine’s! Whether that means treating yourself to a manicure, sitting in the car listening to music in the driveway (we’re digging this Spotify playlist!), or a week-long getaway (take us with you?) – whatever it may be, make sure to schedule in some time for you!

 

Workout Together

A couple that sweats together, stays together! Pick a new trail to hike or a group class to attend. Bonus…you get to clean up together afterwards. 😉

 

Celebrate AZ Cocktail Week

 It can’t be a coincidence that AZ cocktail week takes place February 17th to 19th. Hello, post-Valentine’s date night! See who is participating: https://arizonacocktailweek.com/

 

Bake something heart-shaped

This one’s for kids and adults alike. Pizza, cookies, pancakes, sandwiches…food is more fun when it’s shaped like a heart. <3

 

Letters of Appreciation

Take the hallmark out of Valentine’s by adding your own significance. Have the kids and your sig other create letters of appreciations for whoever in their lives. It’s a nice teachable moment that includes limited glitter!

 

Hold a family craft night

 Nothing like glue and glitter to strengthen family bonds. No matter your kids’ ages and the kind of project you’re after, there is a Valentine’s Day DIY for you. This Pinterest board has all the ideas to craft to your heart’s content. 

Need a little life balance? Bye bye DIY!

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

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

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

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

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

Well, it doesn’t have to be this way.

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few of my favorites:

House Cleaner

Mechanic 

Mobile Pet Groomer 

Grocery Delivery

Landscaper 

Tax Prep

Pest Control

Pool Guy

Real Estate Pro

Good luck achieving the balance!  It is achievable.

 

This awesome Mesa Historic Home is for sale!  DETAILS HERE 

Top Arizona Activities to Help You Keep Your New Year Resolutions

The New Year brings with it a bright, shiny new feeling that only comes at the start of something new. And with these bright new beginnings come… new 

promises. New Year Resolutions are an awesome way to reflect on your wants and needs, as humans, as MOMs, as everything that you are!

Make sure you are setting yourself up for success and enter the New Year Resolution mindset realistically. Often, we set resolutions that are just not obtainable in verbiage alone. Rather than, “I want to workout seven days a week,” start with, “I want to workout more.” Rather than making complete life changes, make small ones and work your way up. Acknowledge your effort and your work! Count the little wins that make the big impact! 

Here at MOMnation, we believe in keeping it FUN! That’s why we compiled this list based on your new year resolutions to help you accomplish your goals.

If your resolution is: GET IN SHAPE

Last year, the most common New Year’s resolution was exercise more, at 38%. That was followed closely by 33% of people saying they were going to lose weight. Safe to say, our physical health is easily the first thing on our minds as we head into a new year. But keeping up with these goals is a little more difficult.

Organized Running

These days, fun runs are everywhere – and you don’t have to be a “runner” to participate.   With the pleasant weather in Arizona early in the year, you’ll have an extensive and varied list to choose from. Some of our favorites:

Phoenix Women’s Half half marathon, 10K, 5K – https://raceroster.com/events/2018/13457/b3rd-annual-phoenix-womens-halfb

Runner’s Den Pancake Run 5K, 10K, and kids run is coming up in early February: http://www.runnersdenpancakerun.com/

East Valley Runners holds different distance runs every week – from hills to track workouts. Check out their meetup page here.

Hiking

One of the best parts about living in the Valley is that by the very definition, we are surrounded by mountains. There’s nothing better for both body and mind than getting outside on one of our beautiful desert trails.

San Tan Mountain Regional Park: Over 10,000 acres, we love this park that exhibits Arizona so well! Make sure you take a picture with the giant saguaro. Get more info here: https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/park-locator/san-tan-mountain-regional-park/

Phoenix Mountains Preserve – includes Piestewa Peak, which is relatively well-known and busy, but very central with easy access – https://www.visitphoenix.com/things-to-do/outdoors/biking-hiking/phoenix-mountains-preserve/

Lost Dutchmen trail at the Superstition Mountains – one of our favorite desert spots to explore, there are plenty of trails to lose the crowds. Make sure to take a map and tell someone where you’re going.  https://azstateparks.com/lost-dutchman

Group Workouts

Join us for MN Bootcamp! January 6th and 20th. More info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2065718150114341/

If your resolution is: MAKE MORE TIME FOR MOM+DAD! Hello! DATE NIGHT

We love family time. We really do. But after a busy holiday season, sometimes Mom and Dad need a little time together – sans kids. And in-laws. And kids. It’s time to reinstate the date night!

New Restaurants + Restaurant Openings

No matter the cuisine, you can find it in Phoenix and the East Valley! Despite our ever-evolving options, it’s easy to get comfortable with a restaurant or two and eat there well past you’ve made your way through the entire menu.

Here are some of our favorite existing restaurants, and a few new ones that are opening soon to get excited about:

Scramble – Early 2018. Why not do a  date breakfast? This casual breakfast and lunch spot is slated to open a new location within the Shoppes at Casa Paloma in Chandler.

Bistro1528 – This restaurant has the perfect ambiance and is always good. It’s a San Tan Valley favorite for date night!

Hash Kitchen – Spring 2018. Already a popular brunch destination in Scottsdale, Has Kitchen is bringing its Bloody Mary bar and delicious hash dishes to Raintree Ranch Center in Chandler this spring.

Meridiem Kitchen and Lounge: We love this new kitchen and lounge! They have a great  menu with tons of options… and, they have two bars and lots of wine.

Little Miss BBQ – Early 2018. This new Sunnyslope spot will be the second location of the nationally acclaimed barbecue joint, adding dinner hours and more to the menu.

Events

Winter MesaFest 2018 – Held on January 6, this free event features local music, arts and crafts for sale, and tons of delicious food.

First Fridays – You can visit more than 60 downtown Phoenix art galleries, studios and art spaces on the first Friday of every month. An amazing, free way to see some of the Valley’s best art.

Concerts – 2018 is shaping up to be a great year for music and comedy in AZ. From Willie Nelson to Milky Chance, Katy Perry to the Harry Potter film shown with the Phoenix Orchestra live…you and your hubby are sure to find something you’ll both enjoy. See the whole calendar and book tickets here – http://www.phoenixconcerts.net/

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

You have to take care of yourself in order to keep everything else running smoothly! And nothing will make you feel better than acquiring a new passion. Check out these classes below:

Make New Mom Friends

We hold over fifteen events a month! From helping with life skills, hosting night’s out, and everything in between, it’s never boring at MOMnation Events: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MOMnationAZ/events/

Classes and workshops

Plants: From landscaping and gardening, to cooking or photography, the Desert Botanical Garden offers a long list of workshops for a range of experience levels.

Camelback Flowershop holds several bouquet, flower crown, succulent garden and atrium design classes throughout the year. https://camelbackflowershop.com/collections/design-workshops

Art, Crafting and Scrapbooking: Stores like Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and Paper Source offer all kinds of DIY-style classes and workshops throughout the Valley. You can unleash your inner artist at The Phoenix Art Museum and Scottsdale Artists’ School.

Cooking: With locations like Sweet Basil – www.sweetbasilgourmet.com, Sur la Table – www.surlatable.com, and the Classic Cooking Academy – www.ccacademy.edu, you can get hands-on instruction in the kitchen, and then get to eat what you create.

If your resolution is: IMPROVE FINANCES

Let’s face it. Talking about money is never fun, especially when the wallet is feeling a little light. But when we are focusing on the future, getting finances in order is vital. Don’t worry! There are tools that are designed just for this purpose. Bonus – the majority of the above activities and ideas are free!

Use your technology

Phone apps like Mint and online personal sites like LearnVest.com are simple but also incredibly helpful when managing money. They can help you set budgets, schedule payments, track spending and more.

Utilize the people who do this for a living

You’d be surprised at the countless amenities offered by the bank you already use! Give them a call, or check out their online banking site to see what amenities are available to you. We also have some great MOMs that help with financial planning!

This is by no means an exhaustive list. We live in a wonderful city, full of opportunities to help us keep those New Year’s resolutions, whatever they may be. Best of luck to you…and Happy 2018!

The MOMnation Guide to Getting in the Holiday Spirit

As we roll into December, there’s no avoiding that the holiday season is in full swing. So, if you’ve found yourself mesmerized by a twerking Santa in a random aisle in Walgreens, pondering how to bring holiday cheer to your loved ones, we’ve got you covered.

MOMnation scanned the globe (and even our AZ neighborhoods) and came up with some endearing, some unique, and some straight weird ways that families around the world get into the spirit.

Which one of these traditions are you going to adopt?

KFC Christmas

Thanks to a wildly popular advertising campaign in the 70s, Japanese families flock to KFC for dinner on Christmas Eve. The “Christmas chicken” bucket has become so popular that people order their bucket months in advance.

Bake & Bond

Whether or not you eat sweets during the holidays, baking is one of the best ways to bond with your littles and earn bestie status with the neighborhood mom stroller strides group. We’ve noticed that the traditional and iconic gingerbread cookies have taken a back seat to a slew of witty concoctions fed to us through Pinterest- (that never REALLY turn out like the pictures #MomFail)

One recipe that has been a consistent hit during the snowy season and has found its way as a ‘go to” staple is ::drumroll please:: “reindeer droppings. “ Yes, you read that right, as if us mom’s need another reason to say the word poop. Thanks to Google, there are many different, simple and inexpensive recipes that can fit your family’s dietary needs. Therefore, you have no excuse not to start this easy tradition with your family. ::YAY::

 

“Different” Versions of Santa

Not everyone in Europe subscribes to our American idea of Santa Claus. In Italy, Italian children await the arrival of Befana, a friendly witch who delivers presents because she feels guilty for missing the birth of Jesus – due to too much housework. We can relate.

Our personal favorite is the Catalan Christmas tradition of the Tió de Nadal (or Caga Tió) – the pooping log. First, a log is hollowed out and a smiley face and red floppy hat are added. Catalonian families begin “feeding” him small treats on December 8. On Christmas Day, the log is placed in the fireplace and beat with sticks until he, well, poops out candies, fruits and nuts. Bonus – there’s a song to go with the beating.

Poop log,

Poop nougats,
Hazelnuts and mató cheese,

If you don’t poop well,

I’ll hit you with a stick,

Poop log!

The end of the defecation session is signaled by a salted herring or an onion. Once everyone in the family has collected their gifts from Tió de Nadal, he is burned for warmth. Gracias, Caga Tió.

Non-Pinterest White Elephant

Surely, in one of your social circles you’ve heard of White Elephant. If you haven’t, this holiday tradition is an inexpensive, gutsy way of getting rid of something that collects dust in your house (Score!). Families who plan gift-giving parties together will select a “white elephant” gift from their own house to give as a present- whether grandma’s old rabbit embroidered pillow that needs a new home or a dead houseplant, these exchanges are fun and corky- not the new iPhone X- like one would hope. White Elephant is becoming a staple tradition in most homes across North America. If you decide to play the White Elephant game with your family, there are also different versions of this tradition such as “only homemade DIY items” or “something from inside your own home”- clarify with your crew so everyone’s on the same page!

 

Holiday Runs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apparently, holidays aren’t JUST about gaining weight. This holiday tradition is actually festive and healthy. We’ve all heard of our cities having ‘color runs’ right? Well, the new tradition for your holiday season and for families across the states are organized ‘Santa Run’s’ or ‘Reindeer romps’. Clever titles will give you a sense of accomplishment and brings awareness to specified charities. Dress up as Santa, put bells on, hey, we’ve even seen someone dressed up as their best representation of a menorah. We especially love when strollers cruise by with sporting reindeer being pushed to the finish line. What’s better than communities coming together to spread holiday cheer with positive results?! Now, if we only could find our running shoes. 

 

Elf on the Shelf

Please tell me you bought one of these behavioral tools? We have parent’s waiting for December 1st so that their children’s “friend” can come out of hiding. Why, you ask? Well these clever additions to your family are designed to help “watch” your littles behavior in order to calm meltdowns and improve listening. We know what you’re thinking, how did this become a holiday tradition? Well, these gimmicks play a magical roll in not only our children’s lives but our lives as well! Santa’s ‘Scout Elf’ has enough Christmas magic to fly to the North Pole every night and report to Santa whether your children have been naughty or nice. After their nightly report, the ‘Scout Elf’ flies back to your home and relocates in a different spot.  Children love waking up to find the elf and hopefully* (major asterisk on that one) are better behaved while they know the elf is watching. 

Garbage Party …?

If you’re looking for ways to get your kids to do more chores, introduce them to this tradition from Guatemala. 

Guatemalan families collect garbage and sweep out their houses every year before Christmas, with each neighborhood creating a large pile. They then place an effigy of the devil on top and burn it. With the scent of burning garbage in the air, Christmas celebrations can commence.

 

 

 

..Just ask your neighbors first, okay?

 

All in all, holiday traditions are about having FUN and creating lasting memories with family and friends. Does your family have any fun/odd/awesome traditions for the holidays? We would love to hear your favorites and where they originated. And if you decide to have a pooping log this year, we want to see photos. And videos.

Merry Christmas, all!

 

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

Learn more by clicking here.