Disney Cruise checklist & tips 🧚🏻‍♀️

LAMFAM TIPS for Cruising with Disney! 

This is a little snap shot of our recent, epic cruise on the Disney Wonder ship:

Here’s our 30 min podcast offering tips, tricks and details of our experience:

Checklist:

-Mickey ears

-Lanyard & Disney pins (get them on Amazon!)

-Disney apparel

-Pirate outfit for pirate night

-Magnets for cabin door (name of family and other fun stuff)

-Waterproof camera

-Ear plugs (the ship can be noisy especially if there is a storm)

-Portable batteries

-Plastic bags for soiled clothes and such

-Cash for shopping at ports of call and tips

-Large water bottles to refill and carry

-Pack layers as temps can change quickly

-Windbreakers

-Ponchos (disposable)

-Vitamins and electrolytes

-Small bag/ backpack for going into ports

-Sunblock

-Nausea bracelets for kids under 12 (the ship offers free nausea pills for adults)

 

Tips:

-Download the kids’ favorite shows & music.  It will come in handy in stressful moments with no service and in the long boarding and deboarding process.  Bring games and snacks too!

-Pack as light as possible.  You are stuck with your luggage for a little while.  You’ll appreciate this.

-Confirm your dining schedule before you arrive.

-Clean the house and be as organized as possible prior to leaving for a stress free return home.  It’s very hard to return to reality after the Disney Cruise!

-Don’t mention nausea or discuss in front of kids if they are not showing signs or concerns of being sick (suggestion is powerful and contagious).  We were on the boat for 5 days and it didn’t bother our 5 year-old a bit!

-Keep a full stomach on ship to avoid nausea.  Empty stomach are leading cause to sea sickness.

-Try to organize, pack and prep night before departure morning.  The ship is chaotic when it’s time to deboard.

-Try to catch the sunrise from the deck.  They are amazing and there is usually no one around early in the morning.

-If you plan an adult dinner try to do it towards middle of trip.  We did it on our last night and felt more like we wanted to share the last night with our son so we didn’t spend as much time at dinner as we might have had it been earlier in the week.

-Wi-fi packages are pricey.  Free Wi-fi is nonexistent on the boat.

-There is lots of storage in the stateroom under the bed, in the closet and there are several drawers available.

-Check weather of all destinations and ports of call 1 day before departure and be sure to pack accordingly.

-Update your phone before you leave home and download the Disney Navigator app.

Enjoy your trip!!  It truly was the best vacation that we have been on as a family to date.  It was so great that we scheduled another cruise next year!

Love,

The #LamFam

 

This article is sponsored by Team EvoAZ at eXp Realty Find us on Facebook! 

Inventory levels in the Phoenix, AZ area are super low! Homes are flying off the shelves.  Know about them the minute they hit the market by clicking here! 

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10 Fun Kid Friendly Summer Break Ideas for Arizona!

10 Fun Summer Break Ideas in Arizona!
by: Jen Duncan

Splash Pads
Mansel Carter Oasis Park is a huge favorite with the kids. They have a neat pirate ship with a slide that the kids can go on over and over again. There are also some great big buckets that splash down to keep the kids cool and wet. For the nicer weather, there is a playground up on the hill with a super tall slide and lots of cool little equipment to play on. Dad can also go fishing at the lake if he gets bored!
https://www.queencreek.org/departments/parks-recreation/parks-and-recreation-master-plan-update/mansel-carter-oasis-park

Eastmark has a great Splash pad that is toddler friendly because it is fenced in. The Handlebar diner next door is great to grab a quick bite to eat or Milkshake to take to the Splash Pad.
https://www.eastmark.com/whats-here/eastmark-great-park/ http://handlebardiner.com

One of our previous MOMnationAZ blog posts has a full list of Splash Pads and links to information!

https://momnationaz.com/2017/05/pools-and-splash-pads-an-az-summertime-must-🏊🏻/


POGO Pass!
Use the code MOMNATION to get your POGO pass for ONLY $39.98! https://www.pogopass.com/phoenix

Uptown Jungle Fun Park – POGO Pass Eligible

Uptown Jungle has multiple locations across the valley with a new one just opened in Chandler. They have a great toddler area for kids under 5 and then the main play area is great for 5 and up. There are so many cool things to do and as a bonus, there is a parent lounge! It’s a great place to go to let your kids run and play to tire themselves out while you relax or get some work done.
https://uptownjungle.com/#locations

i.d.e.a. Museum – POGO Pass Eligible

The i.d.e.a. Museum is a great place to spend a few hours. They change out the exhibits every few months so there is always something new. They have activities for all ages. The toddler play area was a huge hit when my daughter was 3-4 years old! Prices are very affordable, but you can also use your POGO Pass at the museum. POGO Pass and it includes 2 visits to the i.d.e.a. Museum.
https://www.ideamuseum.org

A few other attractions you can visit with your POGO pass include Uptown Jungle, Fat Cats, The Phoenix Zoo, KTR, Golfland SunSplash and so much more!


The Crayola Experience
The Crayola Experience is brand new and located in the Chandler Mall. You can create a new crayon, do some sweet drip art, stomp and play on the interactive floor, or just sit and color. This is sure to be a huge hit with the kids to beat the heat.
https://www.crayolaexperience.com/chandler/things-to-do/attractions


Movies!
Harkins Theatres does a great 10 week series where you get 10 movies for $7. This is great for the kids to get out and watch a movie for a great price. You can attend weekly or attend whichever weeks you’d like. You buy tickets and choose a day that you would attend. You must buy the tickets at the location you plan to go to.
https://www.harkins.com/movies/summer-movie-fun


Hurricane Harbor
Six Flags just re-opened Wet N’ Wild as a Hurricane Harbor in Glendale. Growing up near Six Flags Great Adventure/Hurricane Harbor in Jackson, NJ was SO much fun! Enjoy great Water Slides and the wave pool!
https://www.wetnwildphoenix.com


Children’s Museum of Phoenix
The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is a HUGE hit amongst kids. There are many exhibits like an Art Studio, Blockmania, a Noodle Forest, and so much more!
https://childrensmuseumofphoenix.org


Open Gym
One of my daughters FAVORITE things to do when it’s hot is visit an open gym location. We go to USA Youth Fitness Center. It’s a perfect 90 minutes to let the kids get out all the wiggles and they can enjoy the trampolines, balance beams, foam pits and more!
https://usagymaz.com/events-parties/open-gym/
http://www.goldmedalgym.com/join-the-fun
http://www.northvalleygymnastics.com/project/open-gym/
http://www.impactgymaz.com/open-gym


Play Places
Chik-Fil-A and McDonalds have great play places where you can grab some lunch and let the kids burn off some energy! Be sure to check their websites to see if they have a play place and if it’s geared toward toddlers or school age kids. If it doesn’t say, give them a quick call before you pack up the kids and make the trip.
www.McDonalds.com
https://www.chick-fil-a.com


Staycation!
If you’re like me, you don’t like packing, flying, or traveling far. Resorts like the Arizona Grand Resort are great for family staycations. What’s better than staying at a local beautiful hotel where you have your own car, and know where all the restaurants are. The Oasis Water park is a HUGE hit with families looking for a great time locally.
https://www.arizonagrandresort.com
https://www.arizonagrandresort.com/#oasis-water-park

 

Ready to move?  Here’s a list of all the foreclosures, price reductions and under market value homes in the greater Phoenix area.

 

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Handling Tough Topics and the big Sleepover Question🌛

It seems like once your kiddo reaches a certain age, sleepover birthday parties and invites just start appearing in school folders.  This is a topic that is an absolute “no” for some families and a common event for others.  Navigating this can be really difficult – especially among close kid-or-mom-friends.

How do you tactfully handle tough topics with your kids’ friends or their parents?  There is no guarantee feelings won’t be hurt or offense won’t be taken but I am a big fan of honesty and having really clear expectations within your house before you communicate to others so everyone in the family is on the same page and knows expectations.  This avoids upset kids when the answer is no.

In our house we generally don’t do sleepovers and our kids know that and are ok with it.  They know why and they respect that decision.  There are a (very) few exceptions: cousins, grandparents, and friends whose families we are very familiar and have spent a lot of time with.  Statistics say that most kids that face abuse or unfathomable acts… they happen with people they know, so that is a really scary fact to overcome when considering how/when/if to allow your child to stay at another family’s house.

We have been in the situation where our kid was the only one not to participate in a sleepover.  Kiddo was ok with that because we had communicated it early on and long before the party that we just don’t do them with families we don’t know.  Our compromise was to let them stay for the movie and pick them up late, but we stuck with our rule.  There were absolutely no hurt feelings from our kiddo because the expectations were set before.  The child’s parent was a little upset that we were the only ones to not participate, but I was very upfront that it was our family rule and she respected that.  I didn’t try to make excuses for why she couldn’t stay so there wouldn’t be hurt feelings if she did do a sleepover with a cousin or something and it was discussed at school later.

There are lots of tough issues that families all handle differently – tech access, alcohol, curfews, guns in the home, supervision, where kids can go alone, etc.  The absolute only way to address any of these is to be upfront and get to know your kids’ friends’ parents.  It is worth making the effort and taking the time.  You don’t have to be best friends with them, but knowing them well enough to ask questions or share your concerns is important.  And in the reverse, do not be offended if someone asks you about these things in your home when their child comes over.  Every family is different, and asking “Are there guns in the home?” is not a statement but a completely reasonable and responsible question if you are going to be allowing your kid to go to a stranger’s house or someone else’s kid in your home.

I used to get so bent out of shape when parents brought up uncomfortable issues, but now that I have two kiddos, I truly appreciate when someone is brave enough to raise tough topics in an honest and respectful way.  Just like dealing with kids’ allergies – it would be irresponsible for the parent NOT to let you know or ask what you are having for dinner, and you wouldn’t be offended if they do.  We all need to extend grace, as we are all figuring this parenting thing out as we go and navigating some really tough issues in the process and a world that is more connected and immediate by the second.

Far more important than talking to friends’ parents… Katey McPherson in her talks always encourages parents to go with the rule of 5. Five years before your child is faced with a tough topic/issue (sex, drugs, guns, porn) you should be talking to them in an age appropriate way about your family’s values and empowering them with responses and ways to address if ever in an uncomfortable situation.  The absolute BEST protection against any bad influences or things happening to your child is their own self-confidence, their trust that you will NOT freak out if they ask for help in a tough situation, and that they are empowered to handle and stick up for themselves when they feel uncomfortable – and know how to seek help when they need it.

Many of our worst fears as parents are unfounded.  We spend weeks or years fretting over all the wrong things, while the opportunity to empower our kids with all the tools they need to extract themselves from the “worst” or make safe decisions, or get help in a crisis, is readily available EVERY day.  It is the BEST thing we can do.  We have the opportunity seeing things at school, on TV, in the news to raise tough topics and issues.  It is tough because the issues are serious, but it is necessary.  Don’t wait for someone else to teach your child about these things, do it long before they are ever faced with having to think, answer, respond about them.

And when faced with a tough issue you don’t know how to approach, ask for help.  I make a point to seek counsel from my spouse, closest girlfriends, and sometimes even other parents (who don’t know the family involved) when I am unsure of how to handle a tough situation.  Sometimes it’s good to get wise counsel before approaching another parent about an issue, because the emotions involved often cloud our better judgement, or we might be missing a perspective we haven’t thought about before.  I learn from my mom friends every day, and they are often the greatest source of counsel when dealing with a tough school or kid issue.  Lean on your village!

In summary – in approaching tough topics with your kids or other parents:

  1. Do it sooner rather than later.
  2. Be honest, don’t hide things or lie about the reasons – be up front with your kids and other mom friends when there is a concern or boundary you have.
  3. Respect mom friends who are brave enough to ask tough questions.
  4. Seek counsel from other moms or friends, while honoring relationships/privacy of those involved.
  5. Have clear expectations with your kids on tough topics: sit down and agree on these together, make sure they know your WHY. Do not spring a rule on your kids when they are invited to a party or have to respond publicly to something.
  6. Empower kids early and often with responses to tough questions, make sure they know they own their voice, their body, and the right to say no and exit ANY uncomfortable situation.
  7. Make sure your kid knows they can call you anytime for help or intervention. This doesn’t mean they need to have a phone but they do need to know how to call you and have a # memorized.
  8. If a parent is not respectful of your family’s boundaries/rules/wishes after you have been up front, or worse – singles out your kid because of it – it’s time to consider if that is a friend you want to nurture or you want your child to nurture. Often it is worth discussing and navigating even if awkward.
  9. Extend grace, every family is different and that is what makes friendships wonderful – we learn a lot from each other in the best relationships and in the different perspectives we bring to the table.

MOMnation is such an incredible resource on all these fronts, bringing a diverse group of women together to ask the tough questions, seek counsel, vent, navigate parenting, life, work, relationships alongside an incredible village!  Lean on your friends here, too!

BY: LIZ D, TEMPE MOM

 

CHECK OUT THIS EXQUISITE CRAFTSMAN BUNGALOW home for sale!

Right around the time when Arizona adopted our state flag and just before the spanish flu hit, this exquisite craftsman bungalow, The John and Eva Cummard House in Mesa, was built for the family that kept it in some fashion for the next 100 years.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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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 😮

View this home and many others at EvoAZ.com
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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 

AWESOME fully remodeled  Home for Sale in Mesa!

Click for details – NEW roof, pool, RV Parking and NO HOA! 

Photos by Jessica Nelson

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School Lunch Bag! How to Prepare for the Cafeteria at School 🍎

Your child may only have 20 minutes to eat.

There will be volunteers to help, but waiting for them costs delicious time!

 Bring food rather relying on school lunch, at least the first couple of days. Waiting in line takes time! Wait until your child is familiar with the cafeteria and with the time allotted before trying out the cafeteria offerings.

 Pack a lunch that your child can easily open. Consider practicing at home a few times to make sure!

 Provide foods that can be eaten efficiently. Cut your fruits and veggies. Halve or quarter your sandwiches.

 Have kids help with the packing process. They will know what’s in their lunch box and can develop a plan of attack!

 Make sure you’re packing something that will look just as nice after being banged around a bit! A beautiful, nutritious lunch in the morning might not be so Pinterest worthy by lunchtime!

                        

Well school has started. Time to get back into a school year rhythm. Back to getting things accomplished around the house. Or maybe time to get your own head back on straight with a nice bath and Netflix binge.

It’s also time to start packing lunches for your kids.

Sure, you could browse Pinterest, which will initially provide inspiration, but will eventually leave you feeling a little… less than. I mean who can keep up with this craziness?

Obviously, this is awesome, but who can come up with these ideas, never mind actually execute them, on a daily basis?

There is absolutely no need to get so elaborate. It adds pressure in an already difficult job. Of course, if you want to take advantage of an extra pot of coffee every so often and get really creative, I won’t stop you.

The good news is that you don’t have to. There are a few things you’re looking for when packing your child’s lunch. You want a mix of nutrients in order to cover your nutrition needs and keep your child’s little belly satisfied the whole day. Learning creates such an appetite!

You want to send your child with a colorful lunch. It’s beautiful, which means it’s more appetizing. Colors represent different nutrients, which means that by giving carrots, kiwis, and grape tomatoes, you’re hitting different micronutrients. This will also help protect them against all those nasty bugs that always accompany the back to school season.

Protein is important for building those muscles as they grow, but it also helps cue the brain into that fullness signal and helps keep your child going throughout the day.

Fat also signals the brain that you’re full. But fat also helps build up the nervous system, which impacts development of fine and gross motor skills. In essence, it helps build the brain!

Carbohydrates get a bad rap these days, but the truth is that the body uses carbohydrates for fuel. Our bodies take fuel that we provide as food and turns it into the only efficient form of energy that can actually be used in the body, glucose. Grains provide fiber and micronutrients that are very helpful to a hungry belly and growing body. The fiber in whole grains helps keep kids regular. The B vitamins help to release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

But, as I explain in this Nap Time Nutrition segment, it can be too easy to make all meals grain-based. They are quick to prepare, travel well, store well, freeze well, and are readily accepted by even the most selective eaters. So, it’s important to plan your day of meals (or week, or month if you’re way more on top of this than I am) so you can have an easy visual of the variety in your nutrition.

Variety is key. In this info graphic, I have broken down school meal options into major nutrient categories to help ensure variety while keeping it simple.

And if you do really want to spice it up and you’re looking for a middle of the road type of creativity, add a note, maybe a sparkly note. Draw a cute picture to add in your kid’s lunch. Or even hit up Amazon for some Kid Pick Forks or Eyeball Toothpicks.

Health & Happiness,
Yaffi Lvova, RDN
Creating Healthy Relationships with Food
If I’ve helped you overcome a nutrition obstacle, please feel free to review me!

 

Want to move but not sure about the schools in other areas of town?  Contact Katie Halle Lambert with Team EvoAZ at Revelation Real Estate for school info in all areas of Phoenix and surrounding cities.
EvoAZ.com
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Should I Test My Child Into Kindergarten Early in Arizona?

Kindergarten…it’s a hot topic amongst Moms in Arizona. We start school here SO early compared to parts of the country. Growing up in New Jersey, we started after labor day so the cut-off dates were different. My Mom also told me that Kindergarten wasn’t as rigorous when I was young.

In Arizona, the cutoff to enter Kindergarten is generally August 31st. Your child would have to be 5 years old by the cutoff date to enter Kindergarten without having to take an early entrance test. However, there is an option in most districts to test in for children whose birthdays fall between September 1st and December 31st. But, is it a good idea?

When speaking with some of the 5,000+ Moms in the MOMnationAZ Facebook Group, it’s a pretty common theme that most would rather have their boys wait to start so they will be older than many other kids in the class. Generally, boys mature at a slower pace than girls and benefit from being older. Girls are more favorable for early entrance because they are usually more mature and advanced. One Mom said, in California the cutoff is December 31st. She mentioned one of her kids that she thought would do great, ended up struggling and the other ended up thriving. It was still recommended to hold them back when they moved to AZ because the school they chose was more rigorous. A few teachers that chimed in said they can definitely see the maturity difference in the kids who are younger vs older. Still, kids will be kids and each are different! Many Moms commented that their kids tested in early and are still thriving years later!

A few things to think about if you want to test your child in early:

  1. Have they gone to preschool in a classroom setting? This helped our daughter tremendously with her knowledge and social encounters. She was reading by the age of 4 and knows all of the topics that are on the list of what they will learn in Kindergarten. She also learned sharing and working with others.

  2. Do they know the items on the Kindergarten readiness sheet? It’s not all just academic. A few of the items are:

    1. Can they put on their jacket or backpack themselves?

    2. Do they separate well from their parents?

    3. Can they open their own snacks and lunch?

    4. Can they wipe their own butt? HAHA. Mine is still learning!

     3) Think about the future:

    1. They will be the last to drive in their grade. Since you can get your license at 16 in Arizona, I considered this a non-issue. She will still be able to drive almost 2 years in High School.

    2. Boys may be smaller than others in their class and have a disadvantage in sports.

    3. Girls would be entering high school at 13 years old which is not comforting to some parents, especially their Dads.

You’re probably wondering what to do if you want to test your child in early. Here’s the process that we went through. Each school district may be different so do your research! I would start planning at least a year ahead to prepare your child. Start researching schools and their policies and talk to other parents with kids in that school.

  1. I called the school district office in March to ask when they would be doing the early testing. The lady put me on the list and called me in April to schedule the test.

  2. Send in payment for the testing (if applicable). It was $30 in our district.

  3. The day of testing (in June), we checked in in the library and they had coloring sheets for the kids. Our group was mostly girls and one little boy. When it was time to go back, the teacher had them line up and go to a different room. They observed who separated well and who listened to directions.

My Daughter’s Review of What They Did in Testing (Varies by District)

  1. They were instructed to draw a circle and write their name inside the circle. Then, they had to place a sticker above their name and then cut out the circle.

  2. She said they did some practice with identifying letters, but didn’t fully explain.

  3. The teacher read them a book and I’m guessing that she was watching to see how they sit still and listen.

  4. Afterwards they colored a caterpillar and started to cut it out.

  5. She specifically told me that she listened when the teacher said to push in their chairs.

About a week and a half later we got the letter that she was accepted into Kindergarten! The teacher does evaluate each early entrance child at 30 days to determine if Kindergarten is a good fit.

Our district does a 3 day Kinder Camp type of program to get them used to the classroom setting. I highly recommend this if your district offers it! My daughter loved Kinder Camp! I feel this made her first day of real Kindergarten so much easier especially being a little fish in a big sea!

Meanwhile, I’m over here about to cry my eyes out because my baby moved from her wonderful Preschool into Kindergarten!

Jen Duncan AKA The New Build Ninja
(480) 707-7554

Jen Duncan, super MOMmy of one special little lady, fearlessly guiding local MOMs and Dads through the real estate process with extra ninja prowess in new construction.  SEARCH new homes here!

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