Family Friendly Camping in Northern AZ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Lou Learns to Adult: Communication Basics!

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

An adventure it was….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

Learn more about Lou from her blog at LouLearnsToAdult.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

7 Keys to a Relationship that Lasts a Lifetime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

FunFantasyRitual.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

View this home and many others at EvoAZ.com

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

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

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

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

Change the air filter to alleviate autumn allergens and pathogens.

Call an expert to clean vents.

Run fans clockwise to reduce heating costs.

Lower temperature of water heater to around 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

Insulate pipes.

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

Clean air ducts.

Check for correct amount of refrigerant.

Test for and seal leaks in ducts.

Measure evaporator coil’s airflow.

Verify correct electric control sequence.

Inspect electric terminals, and clean and tighten connections.

Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear.

Check thermostat’s accuracy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

View this and other very cool homes for sale

 

 

 

 

 

Brought to you by Team EvoAZ at Revelation Real Estate 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AWESOME fully remodeled  Home for Sale in Mesa!

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

Photos by Jessica Nelson

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

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!

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.

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! 

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