Balance Bike to Two Wheels: A Bicycle Riding Success Story 

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My four-year-old little boy confidently hopped on a two-wheel bicycle for the first time this past weekend and rode off into the sunset like he’s known how his whole life.  He can thank the time spent cruising around on his balance bike for his successful first time out on the regular bike.   

Shortly after his 3rd birthday, he got a balance bike from Santa Claus.  This kid has always been a little bit ahead of the pack when it comes to his physical development.  He was standing without any assistance at 8 months and walking shortly after that.  He was riding a Micro-Mini Scooter around the neighborhood at 18 months old.  He is basically fearless and likes to worry his mommy as a past-time.   

In case you are not familiar with what a balance bike is, it’s a small little bike that doesn’t have pedals, so the rider uses their feet to propel it forward and stop.  It’s low to the ground so there’s no chance of the child falling off since their feet are able to touch the ground to keep them stable.  When the rider gets going, they will lift their feet up to coast along until the bike looses momentum.  As they coast, they are using all the skills needed to stay upright, which makes the rider’s transition to a two-wheel bike a natural one.  The balance bike teaches the child how to master their balance using core strength, navigate the bike around obstacles, control their speed, and develops those gross motor skills. You can check out the balance bike I have here. 

His older brother started his bike riding journey on training wheels and while he generally rides life on the side of caution, he was not one bit interested in taking those training wheels off, even though he is a very kinesthetic learner.  Big Bro started zipping around on the balance bike and then one day, while he was at a friend’s house for a playdate, he picked up one of their two-wheel bikes and started riding around like no big deal.  You better believe we took those training wheels off as soon as we got home that day! 

For the last 2 years, Mr. Independent Fournado has been cruising on his balance bike, and when I say cruising, I mean, he hikes his little legs up and coasts for several yards until the bike starts to lose momentum.  I just knew that he was ready for a full-fledged bicycle sans the training wheels.   

A dear family friend (and fellow Scottsdale Moms contributor) gave us her son’s old bike, which was actually a brand new bike that he never rode and outgrew.  We used this “new” bike as a bribery tool for being a good patient at the dentist (ask me for more awesome parenting strategies).  He was so excited to ride it, he would have done anything!  The day following the dentist appointment, he hoped on that two-wheeler and was ready to go.  For about 15 minutes I ran alongside him, holding both the handle bar and the back of the seat as he peddled.  He was hung up on how to pedal, so he kept looking down at his feet and not where he was going.  We nearly ran into a few obstacles like the mailbox, a palm tree, and a parked car.  This was not for the faint of heart, let me tell you, but he is Second Kid so I was a little less precious about the idea of him falling and getting hurt.   

Once he figured out how to pedal, and me yelling, “Look straight ahead, not down,” and him yelling back, “I am, Mommy,” we got into a rhythm.  I took away my hand on the handle bar and just held the back of the seat, running alongside him.  Eventually, my hand went to his shoulder on the opposite side of me.  Progressively, I had just a finger under his armpit.  Then I did the hardest thing in the world and what every mother must do at some point… I let go.   

I let go and ran alongside him as fast as I could keeping his pace.  He got faster and faster and before I knew it, he was half way down the street, leaving me in his dust.  Nothing prepares you for letting your child ride off into the sunset, and yet, that is the goal, isn’t it?  To build them up with confidence and equip them with everything they need to go off into the world.  To be there in case they need us, and to cheer them on for their bravery and their incredible accomplishments.  Wait, I was just talking about riding a bike.  Two things I still have to teach him are slowing down and stopping so he’s not quite ready to be off on his own.   

Back to learning how to ride a bike, I highly recommend getting your child started on the balance bike and skipping the training wheels altogether.  They’ll be riding off into the sunset in no time!  But don’t worry, Mama, they always come home for dinner.   

Chic DIY Gold Foil Halloween Project

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ash-witchFrom a young age, I developed a love of all things Halloween. I can remember vividly asking to be a witch year after year. Putting on those long, pointy, black plastic fingernails, I began my transformation. I would sit still while my mom caked my face with gobs of white face paint, and worked on the tiny braids that would be undone for the perfect frizzed out hair. I enjoyed walking around the neighborhood to see all of the spooky decorations. The best part was the special night we would all go out as a family to pick out our pumpkins for carving. And let’s not forget all the CANDY!

Now that I have children of my own, I want to bring that same love and excitement for the haunted Halloween season into their lives. So, I have created this fun little project that isn’t too scary for the younger kids, and a real treat for all of us DIY craft moms.

 

 

trick or treat white smell my feet whitegood to eat white

Supplies for the Black Paper Project

  1. Download Free Printables ———-> (Trick or Treat) (Smell my Feet) (Something Good to Eat)
  2. Black Card-stock
  3. Toner Reactive Gold Foil
  4. 2 way glue pen
  5. Scissors
  6. Paper towel

Gather all of your materials. Download the free printables.

Step 1. Print the design on any printer! (I took my own black paper to Staple and had them print it for me! )

Step 2. Using two way glue pen, trace the printed design.

Step 3. Wait a few seconds for the glue to turn shiny and is no longer milky looking. (Don’t wait too long for the glue to change or the foil won’t stick to the glue.)

Step 4. Trim the gold foil to fit the area, placing the gold side up.

gold-foil-black-paper-step-1

 

gold-foil-black-step-5-8

Step 5. Using the paper towel, gently rub the foil to help the foil transfer.

Step 6 & 7. Slowly remove the foil. Repeat steps 2-6 for the rest of the design. (Only work one area at a time to help the process go smoothly)

Step 8. Admire your work! The underlying glue gives the foil a painted quality. If the foil doesn’t stick in some areas… which can happen, it gives the design a more spooky, aged look.

Supplies for White Paper Project

  1. Download Free Printables ———-> (Trick or Treat) (Smell my Feet(Something Good to Eat)
  2. White Gloss Cardstock
  3. Toner Reactive Gold Foil
  4. Hot Laminator
  5. One plain piece of paper
  6. Scissors

Download the free printables.

Step 1. Have the free printables, printed onto a high gloss white card-stock, using a LASER PRINTER!! It has to be a laser, because the foil reacts with the toner in the ink. (An ink jet will not work for this process!) I took mine to Staples and asked them to use a white high gloss card stock paper.

Step 2. Cut gold foil to fit the area of the project, place gold side up. You can place a small bit of washi tape to hold them in place if they are sliding around.

Step 3. Sandwich the gloss paper & foil pieces between a plain folded piece of paper. (This helps the foil stay in place while running it through the laminator.)

Step 4. Let the laminator heat up and then place the sandwiched project into the tray. Let the laminator do it’s thing! (Sometimes I run my project through a few times just to make sure all the areas were covered.)

gold-foil-white-step-1

Step 5. Your foil should look something like this if the process worked. The foil looks slightly shrink wrapped onto the design. Let the paper cool off.

Step 6. Slowly peel the foil of the paper.

Step 7. Check out how it worked!!

Step 8. If you have some spots that didn’t take, try putting on a small piece of foil and run it back through the laminator, or use a glue pen to touch up those areas, as shown in the above tutorial.

gold-foil-white-step-5-8

 

3-up

Side Note:

-I found that you can use the laminator method for the black paper using a laser printer. The results tend to be a little more choppy with gaps where the foil did not transfer correctly. (Because the paper has texture to it.) The smoother the paper the better the results.

-It is also important to know that some of the fonts and lines may be very small to trace, in this case use the tip of the glue pen, just do your best!

I hope this is enjoyable for all of you DIY-ers. Have a safe, fun, and Haunted Halloween!! Let us know how your DIY project goes! Have fun and Craft Hard.

3 Easy Halloween Recipes

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HAlloween Collage2

It may still be 100 degrees outside, but by every Halloween I am ready for cooler temps. I know it is getting cooler outside, but it doesn’t really feel Fall-like when the kids can’t wear elaborate, fuzzy, well-layered Halloween costumes without also over-heating. But I just pretend that it is really cool, crisp and Fall-like outside by making Fall inspired dinners.

Here are three, super easy dinner recipes to feed your family before running all around the neighborhood collecting bags of candy. Each of these recipes is fairly healthy so you will have no guilt sneaking one…or two….or a dozen of those mini Snickers after the kids go to bed. All three of these recipes use the crock pot, because nothing screams “Fall” more than dinner simmering all day in a crock pot.

  1. Easiest, best pulled pork in the world. Even if this recipe took a ton of work, I would still make it. It is that good. Plus EVERY SINGLE member of my family loves it. This never happens. NEVER.
  2. Super fast chili recipe. So this one is healthy before I top it with loads of shredded cheese and sour cream, but I am sneaking in a ton of veggies that I otherwise could not get my kiddos to eat.
  3. Easy beef tacos. This recipe is versatile because you could use this meat in tacos, quesadillas, on top of salads, or it’s amazing on its own!

Happy Trick-or-Treating to all of you!

Spooky Slime – Easy Halloween DIY

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It’s really quite hilarious that I’m over here, like, “I know! I’ll do a Halloween craft for this month’s SMB post!” Because, you guys, I don’t craft. I’m just not good at it. I want to be a crafty mom, and believe me, I have tried…and failed…and tried again…and continued to fail. But you know what? I will not compare myself to others. The Lord has blessed me with other gifts and talents and He grows them in me all the time, so it’s OK. I’m at peace and will not let comparison steal my joy. One gift that has been placed within me is that I can cook. Another is that I’m kind of into science experiments, so this craft is more like one part cooking and one part science experiment. I can totally manage it, and so can you! I give to you…how to make slime!

Kiddos LOVE making this slime stuff. I do too, because it’s affordable to make, easy, the clean up is a breeze and it provides a lot of entertainment. I like to make it with my preschooler for whatever current holiday is approaching and coordinate the colors accordingly.  Since Halloween is coming up, I did orange & black slime, but green slime could become monster guts and purple could be something witchy.

To make the slime, you will need everything pictured here:   Slime Ingredients

Follow these easy steps:

  1. In a glass bowl, pour out one 4oz bottle of clear Elmer’s glue. Fill that emptied bottle with cold water and add it to the glue. Stir well to combine. I recommend a metal spoon.
  2. Add 6-8 drops of food coloring and stir.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of glitter and stir. Go ahead and add a dash more of glitter if you feel like it.
  4. In a separate bowl, add ½ teaspoon of Borax into a ½ cup of boiling hot water. Be sure the kids don’t miss that action because it will make a little fizzy eruption that lasts for just a couple seconds. Stir the water until Borax is completely dissolved.

Here comes the cool science part.

5. Slowly pour the Borax water mixture into the colorful, glittery glue mixture while stirring. Be amazed as the whole thing starts to transform into this weird, stretchy blob.

‘The glue has an ingredient called polyvinyl acetate, which is a liquid polymer. The Borax links the polyvinyl acetate molecules to each other, creating one large, flexible polymer.” –Home Science Tools 

As it gets really thick, don’t be afraid to get your hands in there and start kneading your blob to incorporate all the water. The temperature of that boiling water cools off quickly, but still, give it a little test before you just stick your (or your little’s) hand in there.

fullsizerender-2-2
Actual preschooler in action

And that’s it!  Now you have a big ol’ blob of slime. Sit back and enjoy a delicious beverage because kids are now totally entertained and amazed at your awesome mom skills.

The finished product!
The finished product!

 Pro-tips:

  • The glue must be clear, and Elmer’s works best for consistency.
  • Use ultra fine glitter.
  • When not playing with slime, keep it in a ziplock bag and store in the fridge to keep it from growing mold.
  • If you’re not already using Borax around your home, there’s a ton of cool stuff it can be used for. It’s not just for laundry, but it is great for that, too!
  • Get a manicure before taking pictures of self making slime and posting on SMB.

Affording Braces for Your Child

The investment made to improve a smile is some of the most important money you will ever spend to boost your child’s self-confidence. Our partners at Dunn Orthodontics believe finances shouldn’t stand between your child and a great smile, and they work hard to ensure orthodontic treatment is both attainable and affordable. 

“How much do braces cost?” is one of the most asked questions Drs. Matthew and Courtney Dunn get asked. We want to help answer that question! While the cost of braces can vary based on your individual needs and length of treatment, for the team at Dunn Orthodontics, it is their priority to make braces an affordable and worthwhile investment for Phoenix and Scottsdale area families. 

Here are several easy ways to save on braces! 

Ask About Payment Options

Working with a budget? We’ve got you! When you visit an orthodontist, be sure to ask about financial options offered for orthodontic treatment. The team at Dunn Orthodontics works closely with families to customize a payment plan that makes sense for their needs. They offer braces starting at $99/month, a pay-in-full discount, and a no down payment option, which can make it easier for families to afford braces. Check out their financial calculator here to see how you can get the most flexible financial options available. 

Health Savings & Flex Spending Accounts

Use pre-tax dollars to get started on a new smile! The money saved can be significant. If you have a flex spending account, don’t forget to use the dollars before the end of the year or lose them for good. You may have this benefit through your employer. If you have not elected to use this benefit, open enrollment is a good time to revisit it and plan for the new year! You can start saving toward a new smile today. A little contribution each pay period to an HSA or FSA can go a long way toward a new smile. 

Dental Insurance

Orthodontic treatment may be covered by your dental insurance. The team at Dunn Orthodontics wants to maximize your benefits and help your family have access to premium orthodontic care. They accept all PPO insurance plans and will help you determine the coverage you have available and take care of all the paperwork so you can relax. It may surprise you how much is covered!

Ready to get started on the smile you’ve always wanted for your child? Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dunn Orthodontics. Get started with braces as low as $99/month today!

Dr. Matt Dunn and Dr. Courtney Dunn

 

Thank you to our partners at Dunn Orthodontics for providing the content in this sponsored post.

How To Limit Halloween Candy: Get TRICKY with those TREATS!

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Alright Moms, we all know it’s coming.  Candy, candy and more candy! With Halloween parties, decorative bowls of candy corn, and of course Trick-or-Treating, the sugar rush is upon us.Candy Jar 3

I doubt I’m alone when I say “I choose my battles” when it comes to my happy home of determined toddlers. So this year, I thought I would take a different approach to limit Halloween candy while avoiding the sugar argument as much as possible.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to get Tricky with those Treats this year!

Step 1: Buy a large mason jar for each child (size of your choosing) for the amount of candy your little one gets to “keep” throughout all Halloween events. *already a step in the right direction* (Hmm…don’t I sound like a fun mom!)

I labeled each jar with their name and Treats for Good Deeds. The name says it all! They know what needs to be done to earn the candy rather than a fit every time they want it! *Fingers crossed!

Candy Jar 1

 Step 2: Buy a smaller mason jar, which I labeled the “Boo Boo Behavior” Jar. Bad behavior means a candy piece from the “Treats for Good Deeds” Jar is moving to a new home! Straight to the “Boo Boo Behavior” Jar. Yes, I bought a smaller jar with the high hopes my children will not fill this jar too quickly.

Candy Jar 4

Step 3: Decorate! I love my crafts so I had so much fun decorating these jars with the hopes to use them for years to come! This could also be the perfect craft project for kiddos of all ages!

Candy Jar 2

 Step 4: Time to fill those “Treats for Good Deeds” candy jars and enjoy the Halloween season!

Happy Trick or Treating!!

An Easy Weeknight Dinner Hack That’s Good Every Time

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If you’re like me, you’re always looking for easy weeknight dinner options. I love to cook, but not on weeknights. Between wrangling a toddler, a job, and all the stuff in between, weeknight dinners have to be fast, easy, and healthy.

Chicken is a dinner staple, but making it from scratch is time-consuming and messy and it doesn’t always turn out very good. In the bleary-eyed weeks after having a baby, I remember thinking “there must be a better way to have a fast, healthy, and easy weeknight dinner without all the hassle.”

Well, my friends, there is: the answer is store-bought rotisserie chicken. It is moist and delicious and perfectly cooked every time without the mess. You can find it for around six bucks at Costco and a few other grocery stores.  

“But I can’t eat rotisserie chicken every week” you say. Of course, rotisserie chicken on its own every night would probably get boring. But you can turn a simple rotisserie chicken into dozens of different meals in under 30 minutes. 

Here are three of my family’s favorites:

  • Chicken Caesar Salad – Slice up the chicken breasts and make a salad with the best Caesar dressing. This dressing is made with hard-boiled egg yolk instead of raw, so it’s safe for kiddos and pregnant mamas alike. Skip the cheese and croutons for a healthier option. If you get your lettuce off the salad bar or in a clam shell, you don’t have to chop it!
  • Chicken Fajitas – Pull apart the meat. Sautee a sliced onion and red/green bell peppers with some of this easy taco seasoning (make a big batch and store in a mason jar and you won’t have to worry about preservatives and sodium in the store-bought packets). After your veggies are cooked, add the chicken to the pan and toss it all together. Serve with fajita fixins’ like lettuce (salad bar! no chopping!), avocado, shredded cheese, salsa and tortillas. If you’ve got extra time and want to get fancy, empty a can or two of black beans into a saucepan, add one or two whole garlic cloves and a few stems of fresh cilantro and let it simmer while you’re preparing everything else.
  • Rainbow Bowls – Pull apart or slice the meat. Make a pot of quinoa (you can do this ahead). Put a big serving of quinoa in your bowl and add whatever your heart desires—and that you have in your refrigerator. Random veggies? Roast ‘em and throw ‘em in the bowl! Leftover salad greens? Great, chop ‘em up and throw ‘em in! Add chicken and top with whatever you like: a scoop of hummos, sliced avocado, salsa, hot sauce, barbeque sauce… the sky is the limit. If your bowls are too small or your husband doesn’t consider this a real meal (speaking from experience), put it all on a plate and add more chicken. This doubles as a great take-to-work lunch, since it’s yummy hot or cold. You can also make it more appealing to the younger crowd in your house by offering veggies and toppings they like and letting them assemble their own bowls.

So there you have it. Three easy weeknight dinner options all using a rotisserie chicken. They’re so delicious you’ll forget you’re eating a store-bought rotisserie chicken again.

Do you have creative ways of serving rotisserie chicken? Tell us about them!

Mommin’ is Hard; But Please Don’t Fix Me

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Mommin’ is hard. But, I am about to give you the most freeing statement.

You are not responsible for fixing another mama.

I mean, does that not deserve a big exhale? Making decisions big and small for our own families is an enormous responsibility; however, when another mama shares her current challenges why do we feel the need to jump in to fix it for her?

We often believe that giving advice or solutions is supportive and even compassionate, but many moms are left feeling judged or even shamed. Yes, our help can often just be judgy opinions clothed in mom jargon with a pretty ribbon of  Oh Bless Your Heart

Recently I posted in a private moms group asking for prayer for wisdom on a decision that I had to make for my little. I wasn’t met with prayers at all. Instead I awoke to a gazillion notifications of unsolicited advice and A LOT of YOU SHOULD… And I have learned you  never SHOULD on a mama. I did not want to be fixed. I wanted to feel supported.

Mommin’ is hard. To be able just to express your feelings and know you are not alone is so necessary to our journeys as mothers. I have discovered that often times we mistake someone’s cry for support with our need to fix because we ourselves are so uncomfortable with the big feelings that come from parenting. Somehow that advice we give is an unconscious attempt to control our own feelings. And I know this mama is an ever-recovering control freak. 

How can we support one another? Easy. Just tell that mama that she is not alone. It’s that simple. You may be wondering when it is okay to offer advice? Well in my experience, a mom will ask. If you are not sure, again just ask if there is anything that you can do. In these moments, I have also recognized my own uncomfortable feelings and receive it as an invitation to deal with them. In many situations, the support of mama friends actually is the door that opens to the solution that a mom needs. 

Sometimes motherhood feels like a lonely place. What we desire is connection and community. Fixing one another implies that there is something wrong with what we are feeling or experiencing.  Most often our need for understanding is mistaken with a need for help. Our greatest way to actually help one another is to be able to sit in a space of empathy and not sympathy. Empathy is the ability to sit with other people’s feelings as if we were having them ourselves. It is being present with the person. Sympathy refers to the ability to recognize someone’s feelings and feeling sorrow for them, but not participate with them. Most of the time, sympathy leads to a need to fix or compare.

Being a mom has been my own great journey to experience the real humanity of others. What we all desire is to be able to be vulnerable in our truth without the fear of the world telling us we are doing it all wrong. Mommin’ is hard. We are not humans to be fixed. We are mothers collectively called to stand in the gap for one another. 

Thank you Thursday {October 2020 Edition}

Thank You Thursday {October Edition}

Thank You Thursday is a {sometimes} monthly Scottsdale Moms series. Our team is so LUCKY to receive products, try new local venues, and hear about new things to do all the time. Our job is so much fun! But we want to share all of these fun new finds with all of you, plus give a huge THANK YOU to companies that reach out to us.

Hope you enjoy reading about our new finds!

Bags to hold all the things {even snacks} plus doing good things for the world

 

These adorable bags are perfect to hold all.the.things. Of course they can keep you organized with the little things floating around and getting lost in your bag, but they are also great for snacks. They are easily washable and they will save you on all those one-time use plastic baggies. Also these bags are available in the cutest prints and patterns. Check out their website on how you can get all the sizes for your organization and snacking needs. Plus they have socks, dog collars, crossbody bags, and more. 

 

Thank you to Sokwe for sending us a whole box of bags to try. We love them and we love supporting a company that is not only women owned and operated but 10% of their profits go back to chimpanzee conservation.  

Grocery Cart Organization {Introducing The Lotus Trolley Bag}

The Lotus Trolley Bag grocery cart organization system is the perfect invention for all our grocery shopping needs. The system works to divide your cart into multiple sections and then can be used to load your groceries into your car and easily put away at home. I love that we don’t need grocery bags anymore and I love that the groceries can be organized into each section to be put away at home with so much less hassle. {Check out the video on their website to see how they work, it is genius!}

Thank you to The Lotus Trolley Bag Team for sending us one of the cart systems to try on our shopping trips. You can pick up your own cart system at Fry’s Marketplace (we saw them available to purchase at the front of the store) or online on Amazon here.  

Thanks again to all the businesses for reaching out to Scottsdale Moms.

Keep an eye out for future Thank you Thursday articles, we have new products and reviews coming in all the time!

If you would like to send us products to try or have another idea that should be included in our monthly Thank You Thursday articles, find out more information here.

Family Friendly Events In and Around Scottsdale {October 2020}

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Welcome to October, Scottsdale Moms!  Have you had a chance to sip on your PSL yet?  Did you check out our Guide to the Best Pumpkin Patches in AZ?  Will we finally start to see the heat subside a little?  Fingers crossed! Meanwhile, we continue to turn to our local businesses to provide some virtual entertainment and resources to keep us occupied.  We dug up some Trunk or Treat events held at local churches that sound like fun for the kiddos.  This month’s calendar remains to be a work in progress and we will continue to update it as we learn about different events. Stay safe, Scottsdale Moms! Let’s keep our kids set up for success as they head back to school (in whatever way that looks like for your family) and let us encourage you that you are not in this alone.  Even in times of uncertainty and stress, the time to be with our family truly is a blessing. Remember to find ways to relax and spend time together to connect and grow.  That’s when the best memories are made. The flip side is to also take some time to be alone for some peace & quiet.

Are there any events that we haven’t covered or do you know of a future family friendly event our community should know about? Feel free to submit your event HERE

Interested in writing for Scottsdale Moms Blog? Get in touch with us HERE


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Oct
17
2020 FALL CONCERT SERIES ~ THE INSTANT CLASSICS at Scottsdale Quarter
Bring your chairs and dance moves to The Quad to see The Instant Classics perform Saturday evening, October 3rd! We will also be partnering with local...
Oct
18
Dinosaurs of Antartica
Latest Attraction at the Arizona Science Center… From the Permian through the Jurassic, journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hund...
Oct
19
Dinosaurs of Antartica
Latest Attraction at the Arizona Science Center… From the Permian through the Jurassic, journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hund...
Oct
20
Dinosaurs of Antartica
Latest Attraction at the Arizona Science Center… From the Permian through the Jurassic, journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hund...
Oct
21
Dinosaurs of Antartica
Latest Attraction at the Arizona Science Center… From the Permian through the Jurassic, journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hund...
Oct
22
Dinosaurs of Antartica
Latest Attraction at the Arizona Science Center… From the Permian through the Jurassic, journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hund...
Oct
23
Dinosaurs of Antartica
Latest Attraction at the Arizona Science Center… From the Permian through the Jurassic, journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hund...
Oct
24
Dinosaurs of Antartica
Latest Attraction at the Arizona Science Center… From the Permian through the Jurassic, journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hund...
Oct
24
2020 FALL CONCERT SERIES ~ THE INSTANT CLASSICS at Scottsdale Quarter
Bring your chairs and dance moves to The Quad to see The Instant Classics perform Saturday evening, October 3rd! We will also be partnering with local...
Oct
25
Dinosaurs of Antartica
Latest Attraction at the Arizona Science Center… From the Permian through the Jurassic, journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hund...
Oct
25
Drive-Thru Halloween Parade ~ Presented by Local Savvy AZ
Local Savvy AZ is hosting a free drive-through Halloween parade on Sunday, October 25th from 4:00 – 5:00 PM in the Casy Preschool parking lot. Every...
Oct
26
Dinosaurs of Antartica
Latest Attraction at the Arizona Science Center… From the Permian through the Jurassic, journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hund...
Oct
27
Dinosaurs of Antartica
Latest Attraction at the Arizona Science Center… From the Permian through the Jurassic, journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hund...
Oct
28
Dinosaurs of Antartica
Latest Attraction at the Arizona Science Center… From the Permian through the Jurassic, journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hund...
Oct
29
Dinosaurs of Antartica
Latest Attraction at the Arizona Science Center… From the Permian through the Jurassic, journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hund...
Oct
30
Dinosaurs of Antartica
Latest Attraction at the Arizona Science Center… From the Permian through the Jurassic, journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hund...
Oct
30
Trunk or Treat at North Bible Church
First Annual North Bible Trunk or Treat Community Event October 30, 530-7:30pm, North Parking Lot Join the fun as we provide a safe alternative to tri...
Oct
31
Dinosaurs of Antartica
Latest Attraction at the Arizona Science Center… From the Permian through the Jurassic, journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hund...
Oct
31
2020 FALL CONCERT SERIES ~ THE INSTANT CLASSICS at Scottsdale Quarter
Bring your chairs and dance moves to The Quad to see The Instant Classics perform Saturday evening, October 3rd! We will also be partnering with local...
Oct
31
TreatTacular
Bust out the costumes and join us for an evening of fun, music and CANDY! We’ll have tons of candy, decorations and fun in the Desert Springs Bi...

Do you follow us on Instagram?  Find us at @scottsdalemoms for inspo, news, connection, more local events as we hear of them, and of course follow our contributors in the stories. 

Have you joined one of our community groups yet?  

We have two Facebook groups for Scottsdale moms to connect, support and encourage each other. Join a group based on what part of Scottsdale you’re in, North or South. Visit the links below and request to join today! Please feel free to share any events you are aware of that other local mamas should know about, too.  

SMB Community & Connection {North Scottsdale}

SMB Community & Connection {South Scottsdale}

*For information on how to be a sponsor for Scottsdale Moms’ Monthly Guide to Family Friendly Events, please email [email protected] 

Halloween Decorations: Creepy Crawly and Cheap!

Every year my sons beg to decorate for Halloween. I love it! However, I don’t love spending an arm and a leg on decorations…especially when they look like just that: a bloody arm and a bloody leg. They’re just not pretty like Christmas decorations. Plus, we have two birthdays coming up, Halloween itself, then Thanksgiving all within a month of each other. Then it’s Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, it is my FAVORITE time of the year! However, between budget and time, Halloween decorations go by the wayside. Especially when my sons are begging for the possessed doll or the creepy clown. Ummmm…No thanks.

This year I knew our budget would be super tight, but now that my oldest son is *almost* six, I really wanted to start being more intentional about traditions. He’s getting to the age when he will remember what we do. So I’ve worked really hard to make our house feel festive. I just have three rules for our decorations: they need to be cheap, they need to be easy, and we need to love them (AKA no severed arms or legs).

Here it goes…My tips for keeping it cheap and easy!

1. Decorate with spider webs. I already had spider webs and fake spiders, so this was $0. I needed to find a way to decorate so that my 11 month old didn’t get her hands on it. So I wrapped up my lanterns and felt like it was just enough to be festive without looking too gaudy. Also, I kind of love it. I think this was the most “transformational” of my decorations!

My boys loved putting the spiders on their web!

2. Buy gourds and mini pumpkins at Trader Joe’s. I love Trader Joe’s. Each gourd and pumpkin were under $1. I love that I get to use them all the way through Thanksgiving!

3. Decorate with googly eyes. This made my children SO excited. I used glue dots on the back of googly eyes to stick them to the pumpkins and gourds. It’s so silly and kind of adorable.

I don’t keep all the pumpkins here, but these are all the ones I put eyes on 🙂

4. Hit up the Target Dollar Spot. I love the little string lights they sell for $3. I almost never turn them on, but it’s fun when we do. The lights almost look like a little garland, which is what I use them for. I also bought a couple of $1 packs of googly eyes (including the big ones) and some gel clings for our windows.

5. Scour Goodwill. It’s amazing what people give away! My rule: I have to LOVE what I’m getting. I’d rather save the money than buy a “meh” decoration at Goodwill. This year I found a $3 ghost that looks like it is flying between trees in my front yard. My boys are beyond excited about it. 

6. Use your letter boards. I don’t know if you have a letter board, but we love ours! I love the added touch a festive quote gives. Plus, watching Hocus Pocus is a favorite tradition of ours (our kids aren’t old enough yet, but maybe next year!). We love it so much that we named our (black) cat Binx after Thackery Binx.

halloween decorations
Letterboard reads: “It’s all a bunch of Hocus Pocus”

7. Dress up your diffuser. Another $0 decoration. All I did was cut out a jack o lantern face from construction paper. When I’m diffusing I make sure I put it on the orange setting. I have also been wanting to cut out some bats to put on my wall, but I haven’t had the chance yet.

halloween decorations

8. Buy large pumpkins from Costco. Costco has large pumpkins for only $6.99. I don’t know if we will have time to go to a pumpkin patch this year, but if we do we most certainly won’t be getting the “HUGE” pumpkins that my boys asked for. Thank you for saving the day again, Costco!

halloween decorations

Making the intentional effort to decorate with my kids has already uplifted ALL of our spirits. It’s been so fun watching my kids be so excited about our home and the upcoming holiday. I hope this list was helpful for you too. I’d love to hear about your decorations and traditions in the comments!

How Journaling Can Enhance Your Life

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From helping you to feel more confident to boosting your critical thinking skills, journaling provides many benefits. This self-care practice can aid you in your pursuit of happiness and growth by giving you a space to self-reflect, troubleshoot, and “brain dump.” Whether you’re looking to improve a particular aspect of your life, such as a relationship with someone, express gratitude, want to track your progress on achieving a specific goal, or you just want a space to be creative, journaling is a great place to start.

This post highlights some of the main benefits of journaling and provides examples of journals you can start keeping along with prompts to help you get started.

What Are the Benefits of Journaling?

There are so many advantages to keeping a journal. Depending on your personal goals and how you use your journal, you may experience the following benefits:

  1. Improves mental and physical health: Journaling is a great way to practice self-care and can help reduce stress and manage anxiety. Research shows that expressive writing may also help to improve various physical health issues. People have reported experiencing improvements, such as improved immune system functioning, reduced blood pressure, and improved lung function.

  2. Supports goal achievement: Writing down a goal can make it feel more tangible. You can also use a journal to track your progress.

  3. Drives creativity: A journal can be a great place to freely write down your ideas and thoughts. You can also doodle as well as use prompts to boost your imagination.

  4. Heightens communication: By organizing your thoughts, you can become a better communicator.

  5. Develops writing skills: Journaling is a great way to practice supporting an argument and can help boost your vocabulary.

  6. Boosts critical thinking skills: Journaling, in particular reflective journaling, can help you become a better problem solver. You can address problems in your journal and think critically about the most effective ways to solve them.

  7. Drives self-confidence: A journaling can aid you in managing both your schedule and thoughts. This can leave you feeling more in control, and thus more confident in yourself and your abilities.

Journals You Can Start Keeping

Keeping a journal is a very personal experience. There is no right way to do it or no rules you have to adhere to. The visual above from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences details several types of journal and shares prompts for each to give you a place to potentially start your practice.

Free Printable: You’ve Been Booed

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The other day, I was racing home from school to run inside, drop some kids off, pick some kids up, make two sippy cups of milk, refill the diaper bag, and take my oldest to choir. As I glanced up to open the gate, the sweetest gift was resting on the top of the gate. There was a note that said ‘You’ve Been Booed‘ and instructions on how to do it to the next person. 

It absolutely made my day. There is nothing like a good surprise to cheer me up and put a little spring in my step. 

I feel like fall is always such a perfect time to show kindness to your neighbors. The weather is nice, so everyone is outside planting flowers and taking walks. We are about to ring each other’s doorbells with adorable munchkins in tow. It ‘s such a great time to renew those relationships and say hello.

I’ve made you a few printables if you’d like to join in on the fun!

booed

Simply click on the picture above to attach this to your gift.

Add these instructions so that they know what to do.

(Be sure to tag #smbcommunity so that we can see all the fun everyone is having!)

Finally, if you’d like, you can print this sign to put on your front door to let others know that you’ve already been booed, so that they can do it to someone else. 

Just in case you need a little inspiration, here is a short list of some ideas to put in your gift:

  • fall colored dish cloths
  • little pumpkins
  • stickers
  • chapstick
  • hand lotion
  • cute little scarecrows
  • apple cider packets

Let us know what else we should add! 

The Importance of Eating Dinner as a Family… Even if it’s a Circus?

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In my quest to be a “good mom” (whatever that really is), I will try to read skim some parenting books, articles, or podcasts picking up whatever tips or hacks I can get. I’m not one to turn down advice to help my family’s life become fuller or easier. 

A theme of what seems to be sound advice is the importance of eating dinner as a family with claims of better school grades, healthy child well-being, less trouble with behavior, and closer parent-child relationship. But, I’m wondering what these researchers really think dinner with three kids under six years of age and an eight-week old puppy really looks like? 

Eating dinner as a family typically goes something like this: One or more children refuses to eat what I’ve cooked and attempts to remove it from their plate immediately (mind you he/she ate the same meal last week just fine), non-linear conversations about My Little Pony and spider legs, the baby throws food and rubs it in his hair. Someone needs more food or drink, someone needs to go to the potty or a diaper change. Milk spills on the floor (crying optional). The next child needs more food, and has more questions about why there are only four items on the plate. One child is done and really should be sent through a car wash, and night-time wiggles set in. My plate has been barely touched.

Or we eat out with a whole other set of dynamics. Either way, dinner is over.

So, my child’s going to get an A in class tomorrow and tell me all about what happened at school without prodding, right? Winning.


Here’s some past advice from fellow SMB contributors on dinner time:

Fast Dinner Hacks for Busy Moms

Your New, Very Favorite Chili Recipe

All About the Dinner Bowls

10 Things Giving Me Life Right Now

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In a time when it feels like the world is trying to suck the life out of me, there are a number of things that are actually giving me life.  Some of my “life saving” things are frivolous and some are quite inspiring and uplifting.  When I say “life saving,” I’m talking about bringing joy to my heart and lifting my spirit out of the heaviness of the world environment we are experiencing. Here’s a list of 10 things that are currently saving my life.  

  1.  The Office Ladies Podcast – You guys, if you are a fan of The Office, do yourself a favor and tune in to this podcast.  It’s hosted by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey (aka Pam & Angela from the show) and as real-life best friends, they have such a fun rapport. They break down each episode of The Office (opinion alert: The greatest TV comedy, ever) and give lots of fun facts and insights that can only come from the gals who were there.  My tip is to make your way through The Office before you listen to the corresponding podcast because you are going to want to have the episode fresh in your mind as you listen.  Also, I love that Jenna and Angela make me feel like I’m their other bestie.   
  2. My Dishwasher – Yes, it is giving me life.  Our dishwasher went out in February.  As we were about to buy a new one, Covid shut downs started to happen, delaying us to get a new one.  A couple weeks in to the closures, we took the big leap to get out to a store to buy a new one.  But, oh my gosh, they were out of stock on basically everything in the warehouses.  The manufacturers couldn’t fulfill orders because they were also closed.  People got their stimulus checks and went out in droves to buy new appliances which wiped out all stock.  It took weeks before my dishwasher came in and I had already gone months without one at that point.  I know this is very much a First World problem, but I was so dang tired of handwashing all the dishes.  I’m so very grateful for having that thing, I just cannot even tell you how much.  
  3. Houseplants – I’m not trying to brag, but it turns out I have a green thumb.  I started off with collecting succulents and tucking them into little corners, counters, and spaces around the house.  Then I got a snake plant.  It made me so happy to look at.  For Christmas, my husband bought me a fiddle-leaf fig tree and a basket to hold it in.  Happiness and joy fill my heart as I stare at it all the time.  I’ve added many other houseplants in the last 8 months and they are just giving me so much life.  And, I am learning as much as I can about how to give them life in return.
  4. Sensible Shoes – I don’t know what to tell you.  I’ve entered a season in my life where I only wear sensible shoes.  It’s who I am now.  I’m so much happier for it.   
  5. Perfect Formula Gel Polish – Since I’m not going to get my professional manicure, I need something that is easy and not time consuming.  Perfect Formula Gel Polish is the best home brand gel polish in my opinion.  A single coat is all it takes to get a really pretty, sheer pink nail and the tips look white.  It looks like I had a French manicure. It dries in about a minute!  The polish has a protein in the formula and it makes nails strong, seals and protects so that your nails grow.  I can go 7-10 days between polish changes!  I’m so all about this polish. It also comes in colors. Check out their website, but also look it up on QVC for bundle deals.  
  6. SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 – There’s so many reasons why I love this product.  First of all, it’s the only SPF I’ve ever used that does not irritate my skin or my eyes.  It’s not a moisturizer, but it feels like it could be.  There’s a tint to it that adapts to skin tones and does not leave a white cast.  Have you ever taken a picture and wondered why your face looks like a ghost? That’s usually because of the light reflecting off of your sunscreen. That does not happen with this stuff.  I love that it makes my complexion look even and luminous.  It doesn’t have any weird stuff in it, and at $36 for a bottle that lasts several months, it doesn’t break the bank. 
  7. Costco Prosecco – The best $6.99 you can spend, if you ask me.  A cheap sparkling wine that doesn’t taste cheap.  Light, refreshing and crisp, I love this Prosecco for everything from an actual reason to celebrate to Sunday brunch to Tuesday night after you’ve homeschooled so hard and made approximately 1,258 plates of snacks.  Prosecco is lower in calories and sugar than Chardonnay, so that’s cool. The important wine people have given high marks to this Prosecco and so do I. 
  8. My Son’s Second Grade Teacher – This woman has received her Masters in Education from Magical Unicorn Teacher University.  I cannot say enough about how much I like her.  In the first week of school, she sent an email to the parents reassuring us that even though the kids are learning from home, it’s her job to teach them and she will not be leaving it up to us.  On occasion a parent might need to step in to help navigate from one program to the next, but only after she has exhausted all other options to help guide. She might not be digging the whole online distance learning platform, but you would never know it.  She is so patient.  She engages the kids and has created a little community for their online, distance learning group.  After seeing how amazing she is online, I cannot wait to see how amazing she will be in person when the time comes to safely resume classroom learning.   
  9. Chasing Vines by Beth Moore – Generally speaking, Beth Moore is a person who excels in the life-giving arena.  If you’re not familiar with who Beth is, she is a Christian author and speaker whose messages are just jam-packed with truth and wisdom and delivered with a sense of humor and encouragement.  In Chasing Vines, Beth masterfully illustrates how every aspect of viticulture (the cultivation and harvesting of grapes) has symbolic application in life, from the soil, roots, pruning, even manure and pestilence. This book is so life-giving.  Here is a line I highlighted: “Your fruit will outlast your life. You can’t always see the effects, because they are eternal, but one day you will. One day, you will see that you couldn’t have been more significant if you’d tried.”  
  10. Trader Joe’s Bruschetta Sauce and Steamed Lentils Mixed Together – Guys, I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life, but you simply must get to Trader Joe’s and buy these two things.  All you do is mix together in a bowl.  You could top with feta cheese, if you want to make it extra.  I scoop it up with the plantain chips or sweet potato crackers.  Sometimes I scoop it on a bed of lettuce and whatever veggies I have on hand.  Sometimes I serve it over pasta.  I always take this dish to potlucks and to new moms or a sick mom friend and serve it at 100% of my parties.  **Ahh, parties….** People go nuts over it and it’s so unbelievably simple, delicious and healthy.   

There you have it!  Ten things that are currently saving my life.  As I sat down to compile this list, I realized that there are actually a lot of things that I could add.  There is much to be grateful for amidst the chaos and hardships that comes our way.  What is saving your life these days?  

Bring a DIY State Fair to Your Backyard

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The Arizona State Fair is a tradition that over one million people enjoy each fall. With nearly 100 rides, tons of food, vendors, and booths, plus animals, competitions, and performances, there’s something for everyone. When the 2020 fair was postponed, I knew I wanted to come up with a DIY State Fair option to try to keep the tradition going.

DIY State Fair Food

One of the highlights of the state fair is the food. Whether you like everything deep fried or prefer the extra special sweet treats, Taste of Home has some DIY State Fair recipe options your family can try out – including corn dogs, deep fried pickles, funnel cakes, caramel apples, flavored lemonade, and much more.

Carnival Games

Even though your DIY State Fair may not be as bright and flashy as the actual fair, there are still ways to bring some of the fun home. Kids of all ages will enjoy the classic duck game, ring toss, bean bag tossknock downdartboard, and skee-ball games – all of which can be ordered on Amazon or are pretty easy to create with items you probably already have around your house. 

For more ideas, check out Carnival Savers. Their game pages include supply lists, set up instructions, and game play rules. 

To take your carnival games to the next level, you could even make or buy prizes tickets. Involve the whole family in making game signs to show how many tickets they could win.

Creating a DIY State Fair prize booth can be as elaborate as you want it to be. Kids love trinkets – here are some optionsLight up toys are always a crowd favorite as the fair transitions to dusk. Extra snuggly stuffed animals are popular prizes. Or, maybe you want to splurge on a giant stuffed animal

Experiences

After filling your belly and playing some games, it’s time to enjoy the incredible experiences the state fair has to offer.

Animals

Maybe it’s because we moved to Arizona from the Midwest, but my family doesn’t leave the fair without stopping by the barns to see the animals. Finding a way to incorporate the barn experience at our DIY State Fair will take some creativity and planning.

My daughter always loves stopping at the Arizona Milk Producers’ table. Even though we can’t visit them in person, you can still learn about the life of a cow in Arizona or tour a dairy farm. Their website even has some fun activities for kids to learn more about dairy farms and foods.

If you’re looking for an in-person opportunity, depending on health conditions, Harmony Farm inside the Phoenix Zoo gives kids an opportunity to learn about cows, horses, chickens, turkeys, sheep, and goats. There are even tractors and equipment to explore.

Another great farm option, located in Mesa, is Superstition Farm. Depending on the health conditions, you may even be able to schedule a farm tour.

Cultural Stage

The Cultural Stage is always one of my family’s first stops. If you remember the names of some of your favorite groups from past visits, you may be able to find their website or a video of one of their performances online.

Face Paint

What’s a visit to the fair without face paint? If you have a child who loves face paint, ask what they wish they could have. A quick search will probably lead you to a tutorial on how to create the look yourself. This kit can help you get started. 

Rides

Creating rides at your backyard DIY State Fair may be a little tricky. There’s an option to rent or buy a giant inflatable slide, bounce house, or a backyard kiddie coaster.

If you’re looking for something a little less expensive, virtual rides may a great option. This Ferris wheel ride has a 360 view when you move your screen – pretty cool! There are also tons of virtual reality rides if you search for your carnival favorites.

Bringing a DIY State Fair Home

Whether you’re missing out on the Arizona State Fair or looking for something different to do this fall break, creating your own DIY State Fair can be a great way to spend fall break. Get the whole family involved in planning, creating, and playing!

Note: When you click on a product it’ll redirect you to Amazon using an affiliate link. If you make a purchase after clicking our link, it doesn’t charge you any extra money, but it does send a little commission to SMB as a thank you for referring traffic. This helps us bring you more great content for FREE!

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Guide To Scottsdale

Family Friendly Events In and Around Scottsdale {October 2020}

2
Welcome to October, Scottsdale Moms!  Have you had a chance to sip on your PSL yet?  Did you check out our Guide to the...

Preschool Guide 2020