Smart Super Simple Summer Snack Ideas

Manic:  Keeping hungry kids satisfied with snacks that are also healthy, hydrating and simple to put out when I’m in a rush.

Managed:  Remembering a great tip that managedmoms.com writer, Lisa Walton gave us that is simple and smart, so I recently shared it in a “Your Life A to Z” quick tip morning show segment.  Take a look and happy and healthy snacking…

Celebrity Baby Product Favorites

Torie Spelling stroller

Torie Spelling pushing an Orbit stroller.

Progressing through my baby week theme on the KTVK “Your Life A to Z” morning show, I showed some cool stuff for babies that are all the rage with the stars in Hollywood and in New York.  The stroller that does it all, customized baby bonnets instead of the unisex cap the hospital gives you and more.  The baby bonnet is a great gift idea, too.

Check this fun baby stuff segment out…

How To Swaddle A Baby The Easy Way

Check out this cool tool out that makes swaddling a newborn baby simple!  I love that this handy blanket was invented by a Dad, too.  Go Dad.

My Gal Pals’ Most Recommended Baby Products

I had a blast doing three baby product segments this week to celebrate and help to prepare our cohost, Kyle who is expecting a baby girl in September.  baby stuffI am so excited for her!  She is going to be a manic managed mom like me soon!  Today’s segment is a list of baby products that my friends with babies and toddlers told me were must have items and were top performing when it came to taking care of baby.  So if you are expecting or have a baby shower to attend, check this out….

AZ Local: A Mixed Wet n’ Wild Review Written By My Tween & Me

***Be sure to read the comments below to see additional information about Wet n Wild that we didn’t know about.  Thanks Kim!*** We love when readers leave feedback!

Manic:  Keeping tweens entertained and active during the very hot dog days of summer here in Phoenix.

Managed:  Letting my daughter choose and plan a day.  She also asked me if she could write the review about one of the places she selected since we both left with mixed feelings about the facility.  We also both agree that there are a few things you should know before you go to Wet n’ Wild in Phoenix.

My girl did a good job selecting two places that are close to each other and both offered different types of entertainment. First we went to Castles n Coasters, the small amusement park that has been a Phoenix fun spot since I was a teenager.

Castles n Coasters attractions

Castles n Coasters attractions

Admission was only $24.99 a person with free parking and the grils really enjoyed the zip line and roller coaster.

wet n wild

Wet n Wild photo from the Wet n Wild website.

Next was a stop at Wet n’ Wild and I have a few things to tell you about this water park that you will want to know before you go.   Then read on for my daughter’s comments (which impressed me, I must say).  First my review…

Mom’s Review:

*Wet n’ Wild is kind of out in the middle of nowhere, so if you were thinking that you could drop your tweens off and then run a few errands, think again.  At Castles n Coasters, I could run right next door to the long standing Metro Center Mall to get a few things I needed.  Not so at Wet n Wild, which is located in the Maricopa County’s Adobe Dam Regional Park near the border of Phoenix and Glendale, just West of I-17 on Pinnacle Peak Road.  So once we arrived, I resigned myself to doing my freelance work at the water park’s snack bar area.

*You will have to pay if  you want to play here.  I was shocked to have to pay an $8 parking fee just to be able to park my car at the water park.  And since there is no where else to park outside of the facility, you  have no choice but to cough up the parking dough.

*I complain about this because admittance is not cheap, so I assumed that parking would be included in my $40 adult ticket price.  Yep,  I paid $40 just to go in and sit in the snack bar and do my freelance work.  I was on several deadlines (and am very grateful to have the freelance work) so I sucked it up.  But guess what….no wireless is provided, so that was indeed another negative surprise to me.  I did ask if the $40 admittance fee could be waived since I wasn’t going to partake in the water activities.  They declined that request, so I paid my money and settled in.

*Here is some good news…buy your tickets online at Wet n Wild’s website  and save up to $20 off the admission ticket.  You can also buy that pesky $8 parking ticket online, but no discounts are offered online.  Prices for admission are $39.99 for general admission; $29.99 for children under 42″; $29.99 for seniors aged 65 and over and kids 2 and under are free.

*You will also want to bring some snack and water money and money for a locker, which I highly recommend.  Lockers cost $8, $9 and $10 depending on which size you rent.

So now you know what a day at Wet n Wild will cost you…$40 for the ticket; $8 for parking, $8 for locker and another…let’s say $20 for water and snacks.  So make sure you plan on spending around $70 for an average of one kid.

Did the tween water park reviewers think the park was worth the cost?  Read on for Lexi’s review….

My view from my laptop.  Happy tweens water parked while I worked...it works!

My view from my laptop. Happy tweens water parked while I worked…it works!

The tween’s review (her exact words): 

Hey guys, Lexi here.  So I’m rating Wet n Wild a 7 out of 10 for fun and a 3 out of 10 for the experience.  First of all I arrived kind of later in the day, so I didn’t exactly get to go on almost every single ride, but I went on enough to give the place an overview.

Wet n Wild is by far the biggest and best water park of them all in Phoenix.  The rides are very thrilling if you’re a thrill seeker (like me) but if you’re not,  they have something for you, too. I think my favorite was the Tornado, though it was short, I enjoyed the medium sized drop and the fun of swaying back and forth.

My favorite, The Tornado!

My favorite, The Tornado!

So if you do go make sure you try that one as well as Desert Racers, Mammoth Falls, and Raging River.

Now my experience about the slides. The pools were very clean (I didn’t see any floating band aids, so I think that was a good sign).

I do have to say that everything was overpriced, admission is $40 per person, and two regular Dip n Dots ice cream treats was $10.81!  Oh and did I mention its $8 just to park!!!

The thing that frustrated me the most was when I had just waited 45 minutes for the Mammoth Falls ride (and I was so close to getting on), but then the park employees told everyone that we have to get out of line because they had a pool issue and it was going to take 30 minutes to fix.  So we all leave with nothing to prove that we had just waited 45 minutes for a ride, nothing that would help us get back to where we were when it opened again, NOTHING!!! Talk about 50 steps forward, 50 steps back. So If you do go to Wet n Wild, make sure you come with a fat wallet and urge to have some fun. Thanks for reading my review.

 

 

Why My Dad Is So Cool & Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Fathers’ Day out there and to those of you that are missing your father on this day, know that he truly lives on in you.  I am always struck by how I can see a person’s parent in their eyes or mannerisms.  So on this day, my heart goes out to those of you.  And to my Dad…you are so very cool and here is why…

dadYou are truly one of the coolest Dads out there.  Taking the family to see a Pink Floyd concert when I was in college was definitely cool!  Taking your sweet grandson, my boy, fishing for his very first time on your boat (that you worked hard for) is a wonderfully cool memory for him and I know for you, too.  Asking your grandson, my sweet nephew, to be your best man in your upcoming wedding is beyond cool and I can’t wait to witness that!  Calling your granddaughter, my girl, Alley Oop, is a cool nickname for sure. When you first saw that little granddaughter perform as Maleficent in our community theater play and you leaned over to me with teary eyes and exclaimed what talent she possessed and how you could see how happy she was on stage…that was pretty cool, too.  You see, you seem to feel your family’s emotions, joys and sorrows and that has always ranked pretty darn cool in my book.

Yes, you are one terrific Grandpa and the kids are always so taken with your creative gifts for them that you think through, shop and ship to all of us, always.  You always remember the birthdays and that goes for your son-in-law, too. That is cool.  And here are some more fun and cool things…

I wish this photo wasn't blurry, but it perfectly shows how proud you look in pictures with your family.  That is sweet and that is cool.

I wish this photo wasn’t blurry, but it perfectly shows how proud you look in pictures with your family. That is sweet and that is cool.

The time you surprised us when you pulled up one Christmas holiday with a beautiful piano.  That explained why you drove the 1,000 mile trip instead of flying.  Watching my girl’s Grandmother (my amazing mother-in-law) teach my girl a song touched my heart.  Betty teaches Alexis pianoThat was very cool, indeed.

One of the coolest things about you is the number of animals that you have saved and nurtured through the years and the awesome lookout dog house that you built by hand for your dogs definitely rocks.

violetAnd how about when you went on a big road trip with several of your buddies all on Harleys!  When you came through our neighborhood, I could hear your arrival and I told my neighbors that the cool Harley rider was my Dad.  They definitely thought that was cool!  I’m kind of bummed right now that I can’t find that cool picture of my toddler girl sitting on your bike with an over sized helmet on her head to pose for a picture with her Grandpa Dennis.

Probably the coolest thing about you in my book is your strength of character, to do the right thing, to have a good work ethic and to be humble and compassionate.  These are definitely traits that you not only verbally expressed to me, but model yourself.

You helped me buy my first new car and taught me how to drive it off the lot since it was a stick shift!  You took me house hunting and we came back to tell my hubs that we had found the perfect first home and you were right on.  Pretty cool, indeed.  I have warm memories of going out to a job site with you as a kid and then later going swimming and out for ice cream.  You always made sure that our summers were fun with ice cream, trips to Six Flags…and how about that time I accidentally locked myself in the RV bathroom and you had to get me out?!  Funny and cool!

You have always cheered out loud when I called you with news of my engagement, first big career job at Southwest Airlines, the news that you would be a first-time Grandpa!  I love how you let your enthusiam show…and your emotion.   You have shown all of us that life is meant to grabbed by the horns, experienced with joy and with sorrow as we venture down the bumpy road called life.  I have called you both to cheer out loud (which you did) and to share tears in times of heartbreak.  True to your geniune nature, you always share those emotions right there with me, whether you are 1,000 miles away or giving me a big hug right then and there.  I love that you celebrated one of my boy’s big hockey goals with a shot of tequila.  That is very cool and I will never forget how you just couldn’t hold back the tears when you walked me down the aisle….and helped me to have the wedding of my dreams.  Dad and I at weddingAnd one of the coolest memories that I cherish is the day you took my bridal portraits that everyone at the reception marveled over.  photo1 (52)So cool, Dad!  The pictured has yellowed through the years, but the image and the memory is crystal clear and is firmly entrenched in my heart.

You taught me to work hard and earn the things that I wanted, but you also gave me more than I could have ever imagined.  So today on this Father’s Day, I say thank you and Happy Father’s Day!

And this, my sweet and very cool Dad, is why YOU are so cool!

Our Review of the Family Fun Arizona Grand Resort & Spa

If you are looking for a family friendly super fun place to get away from the heat, check out the  Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix.  This review was written two years ago when I took my girl and her friend to check it out.  It remains one of our favorite staycation getaways.  I am running this review again since we are now on summer break and I will run some of my other resort/hotel reviews this month, too.  So before you book, read on to learn all about what to do, what to eat and how to fully enjoy The Arizona Grand!  And do keep in mind that this review is two years old, so some things like the televisions I mention have since been updated. Happy Summer!

The Arizona Grand sports a 7 acre water park complete with a lazy river and very tasty Prickly  Pear margaritas for Mom and Dad!

The Arizona Grand sports a 7 acre water park complete with a lazy river and very tasty Prickly Pear margaritas for Mom and Dad!

 

 

My girl and her friend at our recent stay at The Arizona Grand resort.  Great summer rates there this time of year!

My girl and her friend at The Arizona Grand resort. Great summer rates there this time of year!

 

The resort’s website describes the property like this…

AAA Four Diamond Arizona Grand Resort is the leading Arizona family vacation getaway and Southwest meetings destination. The 740 suite hotel and conference center offers an 18-hole golf course, athletic club, spa, salon, a 7-acre water park, seven unique dining venues and 117,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting space.

That is all right on and the 7-acre water park will have your kids entertained all day long, but do beware of our powerful sun rays here in the Valley of the Sun.  I recommend not letting your kids play all day at the water park because even with sunscreen, they can finish the day sporting a bad sunburn.  So come and play at the resort’s Oasis Water Park, but do proceed with caution and with a healthy dose of sunscreen that needs to be reapplied throughout the day.

Our personal experience with the resort was very good.  I did have a few complaints that included outdated and small TVs in the room and an $8.50 room charge fee for a hot cocoa order that turned out to be a pot of hot water and several Swiss Miss packets.  However, upon calling a very nice manager named Darrell, he let me know that updated flat screen TVs were on order and he refunded my hot chocolate charge.  He told me that he appreciated my feedback and would share my request for real hot cocoa, complete with whipped cream on the side and minus the lumpy powdered packets, as a potential future menu change.  I greatly appreciated his ear and quick response, so kudos to the resort’s management!

To share the rest of our experience, take a look at our pictures…

I love the resort grounds layout of the rooms.  Most areas have ample parking right outside your room, so valet parking is not needed, which saves money.

Here the bellman takes the girls to our room.  I followed in my car and found a nice spot close to our room entrance.  We never needed my car again since the property is nicely laid out with attractions in walking distance.

Guests can also be shuttled over to the property’s restaurants, spa, golf course and more.  So getting around, while not needing our car, was nice and easy.  The resort offers so many activities and delicious dining that there is no need to leave the Arizona Grand which really means that you truly get away from it all.  I like that!

The exterior of the rooms are shown behind the girls.

The exterior of the rooms are shown behind the girls.

The Arizona Grand website describes the rooms like this…

At Arizona Grand Resort, luxurious over-sized, two-room suites provide intimate, residential-style comfort. Each of the 740 suites at our Phoenix hotel has been designed to reflect the natural comfort of the warm Arizona desert.

I found that to be true and I love how every room includes two rooms.  Many resorts require an upgraded room rate for a spacious 2-room suite, but this is standard at the Grand, which is nice for families who need a little space.

Our room included nice french doors that lead right out to the Oasis Water Park.  For families that want to partake in the pools and slides, this is a great option.

Our room included nice french doors that lead right out to the Oasis Water Park. For families that want to partake in the pools and slides, this is a great option.

This is our view on the other side of the french doors.  The building pictured is the entrance to the water park, so the close proximity was terrific!  If you want a room close to the water park, ask for the Camelback building when booking your reservation.

This is our view on the other side of the french doors. The building pictured is the entrance to the water park, so the close proximity was terrific! If you want a room close to the water park, ask for the Camelback building when booking your reservation.

Pretty view of the Oasis Water Park pool area with a healthy amount of tubes for all.

Pretty view of the Oasis Water Park pool area with a healthy amount of tubes for all.

 gals

water slide

The resort has plenty of kid friendly menu items and yummy fish tacos for me.  We enjoyed our poolside lunch.
The Oasis Water Park offers a good menu with lots of kid-friendly choices.

And fish tacos for me!

As far as good food and fun goes, the resort's popular western-themed restaurant called Rustler's Rooste is a great experience!

As far as good food and fun goes, the resort’s popular western-themed restaurant called Rustler’s Rooste is a great experience!

The super fun slide that runs down the middle of the restaurant and close to the country music stage is great fun for the kids!

The super fun slide that runs down the middle of the restaurant and close to the country music stage is great fun for the kids!

With steaks, fabulous fried chicken, even fried rattle snake (not for me, though!) the food is plentiful and although not gourmet, it is satisfying.

With steaks, fabulous fried chicken, even fried rattle snake (not for me, though!) the food is plentiful and although not gourmet, it is satisfying.

Complimentary cotton candy was a nice surprise for dessert!

Complimentary cotton candy was a nice surprise for dessert!

We also tried the appropriately-named "Cow Pie" dessert which house coffee ice cream under a scrumptious hard-shelled layer of chocolate and on top of a yummy cookie crust and my girl enjoyed the classic hot fudge sundae.

We also tried the appropriately-named “Cow Pie” dessert which house coffee ice cream under a scrumptious hard-shelled layer of chocolate and on top of a yummy cookie crust and my girl enjoyed the classic hot fudge sundae.

We left with the girls adorned by the balloon figures that the restaurant’s talented balloon artist made for them and we stopped by the eatery’s gift shop to purchase two darling stuffed horses that sold for under $10 each.  We loved our fun and tasty experience at the Rustler’s Rooste!

On Day 2,  I surprised the girls with a spa treatment because the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa offers a fun treatment for girls aged 6 to 11 called The Pretty Princess Package.

Surprise spa services for the girls!

For $80 your little girl gets a manicure, a pedicure and a beautiful hair style that includes curls and a princess tiara.  I think $80 is a good value for three different services.

The girls loved it, but if I do this again, I will ask to skip some of the pedicure steps since the girls found that part to be long, tedious and a little uncomfortable on their tender feet.  In the future, I would ask that they bathe and massage the feet, and paint the toenails, but skip the trimming, filing and buffing.  Take a look at the pictures to see the spa fun they had and to see their after photos once the very talented hair stylist named Cheryl finished the styles…

Hair stylist pro working her magic on my girl. This is the before shot…
After and both the girls leave with stunning styles! Thanks Cheryl!

 

 

 

The girls leave the spa happy and so very pretty princess-like!
And if you come to spa for some mom alone time, without the princesses, there is a nice deck for total relaxation.
And a nice fire pit for the cooler winter nights we get in Phoenix. Come, relax and enjoy!

Overall we were very impressed with our stay at the Arizona Grand and the resort has some great summer rates right now.  There are rules and restrictions, so be sure to visit the Arizona Grand website for all of the details.  Happy Summer everyone!

***No compensation was provided for this travel piece.  The opinions about how much I love this resort are 100% mine. 

Creepy Scorpion Encounter Contest Spreads Scorpion Awareness

Manic:  If you live in Arizona, chances are you have had a chance encounter with one of those creepy critters that no one likes called scorpions.  We have had a few in our home, not too many…knocking on wood right now!  Last year I wrote an article about how our three fearless felines saved me from a sneaky scorpion. See that story here.

Managed:  Decided to welcome Jim LaBrie’s, owner of Bug & Weed Martkind offer to write a guest post for managedmoms about how to protect our family from these dreaded and unwelcome potential pests….the evil scorpion.  And he is holding a pretty clever (icky, but clever) contest with a $1,000 grand prize for the entry who has the creepist scorpion encounter story.  Here are the details and Jim’s expert advice about those dreaded and scary scorpions…

scorpion-largeJim says:

Phoenicians are experiencing an early start to scorpion season after one of the warmest winters on record. As a result, the chances of running into a scorpion this summer are fairly high; unless you take the proper precautions.

To protect your home and family from scorpions, consider the following:

Be in the know:

Before getting too concerned, it is valuable to know the enemy you may fear. There are about 90 species of scorpions in the United States, and approximately 40 reside in Arizona.

While it is true that a scorpion sting can be dangerous, most scorpion stings are harmless. The Bark Scorpion is the most common scorpion found in Arizona and is the most venomous. The Bark Scorpion is also very agile; it can crawl up smooth walls and on high ceilings. While its sting is rarely fatal, it can cause extreme pain, convulsions, breathing difficulties and numbness lasting up to 72 hours. The Bark Scorpion poses the most danger to  young children, infants and adults over 80.

Simple steps to keep your home scorpion free:

The best way to protect yourself and your family from potential harm is by reducing the opportunities for pests to make your home theirs.

  • Make sure areas surrounding the house are free of debris.
  • Sprinkle preventative granules around the perimeter of your home 4 times a year, especially in areas with river rock or gravel.
  • If you frequently find scorpions in or near your house, apply spray to the outside walls of the home, including the perimeter of doors, window frames, walkways and patios.
  • Apply an inside spray along baseboards and doorframes twice a year

Scorpions will always call the desert home, but that doesn’t mean you will have to invite them into yours.

To help raise awareness about scorpions, we are asking residents of Maricopa County to share their creepiest scorpion encounter. If you have ever screamed from the sight of a scorpion or, worse yet, experienced its numbing sting, consider sharing your story and participating in the Creepiest Scorpion Contest. The contest winner will receive $1,000 for their submission.

 

Tell us about your scorpion encounter:

To participate, submit a brief written description of your creepiest scorpion encounter in 250 words or less, and include an original photo or video. The video can provide an up-close look at the actual scorpion, a theatrical reenactment of the encounter, or a retelling of the creepy story. Contestants are encouraged to make entries creative and compelling.

The deadline for submission is midnight Wednesday, June 25, 2014. No purchase or fees are required to enter. For complete contest instructions and rules visit bugweedmart.com.

 

Do you want to see some of the creepy entry pictures so far?  Look down or look away…ugh!

 

Erin Lynn  scorpion photo

Erin Lynn scorpion photo submission

 

 

 

 

 

Jamie Infantolino's photo

Jamie Infantolino’s submitted photo

 

About our guest writer:

Jim LaBrie is the owner of Bug & Weed Mart, a do-it-yourself retail chain that specializes in bug and weed prevention. To learn more about pest prevention and protection you can visit www.bugweedmart.com or on Facebook www.facebook.com/bugandweedmart

 

Beautiful Body Summer Solutions for the Family

Manic:  Swimsuit shopping!  Sunburns!  Dry Skin!  Summertime can bring some hot weather challenges for the family.

Managed:  Found some summer solutions like swimsuits that flatter moms, sun protective clothing for the entire family, tips to prevent damage to your hair from chlorine and much more.  I also discovered some one of a kind custom nails that are made to fit your nails only!  See the segment to see that and visit the Custom Nail Solutions website to order.  So take a look at this segment to see all kinds of cool ideas to help you to have a happy and healthy summer…

Travel Savvy Tips for Families

       Manic:  Traveling with kids, teens and tweens!

Managed:   Here are some helpful tips to prepare your little ones for flight travel and to keep your bigger kids and teens entertained on long flights.  Watch this to see the awesome Monkey Mat for little ones and the Anker charger for the bigger ones plus more tried and true family travel tips.

**Note that I mention that a US Air flight doesn’t offer food…I meant to say “free food” as food is offered for purchase, but is not free in coach on the flight that I mention***