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  I did have a few complaints that included outdated and small TVs in the room and an $8.50 room charge fee for a hot cocoa order that turned out to be a pot of hot water and several Swiss Miss packets.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***

Wow! What A Roller Coaster Ride of a School Year!

Manic:  The roller coaster ride we experienced this last school year!  Talk about milestones and the ups and downs of life, this year had it all!

Managed:  Catching my breath to take a look back!

August:

First day of school with one brand new to middle school and one beginning his Sophomore year.

First day of school with one brand new to middle school and one beginning his Sophomore year.

To kick off Lexi's new ACT show choir season, we hold the big welcome party at our home.

To kick off Lexi’s new ACT show choir season, we hold the big welcome party at our home.

September:

Jack finally earns a spot of the AA/AAA hockey team with the coach that he has wanted to play for the last three years!  And he has to balance this with his spot on the DV golf team, too.  This is an exhausting (but wonderful) time.

Jack finally earns a spot of the AA/AAA hockey team with the coach that he has wanted to play for the last three years! And he has to balance this with his spot on the DV golf team, too. This is an exhausting (but wonderful) time.

A rare moment of rest as our girl decides to take on Show Choir, two big plays (Into the Woods & Annie) at our community theater, voice lessons...and then is elected to Student Council at her school, becomes a yearbook photographer and joins her school's broadcast club.  We are all taking vitamins to keep up with her!

A rare moment of rest as our girl decides to take on Show Choir, two big plays (Into the Woods & Annie) at our community theater, voice lessons…and then is elected to Student Council at her school, becomes a yearbook photographer and joins her school’s broadcast club. We are all taking vitamins to keep up with her! She also takes advanced Math and Language Arts and, with the help of her tutoring big brother, achieves straight As all year.

October:

First dance for my boy as he takes a date to Homecoming.  That same night I twist my ankle, but have a quick recovery thank goodness!

First dance for my boy as he takes a date to Homecoming. That same night I twist my ankle, but have a quick recovery thank goodness!

November:

One of my all time happy memories...surprising our boy with a car as a reward for all As in honors classes always and his excellent behavior.

One of my all time happy memories…surprising our boy with a car as a reward for all As in honors classes always and his excellent behavior.

…and a contract for him to sign and uphold as we entrusted him out onto the roadways…

16 contract

December:

That dang cashew allergy strikes again when I unknowingly give my girl takeout pizza that has cashews in the sauce.  An EpiPen shot, ER visit, IV and steroids injection follows.

That dang cashew allergy strikes again when I unknowingly give my girl takeout pizza that has cashews in the sauce. An EpiPen shot, ER visit, IV and steroids injection follows. Feeling like a bad Mom on this day (for not double checking the pizza ingredients….even though my kid asked me to do that…ugh…lesson learned).

The only gift I wanted for Christmas....family portraits and they obliged and we had a blast!

The only gift I wanted for Christmas….family portraits and they obliged and we had a blast!

January & February:

A big life reality check when our boy has to have a biopsy for a tumor, that proves to be benign.  SO THANKFUL!! and we will never forget this experience.

A big life reality check when our boy has to have a biopsy for a tumor, that proves to be benign. SO THANKFUL!! and we will never forget this experience.

March:

From the children's hospital to the hockey rink, the highs and lows of life take my breath away as Jack's team wins the state championship that sends us to Nationals!

From the children’s hospital to the hockey rink, the highs and lows of life take my breath away as Jack’s team wins the state championship that sends us to Nationals!

April:

We come home Silver medalists, but also winners because we got to see most of our Maryland family at the USA Hockey Nationals...what a gift!

We come home Silver medalists, but also winners because we got to see most of our Maryland family at the USA Hockey Nationals…what a gift!

Hard loss after going undefeated through the entire Nationals tourney and then lose in overtime...but I just couldn't be prouder and tearful as I see my boy disappointed expression as he leaves the ice.  However we are thankful for an experience that we will always treasure!

Hard loss after going undefeated through the entire Nationals tourney and then lose in overtime…but I just couldn’t be prouder and tearful as I see my boy’s disappointed expression as he leaves the ice. However we are thankful for an experience that we will always treasure!

Invited to celebrate their big 2nd Nationals finish and appear on my show!

Invited to celebrate their big 2nd place Nationals finish and appear on my show! My sweet son declines to be interviewed to give his teammates a chance to answer on air questions :)

May:

Our son gets his very first job 7 minutes into the interview, that he insisted on securing himself (I offered to call my many contacts that own businesses) and is now a sandwich artist at Subway.  He is actually scheduled to work 30 hours this week!  Guess they like him.

And….how did our girl change this much in just 9 months?!…..

schoolyear changes

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since our son is now 6’1!  But it happens so fast and as I proceed through this month, we have yet another milestone upon us as our lovely lady travels without her parents for the first time (she is thrilled about this) in the care of her show choir as they go to their own Nationals competition next week in Florida!  I better pack some tissue for myself at the airport.  I am so proud of this girl and her amazing show choir…
show choir pic 2014
See what I mean about a roller coaster ride?  Whew!  Mostly fun, I must say!  And tonight as I attend the high school graduation of a few good gal pals who have babes leaving the nest, I will stop and reflect on the two years that I have left of high school with my first born.  I’m holding on and taking in every thrilling minute with Kleenix for some of the turns, laughs for some of the dips and a huge sense of gratitude for the entire ride.  2014 my twoI am thankful as I close out school year 2014 and brace myself for the next one.  Cheers!

Today’s Weekly Words of Wisdom

With so many of my pals’ kiddos either graduating from high school or college this month (I’m getting older now), I thought this quote that I found on my friend Deb’s Facebook page was just right for today…..

our job quoteAnd congratulations to all of you graduates out there.  Be safe and go out there and make this world a better place.  We are cheering you on!

Mother’s Day Words of Wisdom

This is truly one of the best I’ve seen when it comes to words of wisdom about motherhood and I have seen a lot of quotes out there.  Take a look at this one and Happy Mother’s Day out there….

motherhood words

 

me and my newborn boyMy very first Mommy picture….hard to believe that day was 16 1/2 years ago! 

 

AZ Local: Mom Recommended Summer Leadership Workshop

I myself am not familiar with the Kaleidoeye Summer Leadership Workshop offered by Mike Sissel, but several of my mom friends (that I have great respect for) have told me that I have got to share this opportunity with my local readers, so I asked managedmoms.com writer, Lisa Walton (also a mother and a teacher) to share her thoughts about Mike’s summer leadership workshop for kids aged 8 to 15 years old.  She readily agreed that she would love to recommend him. Following Lisa’s comments is an article that Mike wrote for managedmoms.com.  So take a look…

Lisa says:

With so much focus on “core standards” and what students should learn, there is little time to focus on what students really need;  the “HOW” to learn.  In raising my own teenager, I realize that sometimes the social-emotional needs of our children get over-looked.

Mike Sissel, founder of Kaleidoeye, provides students with self-awareness and self-management skills in his coaching sessions and workshops.  logo for kaleidoMy son had the privilege of participating in his team-building workshops last year at Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre; where he engaged in fun activities that focused on team-building and peer relationships.  This summer I’ll be signing him up for more opportunities with Mike to build his confidence and leadership skills.

I’m excited to announce that Mike is holding summer workshops that focus on leadership and life-skills that kids need today.  He teaches students to overcome challenges, how to change their perspective, see themselves as leaders and believe in themselves.   Mike was a classroom teacher for over 10 years, where I first met him in Kyrene.  He is also a Dad, a writer, and has now fulfilled his lifelong dream of creating a company to provide youth leadership education in schools, organizations, and private coaching sessions.  Don’t miss this opportunity for your kids to learn these essential skills in a fun, engaging, hands-on way!

WARNING: application of these leadership principles could result in your child making a positive difference in their own life, and in the lives of others.


And from Mike Sissel, KaleidoEye Summer Leadership Workshop for Kids:

mike s

What is the most important thing your child takes to school each day?

The logical answer is “a backpack”.  After all, the backpack contains each of the necessary tools for learning, right?

Actually, I believe this answer is only partially correct.  It is indeed the backpack that serves as the most important item one brings to school each day, but the backpack I’m referring to does not contain a single school supply.  It’s called our emotional backpack.

Every morning, students walk into their classrooms and proceed to empty their physical backpacks.  Whether it’s the previous night’s homework or a handful of text books that were used to seek core content knowledge, every student is used to this procedure.  Once their backpack is emptied, it sits idly in a locker or cubby, only to be filled up again at the end of the day.  This “filling up” and “emptying process” is very similar to the current structure of our school system.  We fill up their minds with knowledge, then we ask them to empty (or express) this knowledge in the form of a test.

Unlike the physical backpack, students rarely have an opportunity to empty (or express) what’s in their emotional backpack and the repercussions of this are often costly.  Let me give you an example of how this might look in a classroom.

Jennifer walks into her school with a smile on her face.  Her two hours of homework are complete and she is ready for the Chemistry test that she has studied feverishly for.  With her physical backpack emptied, she walks to her assigned seat, ready to start the “filling” process.  By all accounts, she is ready to learn.  However, hidden behind the smile, her emotional backpack is filled with a swarm of negative thoughts, which are the result of a rude comment a friend had made about her earlier in the day.  Knowing that she doesn’t have an opportunity to empty (or express) her frustration, she simply represses it and calls on her willpower to get her through the day.

At lunch, when her friends ask her how her day is going, she responds with a customary answer of “good”.  Even though her emotional backpack is starting to burst at the seams, she can’t possibly let anyone else know that she’s hurting.  That’s not the cool thing to do for a teenager.

Despite the fact that Jennifer did well on her Chemistry test and took all of the necessary notes in her classes, she walks into her bedroom after school and proceeds to cry.  For this is the only safe place she has to empty her emotional backpack.

Here’s the irony in this story…if you looked at Jennifer’s academic profile (test scores and grades), you would say that she is extremely successful.  Is she really successful though?  I guess it depends on your definition of success.  Sadly, success in school is typically measured with concrete assessment tools, which are quite easy to quantify.  In my opinion, success is a combination of one’s IQ (intellectual intelligence) and EQ (emotional intelligence).  Having said this, Jennifer isn’t as successful as one would think.  While she has certainly received the necessary tools to excel academically, she doesn’t possess an emotional toolkit that will help her to effectively manage her thoughts and emotions.parenting pic

Would you like to give your child an opportunity to learn to manage their emotional backpack?  I encourage you to register them for one of my summer leadership workshops.  I can assure you that it will be one of the most valuable gifts you have ever given them.

More from Mike Family-Pic-300x200:

 

 

For Our Moms, Take A Look At This…Made Me Tear Up & Smile!

Scanning through Facebook this morning, I came across this video with a title that simply said that all moms should watch this video about online interviewing for jobs.  I immediately thought about my kids and decided that I better watch it to see if this was about online job seeking scams to avoid.  So I cautiously hit play and watched this amazing little video that brought me to tears….tears of joy, gratitude and so fitting that today is my Mom’s birthday.  Me & Mom hockey teesHappy Birthday to my amazing, awesome, tireless Mom who is truly a near perfect mother to me (she would disagree because moms are hardest on themselves).  And to all of the mamas out there, you have got to see this video….

All Natural Kitchen Cleaning & Food Tips From the Manic Managed Mom’s Mom

On a recent trip to see my mother, I sat in the kitchen and watched her show me tip after tip about all natural recipes, cooking, cleaning and more when it comes to a healthy kitchen.  No wonder I make a living showing tips in my weekly morning show segments.  I get it from my mama!  The older I get the more I appreciate her, let me tell you!

So this time around I took notes, took her tips home and decided to share her wealth of knowledge with you because my mom was hip to doing things the all natural and organic way before it became the thing to do. Way before the Dr. Oz show and multiple magazine articles were aplenty touting the benefits of good clean living and cooking, Mother was busy sharing her ideas with me since I was a little tot.  I didn’t appreciate it then, but boy do I now, especially since I’m a manic managed mom (mostly manic, but I strive daily to be more managed).  Her tips have definitely helped me with that.  Take a look to see how to naturally sterilize a cutting board, get more juice out of a lemon, keep a sponge super clean and even how to make a sugar free yummy Sesame Asian salad dressing.  Thanks Mom for these healthy and helpful tips…