TEst

Back to School!

Summer vacation was fun, but it’s time to get the kids back to school! Here are some tips for a fun first day back to school and tips for a successful school year.

1st Day of School Traditions

  • Hold a first day photo shoot. Keep the mood fun by suggesting silly faces or letting the family pet join in. Keeping the camera snapping after school and capture your child stepping off the school bus in the afternoon.
  • Bury a time capsule. Fill a box or jar with items that represent your child’s current hobbies and interests. Have your child make a list of their favorite movies, books, and bands and describe first-day fears, friends he or she can’t wait to see!
  • See how they measures up. Using a growth chart (or the inside of a closet door), mark your child’s current height. Keep track year-by-year to show growth spurts.
  • Plan a bus stop breakfast! Invite all the neighborhood kids to get an early start the day before school begins. Fill a wagon with juice boxes, fruits and donuts. Bring it to the neighborhood bus stop at the usual pickup time as a “dress rehearsal” for the first day of school.
  • Tuck a love note into your child’s lunchbox to show you’re thinking of them. The first day can be nerve racking for everyone, so you may want to go for comfort food when dinner time comes and enjoy a cool dessert as summer vacation comes to an end.

Back to School Study Tips

  • A well-stocked desk in a quiet place at home is key, but sometimes you need variety. A trip to the library, park, or even just moving to the kitchen table will give kids a change of scenery which can prompt their brain to retain information better.
  • Remind your kids to look over their notes each night to make sure they have got all the information they need, then have them highlight the information that they know is the most important.
  • Don’t let a bad grade keep your kid down. A rough start doesn’t have to ruin the entire school year. Remind your kids to take proactive steps by checking their grades regularly and asking for a tutor if they need one.
  • Encourage your kids to make a friend in every class. Having a few friends in each class if always helpful if they have a homework question or had to miss class, then when it comes time to study for exams, they will already have a study group.
  • Keeping a calendar helps everyone plan ahead, but you’ve got more going on than just school so make sure you’re marking your extracurricular, work, and social commitments!

…and remember, before you know it, summer vacation will be starting again!

Celebrate the 4th of July!

4th of JulyThe 4th of July celebration start early this year. Wear your red, white & blue and head out to one of these Valley favorites to celebrate the 4th of July on July 3rd and July 4th!

JULY 3rd:

Anthem’s Independance Day Celebration
Celebrate at Anthem’s Independence Day Celebration with a traditional fireworks display, fun rides, activities and festival food. Families can bring blankets and lawn chairs and sit back to enjoy the spectacular event. ACC Community Park, 41730 N Glavin Peak Parkway, Anthem

Celebrate America at Lake Pleasant
Head to Lake Pleasant for their annual Independence Day celebration. This year’s itinerary includes kids activities with unlimited inflatable water slides, bounce houses, live music and tasty food trucks! Lake Pleasant Marina, 40202 87th Ave, Peoria

JULY 4th:

Fabulous Phoenix 4th
Fabulous Phoenix 4th will feature one of the largest fireworks displays in the Southwest! The non-alcoholic, family-oriented event annually attracts 100,000-plus participants every year. Included in this year’s event will be two stages featuring local entertainers, a variety of vendors offering festival-style food and beverage, arts and crafts, interactive exhibits and a classic car display. Steele Indian School Park, 300 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix

Tempe Town Lake Festival
Kiwanis Club of Tempe 66th Annual Fireworks Spectacular will present fireworks shot from Mill Avenue Bridge! The spectacular fireworks show will begin at 9:20pm and will be choreographed to patriotic, pop and country music! Gates open at 5pm.Tempe Beach Park, 620 N Mill Ave, Tempe

Are you looking for a new home to fly your American flag? Call me at 602-329-7762!

Top 5 Things to do in the Summer

wigwam resortWith daytime temperatures over 100 degrees for most of the summer, we’re all looking for fun places to cool off! I’ve been living in the Valley of the Sun for almost 25 years and everyone I know is always looking for something cool to do in the summer! Here are a few of my favorites:

Local Resorts
Most 4 and 5-star luxury resorts offer their best deals during the summer months, because they cannot fill all the rooms since Valley tourism is always down June-August. The fantastic deals are a great way for locals to enjoy a fun and affordable staycation at an otherwise pricey resort. The Wigwam (pictured) in Litchfield Park is popular with families and those looking for a quiet spa weekend. The Wigwam has summer activities for the enter family every weekend.

Waterparks
The Valley is home to several awesome waterparks; Hurricane Harbor in North Phoenix, Sun Splash in Mesa and Big Surf in Tempe. Waterparks are one of the best ways to enjoy a hot summer day while still being outside in the fresh air.

OdySea Aquarium
The OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale is a massive 200,000 square foot facility which puts it at the largest aquarium in the Southwest. A visit to the aquarium is the perfect way to escape the heat for a few hours. While you’re there, don’t miss out on the enclosed escalator fish tank, the restroom shark fish tank which ranks amongst “the best bathrooms in the US”, and the Living Sea Carousel, a rotating exhibit which takes you past 4 exhibits including a massive shark and sea lion tank.

Museums
Summer is the perfect time to check out the Valley’s diverse museum scene. A few of my favorite’s include the Musical Instrument Museum, The Phoenix Art Museum and The Science Center. Spending a few hours strolling in an air conditioned museum is the perfect opportunity to escape the heat while enjoying a fun and educational activity. Be sure to check out the summer concert series at the Musical Instrument Museum.

Ice Skating
When you really want to cool off, head on over to one of the Valley’s ice skating rinks where the inside temperature is always a cool 55 degrees! AZ Ice in Peoria offers public skating times, lessons and camps.

Where are your places to cool off in the summer? Give me a call so I can add to my list! 602-329-7762

Easter Brunch

Easter BasketWith so many Easter brunches around the valley, how do you choose? Here are a few of my favorite restaurants for brunch!

Southern Rail
 – 300 West Camelback Road, Phoenix

Devour chef Justin Beckett’s beloved brunch at Southern Rail from 10am to 3pm on Easter Sunday. Go for the fried green tomato Benedict with tomato jam, sweet potato hash with a soft-boiled egg, or bread pudding French toast with bourbon sauce. Bottles of Arizona wine will be half-price all day. Call 602-200-0085 to make a reservation.

Urban Margarita – 6685 West Beardsley Road, #180, Glendale

Celebrate Easter with festivities at Urban Margarita. In addition to regular brunch items like enchiladas and eggs ($13.89) and Frosted Flakes French toast ($10.89), the restaurant is featuring crab and lobster Benedict ($15) and bananas foster french toast ($12). Treat yourself to a Bellini in flavors like peach, mango, and raspberry, or go for a tried-and-true mimosa; either drink will run you $4. Call 623-561-6674 to make a reservation.

Wright’s at the Biltmore – 
2400 East Missouri Avenue, Phoenix

Enjoy an extravagant Easter brunch buffet at Wright’s at the Biltmore from from 9am to 2:30pm. Standout menu items include wild berry-ginger pancakes, prickly pear barbecue-glazed ham, and a sweet-glazed doughnut wall. Chef-manned stations offer up everything from made-to-order omelettes to vanilla waffle ice cream. Arrive at the resort early to join in the annual Easter egg hunt at 8:30am on the Squaw Peak Lawn, with plenty of festivities for children. Brunch costs $105 for adults and $45 for children ages 5 to 12. Call 602-954-2507 make a reservation.

Once you have finished your Easter Egg hunt and you are ready to hunt for your next home, give me a call! 602-329-7762

Spring Training Baseball

baseballIt’s the best time of year in Arizona-baseball Spring Training time! Camelback Ranch in Glendale is the spring training home of two of baseball’s most storied franchises, the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. They have enjoyed record-setting attendance and national recognition since its inaugural Cactus League season in 2009.

The 141-acre sun-kissed baseball center of award-winning architecture is wrapped around a five-acre lake on the Glendale-Phoenix border in the West Valley of metropolitan Phoenix. The lake separates the Dodgers and White Sox training facilities and offers aesthetic beauty and irrigation to complex landscaping and playing fields. The stadium has 10,000-plus seats plus seating for 3,000 on the bermed grass area. There are also 8 full suites, 4 mini-suites, a press box, a suite-level party deck, and a series of outfield terraces that create party areas. View the Camelback Ranch 2019 spring training schedule here!

When it’s not spring training season, the stadium is used for league rookie baseball, amateur baseball tournaments, corporate hospitality, concerts, festivals and other community events.

Want to view homes for sale in Glendale before or after a game? Give me a call at 602-329-7782!

Local Farmers Markets

Farmers MarketLocal producers of organic and seasonal crops gather at farmers markets every week to offer high quality products. Farmers markets showcase the bounty afforded us by Arizona farmers, growers and artisans. Here are some of my favorite markets in the North Valley.

PINNACLE PEAK FARMERS MARKET
This market takes place at Wet ‘n’ Wild water park. Shop for vegetables from Taste of Paradise farm and then grab salsa from Los Muertos, tamales from the Tamale Store, beef jerky from Santana’s and honey from Sun Tan Honey Farm.
Details: Saturdays from 8am-1pm September through May. Wet ‘n’ Wild, 4243 W. Pinnacle Peak Road, Glendale. 602-465-1343, facebook.com/pinnaclepeakfarmersmarket.

TRILOGY AT VISTANCIA MARKET
Farmers truck in freshly harvested vegetables and food vendors sell relishes, cupcakes, Alaskan seafood, granola, breads, olives, honey, jams, jellies and organic beef.
Details: 4th Saturday of the month from 10am-1pm October-April. Vistancia, 27980 N. Trilogy Blvd., Peoria. azfarmersmarkets.us.

MOMMA’S ORGANIC MARKET
This market draws more than 100 vendors to Park West every Saturday, selling fresh produce, natural meats, wild fish, fresh-baked goods, fresh eggs, raw honey, local dairy and handmade goods and gifts. Food trucks and kids activities such as face painting are also featured.
Details: Saturdays from 9am-2pm. Park West, 9744 W. Northern Ave., Peoria. shopparkwest.com.

ANTHEM FARMERS MARKET
Farmers sell seasonal crops, grass-fed beef, pork and lamb at this market. You’ll also find pickles, pastries, bread and cold-brew coffee, as well as vendors selling plants, seeds, compost and worm castings.
Details: Sundays from 10am-1pm October-May. Anthem Community Park, 41703 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway, Phoenix. arizonacommunityfarmersmarkets.com.

ESTRELLA LAKESIDE FARMERS MARKET
This monthly market is held next to the Estrella community lake. In addition to fresh-from-the-farm produce, look for vendors selling pies, pasta, empanadas, crab soup, cookies, salsa and knitted items for babies.
Details: 3rd Saturday of the month from 10am-1pm October-April. 10300 S. Estrella Parkway, Goodyear. estrella.com.

GOODYEAR FARMERS MARKET
This market offers local produce, baked goods, eggs, honey, breads, olive oils, jams, salsas, grass-fed beef and crafts from local artisans.
Details: Saturdays from 8am-noon October-May. 3151 N. Litchfield Road, Goodyear. arizonacommunityfarmersmarkets.com.

Learn about North Phoenix homes and neighborhoods.

Holiday Events And Activities Around The Valley

We may not have snow to build snowmen and go on sleigh rides, but there are plenty of valley holiday events that will get you in the Christmas spirit and a few even have some snow! Kids are on winter break or you may have family and friends in town.  Here are some fun holiday events to check out around the valley :

Glendale Glitters
November 23rd-January12th
Glendale’s award-winning holiday lighting event has become a tradition for families across the valley. Visitors of all ages will delight in Glendale Glitter’s holiday entertainment, delectable food, hand-crafted holiday gifts, a children’s snow field and
petting zoo, shopping and visits from Santa! It is the largest free holiday light display in Arizona. The stunning display of over 1.6 million LED lights illuminate sixteen blocks of Historic Downtown Glendale.

Christmas At The Princess
November 20th-December 31st
This AAA Five Diamond award-winning North Scottsdale Resort goes all out for locals and hotel guests offering and enchanting winter wonderland for all ages.  Activities include open door ice skating rink, train rides, nativity garden, Santa’s Secret Headquarters and more! Special packages are offered with room bookings and restaurant dining.

Las Noches de las Luminarias
December 1-23rd & 26-31st
The Las Noches de las Luminaria has over 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags each year at the Desert Botanical Garden. In addition, there are thousands of white twinkling lights. Everyone is welcome to join in this holiday tradition, a treasure of the Southwest, with nine entertainment ensembles that offer holiday feel, sights, and sounds for your enjoyment.

CitySkate Holiday Ice Rink
November 23rd-January 6th
Surprise, even in the valley of Phoenix, we have real ice rinks! If your holiday spirit can’t get started without ice skating, head to Central Avenue, the center of downtown. A massive tree is loaded with twinkling lights and other decorations.

Christmas in the Rainforest at Butterfly Wonderland
Select dates November 23rd-December 28th
Families have come here to kick off holiday celebration in a “Rainforest-style” for a few years now. The inside temperature is warm, the environment is enchanting, and the beautiful rainforest is filled with 3,000 colorful butterflies that flutter freely inside a glass atrium.

This is why I love living here. With our mild winter temperatures, we can almost always plan our outdoor activities without having to worry about winter snow storms. Do you know of someone who is planning to relocate to the Valley of the Sun? I’m a local area expert and I can help find new residents a home that meets their needs and lifestyle.

The Christmas Season Is A Season Of Helping Others

Children learn quickly about Christmas and Santa Claus, the gift giving and receiving. But what they don’t learn soon enough is that the giving doesn’t always come wrapped up with a bow. Giving is about caring for others, human and animals. It is a great time to teach them about compassion and empathy for others. 

Fortunately, there are many organizations that can benefit from your teaching them. Here are a just a few where the children (and you) can come in, roll up their sleeves, put on a smile, and get to work and learn a lesson too. 

St. Mary’s Food Bank
In just one hour, 100 meals can be provided to those who would otherwise go hungry by you and your children volunteering at St. Mary’s Food Bank. A great way for a church group, scout troop or a family to learn while they help. The team at St. Mary’s can use help in packing, sorting, and distributing boxes of emergency food Phoenix or Surprise. 

They ask that children be between the ages 12 to 13 with an adult, and teens between the ages of 14 to 17 are welcomed without an adult. Kids between the ages of 8 to 11 are welcome in groups with an adult leader and pre-arranged. For more information call 602-343-3134 or visit volunteer.firstfoodbank.org.

Tempe Municipal Volunteer Program
For children in grades 6 through 12, the Tempe Public Library needs volunteers for several areas. From shelving returned books to assisting with holiday and other special events throughout the year. There is also a program for junior lifeguards and anyone that wants to assist with special needs children is always needed.

Children must complete an application and will be interviewed. Training is done on the job for either one-time service or activities that go on all year long. A perfect way to complete community service or a school assignment. Call 480-350-5190 for more information or visit the website at tempe.gov/volunteer, or drop by 3500 S. Rural Road. 

Families Giving Back
Nonprofit groups partner with Families Giving Back to host volunteer events for kids of all ages and their families. One hour each weekend, children get hands-on experience with activities like putting heat relief kits together for St. Vincent de Paul or putting art project bags together for Phoenix Children’s Hospital patients. There is also groups organized that clean Phoenix city parks and there are projects that you can do at home with the whole family too. Contact the group at 602-421-7909 or visit their website at familiesgivingback.org for details.

Child Crisis Arizona
This is a great opportunity for the younger kids in your family. They will assemble caring kits that range from birthday boxes to school starter kits. They will build family-support baskets as well as good-night bags. Older kids, from ages 16 to 22 can be trained to provide child care at 3 Mesa facilities. They are required to commit to working one weekly shift for a full year. 

An application must be completed, then an interview and orientation are required, then the applicant will go through a training session. Volunteers are required to obtain a Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card. For more information, call 480-969-2308, visit their website at childcrisisaz.org/how-to-help/volunteer or drop by the Child Crisis Arizona, 604 W. Ninth St., Mesa.

 

Tee It Up in the West Valley at These Top Golf Courses 

Legends at ArrowheadYou don’t have to drive far for a great course anywhere in greater Phoenix, and the West Valley is no exception. What’s more, West Valley courses provide top-notch golf for a value, compared to courses in Scottsdale.

Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia in Peoria offers a challenging and beautifully designed course, and this top-end experience doesn’t come at a high price. Competitive rates bring players back to the distinctive backdrop of the rolling and rugged Arizona scenery to test their mettle on well-kept fairways. 

Also set in the classic scenery of saguaros and desert hills, Quintero Golf Club entices players to its remote beauty with a reputation for immaculate greens. The course earned accolades from Golf Digest, Golf Weekly and Golf Advisor as top public course in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. 

The redesigned Grand Canyon University Golf Course (formerly Maryvale) is centrally located just south of Glendale, and captures the rich history of the area with up-to-date amenities. Players will love how the course invokes a championship venue with attention to true, consistent greens and strategic bunkers.

Verrado Golf Club in Buckeye sits near the feet of the White Tank Mountains and meanders into the old-growth desert. Keep an eye out for mule deer and other Sonoran wildlife as you progress up into the foothills and down rolling fairways. 

Goodyear’s Golf Club of Estrella is managed by Troon and designed by Nicklaus, so you can expect a  well-conditioned surface and challenge in course management when you come to play. Its location near the Estrella Mountain range puts players among natural washes and desert hillsides for a stunningly beautiful backdrop to your game. 

Resort guests and public players alike are welcome to tee off at The Wigwam’s signature courses, recently renovated with a focus on maintaining the master architect’s original, 50-year-old strategic layouts. All three are true parkland courses with exceptional fairways. 

Can’t wait ‘til cooler fall temperatures for a round? Some clubs offer summer specials and most will have automatically lower prices for the season, so there’s no reason not to enjoy an early morning tee time and take advantage of the bargains on top-tier courses. 

5 Golf Courses In The Arizona West Valley Worth Visiting

Put These Courses On Your List To Play!

The 500 Club Golf Course

Gorgeous 18-hole championship golf course nestled in the quiet foothills of northwest Phoenix. Designed by Brian Whitcomb, this par 72 layout offer subtle features that will challenge and excite golfers at every ability. The course plays 6867 yards from the championship tees, with a slope of 122 and a rating of 72.2. The 500 Club is truly unique in that it is one of the only public daily fee courses with the magical desert landscape and views of the valley mountains.

http://www.the500club.com/

Legend at Arrowhead

Designed by Arnold palmer, Award Winning Legend Golf Resort at Arrowhead Golf Club sits on a remote mountain slope 26 miles northwest of Sky Harbor Airport. This beautifully laid out course features 7 lakes and 156 bunkers all surrounded by beautiful valley mountains.The Legend plays 7,005 yards and a par-72 from the championship tees.

https://www.legendatarrowhead.com/

Glen Lakes Municipal Golf Course

Originally built in 1966 and designed by Jay Hillhouse, Glen Lakes is located just 5 miles from the Gila River Arena and University of Phoenix Stadium. This course offers a par 33 course featuring 6 par 4s and 3 par 3s. This course can be challenging with 40 foot eucalyptus trees and many bunkers. The 9th hole presents water off the tee and on the approach.

https://www.glenlakesgolfaz.com/

Bellair Golf Club

Known as the best executive golf course by locals, this par-59 layout course features challenges that attract experiences golfers but a shorter more approachable length for beginners and juniors. Bellair features 5 par 4s and 13 par 3s measuring up to 185 to 210 yards in length. This course opened in 1973 and was originally designed by Lawrence, Hardin & Nash.

http://www.bellairgolf.com/

Grand Canyon University Golf Course

Formerly the Maryvale Golf Course, GCU Golf Course was designed by Ted Robinson Sr. The par-71 golf course measures 7,269 yards from the championship tees. Features include new tee boxes, challenging greens, extended fairways, practice facilities and a 10,000 sqft. clubhouse including a restaurant and bar, second-story practice facility and fully equipped pro shop. A traditional walking golf course accented with beautiful greens, preserved full-grown trees planted in the early 1960s and distinct, memorable holes.

http://www.gcugolf.com/