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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.

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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/

Summer Camp Options For West Valley Kids

kid photographer photoIt’s summertime and the kids are getting restless. It’s been proven that children who attend summer camp are well rounded, have better social skills, and are problem solvers.  If you’re looking for a fun option to get the kids out of the house, and gain extra skills, check out these local summer camp options in the West Valley. 

Glendale / Peoria Family YMCA

Camp Sky-Y is an overnight camp for youth ages 7-16 and is in Prescott. Serving the Greater Phoenix Area, Camp Sky-Y offers the quintessential overnight sleep-away camp for kids looking to build relationships and have adventures. 

Arizona Sports Complex

Located in Glendale, this multi-sport facility offers a variety of day camps for kids over the summer to improve on their athletic abilities. Not sure which sport is best for your child? Check out the multi-sport camp that allows participants to try a variety of sports to see what they like best. 

Camp Invention

At this hands-on learning camp, participants will get to explore a new topic relating to entrepreneurship, technology, problem solving or innovation. This one-week camp allows children to develop their problem-solving skills and build confidence while creating a project. 

Arizona Dance Artistry

If you’re looking to advance your child’s dance technicality, the Arizona Dance Artistry offers a day camp over the summer for youth ages 2-18. This is a great chance for the young ballerina’s to improve their dancing and be ready for fall season. 

City of Peoria

The Parks and Rec Department of Peoria offers day camps that include STEM, arts and crafts, team building and much more. For ages 2-12, there’s a variety of summer camp topics for children to sign up for depending on their interests. 

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Fun Things To In Phoenix

desert sunset photoIf you live in the Metro Phoenix area and you’re looking for something exciting to do during the month of September, there are tons of great festivals you might want to check out. Depending on your own personal interests, you might be able to find tons of great activities you never knew existed all within a short drive from where you live. Check out our list of top picks for September activities in the Metro Phoenix area and see which ones you might want to take part in when the time comes!

Saboten Con

Do you love anime conventions? If so, Saboten Con is right where you want to be. On the first weekend of the month, this convention will be taking place in Phoenix. Bring along your favorite cosplay and join the fun at the panels that will be going on throughout the whole weekend. Don’t forget to stop by and visit some of the special guests for this convention, including voice actors, artists, and other exciting members of the anime and Western cartoon worlds both. This is a family-friendly event, but there are some adults-only after hours activities that do take place at night during the convention.

Rock the Guac

If you’re a big fan of guacamole, you’ll want to check out Rock the Guac. This is a fun and lighthearted event based around the love of none other than guacamole! Taste test guacamole made by chefs from all over the area and don’t forget to stop by the taco bar to help yourself to some delicious delectable while you’re at it. Flamenco dancers and lucha libre wrestlers will provide entertainment for the evening, and you will have the opportunity to purchase alcoholic beverages throughout the night if you wish too. This event takes place at the Camby Hotel in Phoenix and is $50 per person at the door.

Furry Friends Fine Arts Festival

Stop by the Shemer Art Center on September 16 for a $5-per-person activity that’s fun for the whole family! This is an art exhibit and festival centered around the furriest people in your life. You can tour animal-themed art displays and check out all sorts of fun performances and readings put on by some of the cutest pets around! Stop by to check out live music and tasty food before you leave—and don’t forget to bring your dog along for the day, too.

This has only scratched the surface of fun and exciting things to do in Metro Phoenix this month!

Click here to check out what’s happening in Glendale!

 

Ten Things to Do in the Summer in the Valley

lake photoAre you looking for something to get out and do during the summertime? Would you like to plan a staycation in the area or figure out some nice day trips to take with the whole family? There are a lot of exciting places to visit and things to do in summer in the Valley, if you just know where to look!  Here are some ideas beyond the usual  movie theater visits:

Scottsdale

  • Ice Skating – If you’re looking for something to help beat the summer heat, why not go to an indoor ice rink and do some skating? There are several indoor rinks in the Valley, but Scottsdale is home to Ice Den, which is a very popular choice.
  • McDowell Sonoran Preserve – This is a great place to take an early morning or evening walk and keep your eyes peeled for local plant and animal life, too. Bring the whole family for an outing that’s as educational as it is fun.  Remember to bring your sunscreen and water!

Glendale

  • Cerreta Candy Company – Take a tour and see how candy is made at this production facility. You might even get a free sample or find something you can’t live without in the gift shop afterward.
  • Drive-In Movie – There aren’t a lot of drive-in movie theaters left these days, but the Glendale 9 boasts about being one of them. Take in a move from the comfort of your car for a trip back in time.

Peoria

  • Challenger Space Center – Check out this technology center and learn all about space and how we interact with it from here on Earth. There are plenty of exhibits to check out as well hands-on experiences for kids and adults both.
  • New River Trail – Take an early morning hike on the New River Trail or bring your bike and enjoy over 10 miles of paved trail equipped with water stations.
  • Kayaking and Paddle Boarding – With Go Paddle AZ, located in Peoria, you can take a day-long adventure on the water and experience kayaking, canoeing, and Paddle Boarding alone or with a group of friends.

Phoenix

  • Children’s Museum – If you have little ones, you can’t miss a chance to go to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. This is a fun hands-on experience that’s sure to keep your little one happy and entertained all day long.
  • Arizona Science Center – Learn all about science and discover things you didn’t even know about when you visit the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix. This is a great activity that’s sure to please the whole family.
  • Phoenix Zoo – No list of sightseeing in the Valley would be complete without mentioning the Phoenix Zoo.  From June through August, the zoo opens at 7am (6am for members). Take it in for a morning visit to learn more about the animals that live there and then let your kids cool off at the Leapin’ Lagoon, the zoo’s splash pad.

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