Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hot Fun in the Summer Time

{I spent hours writing a post on my Pintrest week-long dinner challenge and then *poof* it disappeared.  Kinda hard to find the motivation to write it all over again, so am sending this one out today instead.}

If you've been through an Arizona summer you know it can get unbearably hot.  Swimming pools help, but there are many dog days of summer to fill.  I liken it to a Midwest winter - we begin to feel cooped up and stir-crazy.  Last weekend we hit our first triple digit days and there are only a few more weeks of school left.  Summer is coming whether we want it to or not.  Over the years I've come up with a list of activities (including links) for both in and out of the home that will occupy your little ones and save your sanity.

Places to Go
Fountain Hills Splash Park - you can also feed the ducks or grab gelato nearby
Desert Ridge Splash Pad - lots of restaurants to choose from, outdoor music some nights
Scottsdale Quarter Splash Pad - swing by MoJo yogurt or It's Sugar for a treat
Kierland Commons Splash Pad - Cold Stone is adjacent to pad
Tempe SplashGround Park - very cool with little river for the toddlers
Phoenix Zoo Yakulla Caverns - shade canopies and caverns keep things cool
Scottsdale Library - storytimes, music classes, early literacy centers, summer reading program
Children's Museum of Phoenix - three stories of pure delight
Natural History Museum in Mesa - cool faux flash flood, huge dinos and panning for gold
Pump It Up - Pop In Playtime on Mon, Wed and Thur
Harkins Movie Fun Pass - pay $7 for the pass and you can see 1 movie a week thorughout the summer
Challenger Space Center - regular preschool and family events
AMF Bowling - kids packages and specials
Ice Den - Saturday nights are family night, free skate rentals for kids and kid-friendly music

Pinned Image
Fairies in a Jar {source & directions below}
Things to Do
freeze little plastic toys in a block of ice and hammer away
"car" wash with sponges, sprinkler, ride-on toys, bikes, scooters, buckets and bubbles
squeeze lemonade
make popsicles
ice cream in a bag
homemade applesauce
finger paint with pudding or paint
potato stamps
melt crayons in to shapes
card games - Go Fish and War are big in our house right now
board games - current favorites here are Zingo and Flippity Find
give "baby" a bath
make slime
make play dough

People to See
The Great Arizona Puppet Theatre
Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre - they do lunch events for kids shows
Valley Youth Theatre
Desert Stages Theatre
Changing Hands Bookstore - monthly events like costume storytime and animal visitors
Fire Station tour
Police Station tour
Grocery Store tour - Fry's offers behind the scenes tours and tastings of each departmen

Monday, April 16, 2012

She's Crafty {Hissyfits Hullabaloo}

Another Hullabaloo happened on Sunday at Hissyfits!
Too many sweet designs and amazing creations to capture before I had to man my own booth, but take a peek at the shots I did get.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Phoenix Food Truck Fridays

Have you gotten on the food truck train?  I first heard about the food truck craze about ten years ago when traveling to Portland, Oregon, on business.  Gourmet, speciality and ethnic foods prepared fresh and dished up right before your eyes.  A steaming hot plate of goodness is passed through the typically tiny food truck window, you scurry off to find a bench, table or curb to sit on and inhale the aroma before digging in.  It was a thrill to find that Phoenix has quite a growing group of food trucks and they converge every Friday of the month at the Phoenix Public Market downtown for Phoenix Food Truck Fridays

Off Central, south of Roosevelt, about 15 food trucks formed a semi-circle in the parking lot.  Under the huge shaded roof {with misters for summer} were rows and rows of tables covered in white butcher paper.  A really clean and cheerful operation.  People of all types mingled together with one common goal in mind: obtain good food.  A whole truck dedicated to creme brulee.  Carne asada quesadilla with carmelized onions and bleu cheese.  Indian fry bread covered with queso blanco and green chili chicken.  Pizzas tossed and topped fresh to order.  Hot dogs smothered in mango chutney, diced jalapenos, red onions and cilantro.  I mean...What's not to love?


Friday, April 6, 2012

Children's Easter Party

We invited friends over for an afternoon Easter party and it was so much fun!
Beautiful weather, yummy treats and happy kiddos - who could ask for more?

Kicking things off with a little egg hunt...

Cupcake decorating using Meri Meri Easter Cupcake Kit found here...

Bird's Nest treats {recipe below}

To make the Bird's Nest treats combine a 12 oz bag of chocolate chips and a 12oz bag of peanut butter chips in a glass bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between until melted and smooth.  Add a 12oz bag of chow mein noodles and mix until coated.  Using about 1/4 cup, spoon on to parchment paper and add a few candy eggs (I used Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs) and place in refrigerator to harden. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Favorites: Children's Books

Ahh...books.  I love everything about them. 

They can provide a little escape from reality and take you to far off or imaginary worlds.  They can jolt you in to reality and make you aware of ideas and concepts and lives you hadn't known before.  Old, new, fiction or non, I love them all. 

Reading to my children is one of my favorite things to do.  We usually snuggle on the playroom couch or my daughter's bed mid-afternoon and read.  Each night we wind down with books and snuggle in my son's rocking chair (although we're starting to outgrow it!). 

My son's current favorite is the Star Wars Character Encyclopedia and he prefers to read that with his Dad, which I am perfectly fine with {wink}.  My daughter's current favorites are Madeline and Angelina Ballerina.  Here is a list of some of my favorites for boys and girls alike.

Taken last year when we could all still fit

Hey Pancakes!
Curious George series
Caps for Sale
Goodnight Moon
Franklin series
I Love You Stinky Face
any by Richard Scarry
Harold & The Purple Crayon
Danny & The Dinosaur
Harry the Spotted Dog series
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Baby Bear's Chairs
Baby Bear's Books
The Dot
Thomas the Train series
The Good Humor Man
The Fire Engine Book
Miss Spider series
Blueberries for Sal
any by Jan Brett
Not a Box
How Do Dinosaurs... series
Pete's A Pizza
The Story of Ferdinand
Seven Little Postman
Tawny Scrawny Lion
Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel
Owl Moon
The Color Kittens
Peter Rabbit
The Little Island
any by DePaola
Where the Wild Things Are
The Happy Lion
Is Your Mama a Llama?
Llama Llama Red Pajama series
Adventures of Taxi Dog
The Velveteen Rabbit
Babar series
The Kissing Hand
Make Way for Ducklings
The Little Red Caboose
The Story About Ping

You might also enjoy my post about Little House on the Prairie series here.