Archive for the ‘newsworthy’ Category

Huzzah to all my fine readers! Those of you who checked in on my post at our sister site, www.mycrazy8.com, will have found some fun information on this years Arizona Renaissance Festival. I wanted to add a few fun facts to that post as my family and I were able to attend once again this year. There were so many new experiences offered this year and I wouldn’t want you all to miss out on any of it! There is a special offer at the end of this post that you won’t want to miss! So read on! Hope you enjoy and take your own family for some amazing experiences of your own! This weekend is the last weekend of this annual spectacular medieval spectacle and we want to make sure you don’t miss out!

Don't be shy! Get in on the fun and dress up for the fair! You won't regret it as the artisans and performers will heartily welcome you in on the merriment!

Don’t be shy! Get in on the fun and dress up for the fair! You won’t regret it as the artisans and performers will heartily welcome you in on the merriment!

First of all, I would like to second my earlier advice to fully embrace the time period by dressing up as your favorite Renaissance character. Don’t have a costume? No problem! Near the entrance of the fair is a wonderful little boutique where you can rent your costume for the day! There are lots of sizes and fun character themes to choose from. It makes it super easy and convenient as well as exceptionally more fun!

Costumes are available for rent to help everyone fit right in with the fair folk!

Costumes are available for rent at the entrance of the Fair to help everyone fit right in with the fair folk!

A couple of new items we tried this year included some of the food items that are both old and new. If you are curious as to which items are the best on the menu, we have tried many but have yet to find the equal of the “steak on a stake”! Well worth saving your appetite for! This is definitely the finest food item we have found at the fair! It would be enough for small children to split but older kids or adults with appetites will definitely want their own! We sampled the Turkey leg (which has always been a favorite) as well as the corn on the cob which were both wonderful. The corn was especially popular with my kids. A new item we discovered was the frozen orange! Not sure exactly what goes into this one but it consists of an actual frozen orange with a frozen icy orange-flavored coating that is absolutely addictive as well as refreshing on a hot afternoon! We shared one and ended up getting another very quickly! Definitely going to make our “must have” list next year! And no visit is complete without a stop at the chocolate shop located near the entrance…we highly recommend the chocolate strawberries!

The line might be long but it is worth the wait! Plus, you get to be entertained by Captain Drake, the pirate, while you wait!

The line might be long but it is worth the wait! Plus, you get to be entertained by Captain Drake, the pirate, while you wait!

Don't forget to stop in on the fairies as well! Twig and her sister, Juniper, will surely delight every child with an eye for magic!

Don’t forget to stop in on the fairies as well! Twig and her sister, Juniper, will surely delight every child with an eye for magic!

Of course, you have heard of the newest exhibit of mermaids…yes, you read correctly…MERMAIDS! These are live, swimming, performing mermaids that not only swim for show but interact with your kids both under the water and above it! If you have any little mermaid wann-bee’s out there, this is a must see exhibit. It was exceptionally busy though. We were a little slow making our way back to this exhibit and by the time we arrived, it was about an hour wait to get in. So I would highly recommend you make your way back to this exhibit FIRST before you dally anywhere else in the fair to avoid long waits! But if you have to wait, the pirates in attendance are MOST entertaining! Pay attention though, they LOVE to give oblivious passerbys a little trouble!

Captain Drake is always to be found lingering around the mermaid pools! He's quite the scoundrel so watch yourself!

Captain Drake is always to be found lingering around the mermaid pools! He’s quite the scoundrel so watch yourself!

We visited one of the braiding stations called “Twisted Sisters” and were blown away by the talent and service here! Very friendly ladies, very gentle on the hair (for those with sensitive heads, this is a must!) and extremely talented stylists! They use real flowers in your hair which just adds to the magic of the ambiance! Check out some of their handiwork in the photos included here!

Meet Tom Selectomy! He is a crazy, sword swallowing daredevil!

Meet Tom Selectomy! He is a crazy, sword swallowing daredevil!

Don’t forget the Sword Swallower! This show is definitely not for the delicate stomachs but it is quite amazing to behold!

Of course, no visit to the fair is complete without a stop at the weapons shops! There are many available throughout the fair and I highly recommend shopping around as the pricing will vary, in some cases dramatically. This applies to most of the artisans in the fair that have duplicate offerings. We found that the further back into the fair we ventured, the more reasonable the pricing became so don’t be shy about visiting all the artisans…you will not only find different pricing but differing styles, quality and materials. Plus, every artisan is in full character and are so much fun to interact with! They are exceptionally knowledgeable about their trades and love to share their discoveries, wisdom and expertise with all who are interested! The weapons shops are particularly entertaining because you can even get them to divulge secrets behind the proper handling of each weapon and how it was used! My boys are particularly attentive during these interactions! For those interested in the actual process of weapons-forging, make sure you stop by the blacksmiths shop near the mermaid tank! See firsthand how weapons came into being and ask questions of these very knowledgeable artisans.

We brought our hair leathers back this year and the Captan treated us to some free braided coifs!

We brought our hair leathers back this year and the Captan treated us to some free braided coifs!

One of the artisans we discovered last year was the beaded leather braiding shop. Those of us who have long hair but are “braiding-challenged”, this was a unique and super fun discover! They are beaded leather straps that you can use to easily braid your hair in seconds with decorative accessories. Super easy to use and super cute! Plus, any year you return to the fair with your beaded leather, they will style and braid your hair for free! This is quite a deal since most braiding stations in the fair will cost you upwards of $20 or more! He made good on his offer with four of us this year and it was a wonderful treat!

We also were able to meet some new characters this year! One especially fun character was the ever-elusive young dragon, FireFlicker! He is exceptionally hard to find and considered quite the find to capture him on camera! He’s always on the lookout for shiny objects to add to his dragon hoard!

Try to catch FireFlicker, the friendly dragon! He is quite illusive but well worth the hunt!

Try to catch FireFlicker, the friendly dragon! He is quite illusive but well worth the hunt!

A tip on attending the joust…be sure to arrive at least 30-40 minutes early for your joust of choice as seats fill quickly (especially if you want one in the shade!). The first joust of the day is merely exhibition. Skills of dexterity and horsemanship as well as sword and lance handling. Very tame for the feint of heart! But those wishing to see a match to the death should be sure and make the final joust of the day. This joust will see only one winner and is much more violent as all the knights are pitted against one another in defending their honor. Of course, they still maintain the humor and light-heartedness and all the “dead” knights rise once again at the end, much to the cheers of the crowd! But if you have sensitive little ones, stick to the earlier joust. If you would like to congratulate your favorite knight, get to know his horse or ask questions about the more technical aspects of the joust, be sure and stop by the paddocks after the performance as each knight will be available to sign autographs and talk to the crowd!

Make sure you ask for a demo of the dragon flute! You won't be disappointed!

Make sure you ask for a demo of the dragon flute! You won’t be disappointed!

Some of the new musicians we discovered included the traditional dulcimer. This is a harp-like instrument played with a pick. It is absolutely haunting to listen to and very fun to watch a master at work on the strings! We encountered this talented fellow near the mermaid tank. But you haven’t heard real magic until you’ve visited the flute shop and seen what they can do with the “dragon flute” and the “fairy pipes”! Ever seen a wooden saxophone? We have! And so can you if you stop by their store for a demo!

If you haven’t visited the amazing artisan-filled Renaissance Festival yet, don’t worry…there’s still time! The fair runs through April 2, from 10:00-6:00 (rain or shine) Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.royalfaires.com/arizona/. But there is a special contest going on right now to get a free adult ticket with VIP parking over at our sister sites facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MyCrazy8/! Jump on over there and get entered! Contest winner will be announced tomorrow!

Have you been to the fair? Share your experiences below! There are so many things to see that we’d love to hear what new discoveries YOU made! Huzzah!

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If your kids have ever dreamed of pirates, knights, princesses or fairies…then you need to pack up these little dreamers and take them to the place where these dreams can be real! My family and I have found a place where these characters come to life…at the Arizona Renaissance Festival! The Arizona Renaissance Festival is a medieval amusement park, a 13-stage theater, a 30-acre circus, an arts and crafts fair, a jousting tournament and a feast — all rolled into one non-stop, day-long family adventure! The Faire runs from 10am to 6pm (rain or shine) on Saturdays and Sundays from February 6 to March 27, including President’s Day on February 15th. The Festival is seven miles east of Apache Junction on US Highway 60.

The Renaissance Festival is a place where you and your family can experience over 200 handcrafted items, have a sword fight with a pirate, watch knights joust to the death, dance to the reed pipes of a fairy, laugh with the village fool or even gain audience with the King and his courtisans! Hop on a “man-powered” merry-go-round, ride a giant rocking horse, have a go at the crossbow or just take a load off on the lawn and catch the Bird of Prey show to see how traditional falconry was done! Even the booths are hand-crafted works of art. There are hair weavers, face painters, candle makers, pottery artists, leather and metal workers…the list goes on!

My family of 5 have been attending for several years and we wouldn’t miss it! There has been something for all of my ages to experience, learn from and participate in every year we have attended. We love mixing in with the villagers dressed in our renaissance finest and talking with the various artisans about their unique skills. I have brought my princesses, my fairies, my warlocks, my pirates, my knights and even my robin hood and we fit in perfectly in this fully immersive renaissance experience. Plan to spend the entire day! Munch on traditional turkey legs, steaks on sticks or take a sweet trip to heaven as you pass by any number of amazing chocolate covered treasures to be found all over the faire.

Some of the entertainment can be quite a mixed bag of joyful and inappropriate (this is, after all, the renaissance!). I have attended without incident with all my children on a variety of days (just avoiding the shows with more adult-oriented humor). But if you would like to avoid the “bawdy” all together,  I highly recommend attending on “Student Days” on March 1st and 3rd. This is a very special day when the more rambunctious crowd is toned down to make way for the likes of Galileo, Medicis, Shakespeare, Magellan and so much more! These two days cater especially to teachers and students to help bring to life the language, science, arts, engineering and overall ambiance of the 16th Century.

Tickets are $23 for adults and $11 for kids (ages 5-12). Discount tickets are available  here or check their website for a coupon partner near you. You can also hook up with their facebook page and join in the 16th century fun to win one of their daily giveaways!

Want to come with your teacher and all your classroom friends?? Then you need to enter their “Renaissance in the Southwest 2016 Essay Contest”! Teachers, this is a spectacular way to help your kids get excited about history!

A couple of tips when attending the faire…

  • Traffic can be a problem getting there…plan to leave at least an hour or two early if you can. But once you get there, parking is free and very well organized.
  • They do not allow outside food and drink but when I have come with children under the age of 5, they have allowed me to bring small snacks, bottles and drinks specifically and only for these little ones. But I would try to pack light…they won’t let you bring coolers or any large items.
  • It’s dusty! If you have allergies or are otherwise affected by the dust, be prepared.
  • It can be very warm! Wear sunscreen…a hat…bring a fan…you will be much more comfortable! Bring water…you can refill at drinking fountains throughout the park.
  • There are bathrooms throughout the faire but the lines can be long…try to get your little ones to go before you get there.
  • Leave your pets at home…they will not be allowed into the park.
  • Costumes are super fun and usually will win the attention of the street performers for an even more interactive and fun experience!
  • There are 8 ATM’s located across the Festival grounds but I would recommend having cash on hand. The food can be a bit pricey but well worth the experience and you won’t want to miss out on purchasing some one-of-a-kind souvenirs from your time traveling adventures!

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Those of you who were paying attention to the national news over the last month may have noticed that we, here in Arizona, got just a bit of rain…like twice our average rainfall!…in about a period of a day! What does this mean? Well, when you live in a desert, it means massive flooding, LOTS of standing water and…you guessed it…MOSQUITOS! Those of us who have touted for years the mantra “it’s a DRY heat!” are now forced to face a very frightening reality…it’s not dry anymore!

Flooding in Mesa, AZ

Mesa, Az received over 4 inches of rain in 12 hours!

So we turn to our bug sprays to save our children from those little itchy nightmares with wings…or do we? If you’re like me, you have a certain fear of the many chemicals in over the counter bug sprays. Especially when the warning labels include things like the following:
“Insect repellents containing DEET should not be used on children under 2 months of age. Oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children under 3 years of age. When applying insect repellents to children, avoid their hands, around the eyes, and cut or irritated skin. Do not allow children to handle insect repellents. When using on children, apply to your own hands and then put it on the child. After returning indoors, wash your child’s treated skin or bathe the child. Clothes exposed to insect repellants should be washed with soap and water.”

Carrying the frightening "West Nile Virus", we have now had an influx of these annoying little guys!

Or how about this one…
“…repeated applications may increase potential toxic effects.”
Considering these bug sprays have an active time of only a few hours, if that, what is one to do when reapplying could “increase potential toxic effects”??
Well, this momma has found an all natural alternative! Doterra’s CPTG Essential Oils!… now before you roll your eyes, hear me out! I reacted with the eyeroll my first go around with a consultant too! But then I started researching. And then I started using them. And now, I am a total believer! My current, all natural, non-toxic alternative to bug spray consists of fractionated coconut oil, Lavendar, peppermint, lemongrass, and clove mixed in a 2 ounce spray bottle. It not only smells wonderful and is good for the skin, but it is the bomb when it comes to repelling those little flying menaces! Reapply as necessary! There’s NO toxic load you need to worry about!

Doterra's Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils are a very powerful all natural alternative to toxic bug sprays.

Peppermint is a natural repellant for ants, aphids, beetles, fleas, gnats, moths, plant lice, and spiders! Clove works especially well combined with lavender and lemongrass to repel mosquitos as well as ticks. Spray a little of this mixture into your hands and rub all over the exposed skin or you can spray directly on cloths.
My kids did not believe me after a day or two because, they insisted, we don’t see any mosquitos anywhere! So they decided to run off to school without their homemade bug spray application one morning. Can you guess how many bites they came home with?? My 6 year old daughter had about 7 and my 9 year old son held the record with about 18! Needless to say, they have not left the house without their bug spray since and so far, we have not had any new additions to our existing bug bite count! But what to do with those itchy bites we received in our moment of parental independence?… we use straight Lavendar oil…removes the itch immediately! Apply as needed…it also helps to heal them faster! Lavendar is a natural antihistamine!
I will admit, I am on a bit of a crusade to share these homemade essential oil remedies with all parents struggling to reduce their families toxic load. They have truly changed the way I think about home health! If you would like to know more, or even receive a sample of these little miracles in a bottle, feel free to contact me at jennifer@wiseandhealthyliving.com.

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New Back-to-School Movie Giveaway!

August 8th, 2013 4:00pm

We know a few of us out there are less than thrilled about school starting up again. But we want to cheer you up! We are serious Disney fans over here and can’t help but be a little bit excited about the new movie, “Planes”, that comes out tomorrow! Nothing like a rip roarin’ Disney animated adventure to bring the sparkle back into our glazed over “back-to-school” eyes! So we are hosting a movie ticket giveaway starting tomorrow! Even if you aren’t a Disney fan, you gotta admit… movies are a fun indulgence! We are giving away two pairs of tickets to any Cinemark theater. Lots of ways to enter so don’t miss out!…
a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ok, you thought all the summer fun was over but we’ve got one more big science event for you and your kids to enjoy a late night together! The Perseids Meteor shower will be making it’s big annual appearance in the western skies August 11-13th this year! You can challenge your kids with a little astronomy by having them find the Perseus constellation…that’s where the show is supposed to start. But according to experts, it will be visible in various parts of the sky so keep a watchful eye!

One of my favorite astronomy apps is called SkySafari. It has been a source of great excitement for my kids on our star gazing nights because it uses your phone/tablet’s compass/gyroscope to be able to view the sky in real time and identify constellations just by pointing your tablets/phones camera towards the sky! It scrolls across the sky as you move it, labeling every celestial body you see! It will not destroy your night vision either, using the special night vision setting. Check it out in App Store. They are currently running a sale on their full version but the “lite” version really works just awesome and is what we have used for quite some time.

Have fun on your meteor watch! Ask your kids teachers about extra credit they might be able to earn by describing the event in class!

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Calling all history buffs!…

February 27th, 2013 8:44pm

Commemorative Air Force's Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, FIFI, first flown in 1942 and beginning active service in 1944. Best Known as the aircraft whose missions over Japan helped bring about the end of WWII.

For those of you who have kiddos that are seriously into airplanes or, in my case, World War II airplanes specifically, you need to know about an event at Mesa Gateway Airport starting Thursday, February 28th and running through Sunday, March 3rd! The Commemorative Air Force’s Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber (the ONLY remaining flight ready example of this aircraft in the world!) will be visiting this airport along with another famous World War II bomber, the B-17 Flying Fortress, Sentimental Journey, and a P-51 Mustang, Man O’War! For those WWII aficionado’s out there, some of the other famous aircraft on tap will be the C-45 Expeditor, a Navy SNJ and a Navy N2S!

The aircraft will be on the ramp at Gateway Aviation Services, 5803 S. Sossaman Road in Mesa from 2:00pm-6:30pm on February 28 and 9:00am to 6:30pm through March 3rd. Admission is $10 per person; $20 for families with children 17 and under; and free for children 10 years old and younger. Cockpit tours are available with admission and rides in the airplanes can be purchased for an additional $65-$595. Please note there may be a discount if purchased online. For more information, visit the Mesa Gateway Airport press release.

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Laveen is having their Laveen Art League and 2nd Friday Community Market This Friday, December 14th from 6:00pm-9:00pm in the South Mountain Community College – Laveen Campus courtyard.

The Laveen Art League will have their on campus gallery open for viewing of art from the majority of Laveen Art League members. The artists that will be hanging in two rooms work in a variety of mediums, such as papercrafting, jewelry, photography, mixed media, painting, drawing and more. On Friday December 14th, there will also be children’s activities and crafts, like a “Seek and Find” activity as well as an “Art Petting Zoo”, Music and Puppetry performances, Paint and Take and a visit from Santa Himself!

Fantasy Face will be face painting at this event so come join us for some holiday glitter!

Fantasy Faces (courtesy of yours truly!) will also be hanging out with Santa to paint faces and bring some holiday glitter to your smile! So stop by and get a unique work of art you can wear all night long!

Some other vendors you might recognize are Kettlecorn, Native American Frybread, It’s a Divine Bakery, Double L Originals, The Spirit Box, Native American Jewelry (Rosina), Rider’s Ranch, Maricopa County Stormworks and City of Phoenix, Hot Dog cart, 4 Elements, Fantasy Faces, Joyce, Bethany and Capiz by the Sea!

Outside the gallery will be a wonderful selection of food and craft vendors, with beautiful handmade crafts and delicious food. While some do take debit/credit, you may want to bring some cash with you for when you find something you love!

This is a not to be missed holiday event! The location is South Mountain Community College Campus at 5001 W Dobbins Road, Laveen, AZ 85339.

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Halloween Safety!

October 31st, 2012 1:09am

As your kiddos get ready to run out into the neighborhood, please be prepared with some basic safety tips and guidelines!

If your kids are anything like ours, they are chomping at the bit to get out and show off their coolest costume creations while collecting an insane amount of candy from strangers! While we want everyone to have a great time this Halloween, we are most concerned about the safety of our little ones and want to share a few reminders and tips for keeping our kiddos safe this Halloween night!…

• Children should always be accompanied by an adult whether it’s at a party, trick or treating or sitting around watching scary movies with their friends!

• Have a plan in case you get separated. Set a place and/or time where you can meet up if you should happen to lose one another.

•Make sure your children wear a light of some kind while they are trick or treating. It makes finding them easier and helps drivers to see them better.

• Remind your kids never to cut across back alleys or fields. Encourage them to stay together in large groups at all times.

• We know some consider it old fashioned, but PLEASE don’t let your kids eat their candy until an adult has checked through it. Throw out any candy that looks tampered with (ie. loose wrapping, unidentifiable treats, etc.).

• Never go into a strangers house. Whenever possible, you should stick with houses of people you know.

• Always be careful crossing streets!! Look both ways and avoid crossing altogether whenever possible. Remember, it’s dark and cars are not always able to see you, if they happen to be looking at all! Rule of thumb: remember, in a mash up between you and a car…the car will ALWAYS win! So be looking for them, don’t expect them to look for you.

For more information on Halloween Safety, please take a moment and breeze through www.halloween-safety.com.

Be safe out there and have a Happy Haunted Halloween!

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October Festival!

October 20th, 2011 7:13pm

Ok, I know this is somewhat limiting to all of you out there not currently in Arizona. But for those of you burned out on the traditional pumpkin patches of Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek or Mother Nature’s Farm in Gilbert, we’ve got a new alternative for you! Hop on over to DeWitt Stables and let your kids enjoy “The Patch of Pumpkins, Pets and Ponies”! You definitely can’t beat the price! Kids under 3 are FREE and admission is $5.00 for 3 and up. Families can purchase a group ticket for only $25.00! They also have special rates for larger groups.

Besides picking out that perfect pumpkin from their pumpkin patch, kids can enjoy hayrides, a petting zoo, pony rides, a hay maze, a craft fair, games and even more rides! The festival hours are Fridays from noon until dark and Saturdays from 10:00am until dark.

DeWitt Stables is located at 2211 E. Quince in Mesa, just 1/2 mile north of the 202 Red Mountain on Gilbert Rd. For more information, call (480) 717-9540 or visit their website at www.dewittstables.com

Be sure to mark your calendars with our pumpkin graphic to help remind your little ones of the upcoming holiday fun! Halloween is almost upon us!

Kids will love this great petting zoo!

Pony rides are sure to delight those little western rustlers!

Don't forget to stop by the pumpkin patch for the perfect holiday pumpkin!

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If you’re looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend (September 10-11), come and beat the heat at the Wonder Pet Expo at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. The cost for parking ($7 per vehicle) and admission ($6 for adults, children 12 and under are free) will cost you less than a trip to the movies, and everyone – parents included – will enjoy themselves with the variety of exhibitors and events at the Expo.

First, take your children over to the PetsWeekly Booth (Booth 116) to get their free puppy and kitten activity books. While the kids are coloring, you can view some of the best products on the market for pets – from keeping everyone (including Fido) safe on a road trip to tracking pets (or kids) with the newest TAGG GPS collar from Qualcomm. Once you’ve finished saying “hi” to the PetsWeekly crew, take the kids over to have their face painted, or for a jump on the moon bounce.  The Expo will also have clowns and lots of games for the kiddies to play. That’s a ton of good, clean fun!

There will plenty of other things for your children to see and do at the Expo, including taking part in a flash mob with Megan Blake and her dog, Smiley. If you and your kids want to learn the dance before the Expo, click here to see a video demonstration.

If that’s not enough to convince you to hop in the car and come on out to the Fairgrounds this weekend, Deb’s Dragons will be on stage with her amazing reptiles, the Splash Dogs will be showing off their dock diving skills, and the AZ Disc Dogs will be there, wowing kids and adults alike with their awesome disc tricks!

So get out of the heat this weekend at the indoor, fully air-conditioned, Wonder Pet Expo. There your children will be entertained and learn about the pet world all at once – creating memories to last a lifetime.  You won’t get from just another trip to the movie theater!

General Expo Information:

September 10-11, 2011

Sat. 10am-6pm

Sun. 11am-5pm

Held at the Arizona State Fairgrounds (the event will be indoors in the air-conditioned Expo building) at 1826 W. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, Ariz. Click here for directions.

Admission:

$6 for Adults

FREE for ages 12 and under

$7 a car for parking

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