Posts Tagged ‘holiday activities’

23rd Annual Celebration of Fine Art...come see the artists at work!

Yes, spring break is upon us and if you are anything like me, you are scrambling to keep kids busy with things other than video games and movies! In my hunt for the affordable (and hopefully sneaking in that somewhat educational!) entertainment in the Valley of the Sun, I have discovered a real gem! Today I took my five children (ages 2 through 12) to the Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale, AZ.

The show highlights work from over 100 artists, some local and some traveling from out of state to attend. What’s fun about a glorified outdoor art museum you might ask? Well, the coolest thing about this art exhibit is the artists are actually on site WORKING on their art! You can ask questions, see demonstrations of their technique, or just shoot the breeze about the latest trends. My kids LOVE that they can actually see the artists at work and ask questions! My youngest loved all the colors and because many of the artists enjoy bringing their pets on site, he LOVED playing with the friendly little pups resting at the foot of several of the artists. One particular artist today painted birds and could mimic a bird call so convincingly that we had to look around for a minute for the bird before we realized it was her!

Whitney Peckman was one of our favorite artists! Here she displays some of her hand sculpted and painted gourds. Amazing!

Rather than learn from art teachers who are bound by certain techniques they are required to teach, these artists have no such restrictions and they truly let their imaginations go wild with the off-the-wall techniques they’ve invented, the customized processes they’ve had to discover and the media they have developed to answer that creative call!

When we arrived home this afternoon from over 3 hours there, my kids all rushed to our art cabinet and immediately took to making their own wildly creative pieces with all their new ideas!

Looking to get inspired? This is your chance! When we arrived home this afternoon from over 3 hours there, my kids all rushed to our art cabinet and immediately took to making their own wildly creative pieces with all their new ideas!

The event runs through March 24th and is open daily from 10am to 6pm. It’s located on the SW corner of Hayden Rd. and Loop 101 (Exit 35 from the 101). Just look for the big white tents! The best part?? It’s FREE for kids under 12!!! Yes, that’s right…FREE! Adults are $10 but if you go to the 23rd Annual Celebration of Fine Art website, you can download a 2 for 1 coupon for adult tickets.

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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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Count your many blessings!…

November 22nd, 2012 12:21am

This has been a tumultuous month to be sure. In the wake of a distressing election, struggling economy, and a cataclysmic super storm, we know there are many out there struggling just to cope with seriously significant loss. Our thoughts are with all those who are in such need this season. As we struggle for understanding, the words of Spencer W. Kimball come to mind, “Being human, we would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery.”

One of my family’s favorite songs gives wise counsel…

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

"Gulp!...what are YOU thankful for Mr. Bear?"... "Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down." -Eleanor Roosevelt

As we count our blessings, perhaps we can find some way to turn our hearts from our own troubles and heal through service to others this holiday season. We have compiled a list of ways we can all help assist some of those in need by sharing our time, talents, money or even just our thoughts. We hope it can at least serve as a springboard for you and your families to assess your abilities, however large or small, to assist those that may be in dire need…

1. Donate to your local Woman’s Shelter. Don’t know where one is? Check out http://www.womenshelters.org/ which provides a listing of Women’s Shelters throughout the United States, searchable by area code, and find the nearest shelter to you. They are always in need as they struggle to help and accomodate the rising number of women and their children that are escaping truly life threatening domestic situations. Call individual shelters for information on how best to donate.

2. Help out at a local food bank. You can find opportunities at http://unitedfoodbank.org/get-involved/volunteer/

3. Don’t forget our furry friends! Animal shelters, especially “no kill” shelters, are in dire need of blankets, toys, food, special treats…these shelters struggle simply to provide care and living quarters for these often abused, neglected and abandoned pets and being able to provide a few extra comforts goes a long way in helping these animals through their recovery. Find the nearest “no kill” shelter near you at http://www.nokillnetwork.org/

4. Remember our troops! This is a favorite for my kids and an easy one for them to participate in. Help them write letters,  create artwork, or put together care packages for our men and women defending our freedoms. Here are a list of websites recommended to us by a fellow serviceman as very reliable and effective in making sure donations reach their source…
http://www.give2thetroops.org/items.htm

http://www.well-chosen-gift.com/gifts-for-troops-overseas.html

https://usowishbook.uso.org/

http://action.uso.org/action/thank-you-letter

http://www.operationgratitude.com/get-involved/write-letters/

We wish you all many blessings this holiday season and know we will all find great satisfaction and healing as we turn our hearts to others! Happy Thanksgiving!

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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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The weather is finally starting to cool down…YES! Although Arizona doesn’t often show her fall colors to just anyone, we have found a few recommendations to help you on your quest for fall! Www.azcentral.com got us started with their recommendations. But we compiled a few from our fellow hikers that we thought might interest you as well…

Let’s start with Flagstaff. The Kachina Trail is right next to Humphrey’s Peak (the highest mountain in Arizona). From Flagstaff, take U.S. 180 northwest 7 miles to Snowbowl Road. Turn north and go 7.3 miles to the large dirt parking area just outside Arizona Snowbowl. The trail begins at the south end of the parking area. The views in any direction are impressive and the Aspen forest is a joy. This is a moderately difficult hike.

Sedona has some beautiful options as well. Boynton Canyon is considered one of Sedona’s most scenic canyons and a powerful vortex site. The canyon has lush riparian vegetation, towering red sandstone formations, voodoo rock spires and an ancient Sinagua Indian cliff dwelling dating back to 1,200 A.D. The view from these ruins is stunning. The sandstone and limestone sculptures loom 1,000 feet high on both sides. At the mouth of the canyon sits Enchantment Resort!

Secret Canyon lies within the most popular area for hiking around Sedona, the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, centered around Dry Creek a few miles northwest of town. To get to the lower trailhead, take I-17 from Phoenix north to exit 278 onto highway 179. Turn left off the exit ramp and drive west into Sedona. At the “T” Intersection, turn left onto Highway 89A. After a few miles, turn right at the light onto Dry Creek Rd. and drive 2 miles to a right turn onto the unpaved Forest Road #152 at the sign for Vultee Arch (quite bumpy). Drive another 3.4 miles to the signed Secret Canyon parking area on the lefthand side. To get to the upper trailhead, take I-17 north to Flagstaff, head wes on I-40 to the first exit (Flagstaff Ranch Road, exit 192). Turn left at the bottom of the exit ramp, drive a short distance to a “T” Intersection and turn left. After a couple miles, you’ll come to a stop sign, turn right onto Woody Mountain Road (Forest Rd. #231) which becomes a well graded dirt road shortly thereafter. Drive for 13 miles, then turn right on FR #538. Another 5.5 miles will bring you to an intersection and sign pointing right for Dorsey Spring Trail (1 mile), Kelsey Spring Trial (2 miles). Turn left and remain on FR#538 until it ends at the Secret Mountain Trailhead.

Usery Mountain is located at 3939 N. Usery Pass Rd. in Mesa, Arizona. There are two trails at this area. The Pass Mountain trail circles the mountain and is 7.5 miles round trip, while the Wind Cave trail hikes up its face and is about 3 miles round trip. Most people head for the Wind Cave Trail. To get there, take McKellips east, turn north on Ellsworth (turns into Usery Pass Rd.) and follow that road to the entrance of Usery Mountain Recreation ARea. Turn right to enter. Park fees are $6.00 per car.

Perlata Trail in the Superstition Mountains is a great family-friendly hike. To get there, follow the US60 to Peralta Road which is just east of mile post 204 and turn north on Peralta Road. At 5.5 miles from US60, follow the sign and take the left fork up the hill to the Peralta Trailhead.

Fossil Springs hike is a fun hike where if you go far enough, there is a rope hanging from a tree and you can swing from it and land in the water! To get there, first get to the Strawberry area. Turn west on Route 708 (also known as Fossil Creek Road). The road is paved for 2.5 miles then becomes unpaved. Stay on FR708 to the 81.1 mile point where you will see the signed road to the trailhead to your right. Turn off on this access road which has some washouts, but can be driven by any car that has reasonable clearance. You will reach the loop parking area at 82 miles.

We hope these give you some fun family options for enjoying the cooler temperatures and hopefully give you a glimpse of Arizona’s fall! Make sure to make your child a calendar to remind them of the upcoming hiking adventures!

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Disney’s Frankenweenie Giveaway!

September 14th, 2012 10:44pm

Frankenweenie prize pack includes a movie poster, sticker pack, beanie hat and 2 TICKETS TO THE MOVIE!

Ok, we know you’re all excited about Disney’s new movie, Frankenweenie, which features the amazing storytelling expertise of Tim Burton (who you might remember from Nightmare Before Christmas) once again…and if you’re not, we assure you your kids are! We are definitely ready for some more spooky fun from Tim Burton and Disney! In fact, we’re so excited that we just had to call up Disney and get a gift pack just for you! Enter here for our giveaway and your chance to win a Frankenweenie Beanie hat, poster, sticker pack and yes, 2 TICKETS TO THE MOVIE!! We have TWO of these prize packs to give away but sadly, only one is going to get those coveted tickets. So enter soon and enter often! …And YOU could be our winner!

The movie features a young boy named Victor whose beloved dog Sparky (who stars in Victor’s homemade monster movies)  is hit by a car. Victor refuses to accept the loss of his friend and vows to bring him back. He has some curious success…but when the bolt-necked “monster” wreaks havoc on Victor’s neighbors, he has to convince them (and his parents) that despite his appearance, Sparky’s still the good loyal friend he’s always been.

This is a stop-animation version of the live action film Frankenweenie (1984) and reunites Tim Burton withWinona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara who previously worked with Burton on Beetlejuice.

You can also enter this giveaway on the PetsWeekly.com website (the only place to go for all things pet related!) who has joined us for this promotion in honor of Sparky, the faithful Frankenweenie! We have also created a custom Frankenweenie icon JUST for this movie and ONLY for the months of September and October to put on your child’s calendar as we all anticipate this upcoming event! Check it out in our image gallery and make your child’s calendar today for free!

Want to check out the latest trailer?…click here!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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What are YOU thankful for?…

November 4th, 2011 12:58am

We had lots of little goblins and ghoulies this Halloween and once again, made it all home safely with our overstuffed bags of candy! Aside from another scorpion sighting, we made it through this spooky holiday unscathed! We hope your Halloween was equally safe and full of more treats than tricks.

Looking forward to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, it is easy to start reflecting on the many blessings in our lives. In this difficult economy with financial stresses and economic woes, it is sometimes easy to forget the important things in our lives. It is equally difficult for our children to appreciate the small but important blessings in their lives. We’ve got some fun family activities that might help everyone count those most important daily blessings in our lives. Hope this gives everyone some positive family fun!…

Create a Thankful Paper Chain

Similar to a  regular paper chain (cut strips of paper and connect them together as loops) but a Thankful Paper Chain has things you are thankful for written on each paper strip. Take a moment each day of November to add chains and by Thanksgiving, you’ll have a unique reminder of the blessings in your lives! Use green and white paper and keep it up as a Christmas decoration!

Giving Thanks Placemats

The goal here is to create something that can be a reminder of each year of your childs life and the things they were most thankful for that year. Help your kids cut out pictures, draw, paste special items or photos and make a collage of all these materials. Take the completed collage to a copy shop and have it laminated! Don’t forget to put your childs name and the date on it!

Basket of Leaves

Create a small paper box and cut out leaves from different colored paper (fall colors of course!). This will be their Basket ‘O Blessings! Have your kids write something they are thankful for on each leaf and put them in each others boxes. Keep collecting leaves through the next few weeks. At Thanksgiving, have each child read through the leaves in their boxes and see if they are thankful for the same things or maybe they missed a few! It will be a good exercise for your kids to see what each of them is thankful for and how their blessings differ. Also a great opportunity for each child to anonymously tell their siblings things they are thankful for about that person…great esteem builder!

We hope this gives you some fun ideas for this Thanksgiving season!

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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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Read your tots into the holiday spirit!

November 20th, 2010 6:30pm

Our Halloween book suggestions were so popular that we wanted to follow up with some great suggestions for your little ones for Christmas time! Here are some of our favorites and a few new finds for this holiday season. Read your tots into the holiday spirit and bring some of the magic of great stories into your home!…

“Night Tree” by Eve Bunting
This book was a new find for us this year. With great illustrations by Ted Rand, this story gives an account of a families tradition of venturing out into the woods to find “their tree” which they then decorate with popcorn strings, apples and other fun edibles. They drink hot cocoa and sing songs around the tree before heading in for the evening. The kids dream of the many animals that have Christmas dinner around their tree.

“Room for a Little One” by Martin Waddell
Brilliantly illustrated by Jason Cockcroft, this short but very touching tale gives the story of the first Christmas from the animals perspective as they each make room for a new “little one” this very special night. As the Kind Ox maintains throughout the story, “there’s always room for a little one here”.

“The Legend of the Christmas Tree” by Rick Osborne
If your little ones have ever wondered why we have Christmas Trees, this small board book adapted by Pat Matuszak and illustrated by Bill Dodge gives an account of how the evergreen tree became a symbol of Christmas as well as a way to tell people about God.

“Merry Creature Christmas” by Dandi Daley Mackall
It’s Christmas Eve, and all the animals in the forest are decorating the trees, hanging icicles, and building a nativity to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But Star, a wild colt, is too joyful to be still and decides to wake up Big Bear! Soon all the animals are dancing together on the night of the Creature Christmas! A very fun book that has an accompanying narrative and great rhyming cadence for your little ones!

“Santa’s First Flight” by Sam Beeson
This is a very fun spin on the traditional night before Christmas which takes place during Santa’s first year, when he traveled by penguin, and not by reindeer! Playfully and richly illustrated by Tom Tolman, this story will have your kiddo’s giggling at Santa’s crazy penguin crew that helped set the tone for the first Christmas sleigh ride and create the true spirit of Christmas!

We have many more suggestions for you but these are a few of our favorites to get you started! Check back for more suggestions and we would love to hear from our readers about some of their favorite books! Send your suggestions to info@mytimecalendars.com with subject “Christmas Books for Tots” and maybe some of your favorites will work their way into our next post!

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Fun Halloween reading with your child…

October 7th, 2010 4:00pm

Looking for some fun books to help your little ones get in the spirit of the Halloween season? We’ve got some great pics for you! Check out some of our recommended reading for this upcoming holiday and share the adventure of a new book with your child!…

Scaredy Mouse By Alan MacDonald and Tim Warnes

This book follows the story of a “small mouse, a scared mouse, a stay-at-home mouse” as he gains courage from his big sister to venture out into the scary territory of “the big ginger cat with green eyes”  in search of a special chocolate treat. Your kids will love this cute adventure as he “runs this way and that, harum-scarum, round and back” on his way to becoming a “bold-as-a-lion mouse”! The clever illustrations and misunderstandings as Squeek tries to understand the world around him are truly priceless and will have your kids giggling as he overcomes his fear of the unknown with the help of his sister.

Disney’s Scary Storybook Collection

This book is a treasure trove of 5 minute Halloween spins on traditional Disney stories. If you’re kids are even remotely fans of Disney’s arsenal of creative characters, they will love seeing their heroes and villains figure out their Halloween fears with humor and wit! Each story is only about 5 minutes long, making this a favorite bedtime choice for my kids since each one can pick out their own story and we can fly through them before bedtime with no trouble at all! The illustrations are of course first rate (after all, it’s DISNEY!) and are in several different styles appropriate to the stories and characters they are depicting.

John Pig’s Halloween by Jan L. Waldron and illustrated by David McPhail

This is by far our favorite pick of the season! We have read it so many times, it has now become a memorized favorite! The rhyming cadence of the story lends itself well to a singsong story telling adventure! David McPhail’s incredible water color illustrations truly capture the imagination and the excitement of the story. Follow John Pig as he decides he’s too scared to go out trick or treating with his friends and instead commits to “sit in the shadows, with no costume on”. But he gets a spooky fun surprise when a witch arrives at his door and decides to teach him what Halloween is all about! She invites her ghoulish friends and shows John some “tricks” for his “treats” as they whip up a monster bash not to be forgotten! You be the judge whether John missed out on trick or treating or whether his friends missed out on staying at home!

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