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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúman-powered‚ÄĚ 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 ‚ÄúStudent Days‚ÄĚ 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 ‚ÄúRenaissance in the Southwest 2016 Essay Contest‚ÄĚ! 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‚Äôt let you bring coolers or any large items.
  • It‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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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April flowers bring May…showers?

May 16th, 2015 6:47pm

If you live in Arizona, this line holds very true this year! Our showers came a bit late but boy did they come! We dropped from the triple digits to the high 50’s in a single day! But if you’ve lived in Arizona for more than a year, you know very well that this cool weather is a late season tease with triple digit temperatures just over the horizon! So what comes with lots of moisture followed by extremely warm temperatures?…yup! Prepare for the onslaught of the mosquito invasion!

Now typically, I’d be reaching for my store bought bug spray. But over the last few years, I have become more and more hesitant to slather myself or my children in chemical that boasts warning labels like HAZARDOUS TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS¬†and CAUSES SUBSTANTIAL BUT TEMPORARY EYE INJURY and my favorite, WASH HANDS THOROUGHLY WITH SOAP AND WATER AFTER HANDLING! …and that was the DEET FREE “PLANT-BASED” bug spray!!!! Seriously?? And they’re somehow still encouraging us to spray this all over ourselves and our children??¬†So I started looking for a safer alternative that I could use without concern on both me and my children. Enter essential oils!

I personally use doTERRA’s TerraShield blend which is specifically formulated to repel those nasty little buggers that are out to get you! It is all natural, causes no skin irritation, smells wonderful and works amazingly well! A few drops applied directly to the skin or clothing will work well for about 4-6 hours! This is not the only oil that works well as a natural bug repellent. Peppermint is also very powerful and makes a great all natural bug repellent to spray directly on your plants!

Here is a homemade spray incorporating several essential oils known to repel various kinds of bugs as well as the very powerful blend, TerraShield, that has been working wonderfully for my family! It smells amazing, works incredibly effeciently at keeping all kinds of pesky buggies away and is not greasy! I make it ahead of time and keep it on hand throughout the bug season.

Don't want to spray chemical on your kids to keep those bugs away? Then make your own all natural bug spray!

Don’t want to spray chemical on your kids to keep those bugs away? Then make your own all natural bug spray!

 

 

4 TB water

2 TB witch hazel

4 drops of Thyme Essential Oil

4 drops of Lemongrass Essential Oil

4 drops of Lavender Essential Oil

4 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil

8 drops of TerraSheild Essential Oil Blend

Combine in a 6 oz spray bottle and keep handy throughout the season. I can even get this recipe into a 4oz spray bottle that I keep in my purse for when we’re out and about!

Want to know more about essential oils? Check out www.wiseandhealthyliving.com. If you would like to purchase these oils, visit www.mydoterra.com/theessentialhome or contact jennifer@wiseandhealthyliving.com.

 

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Do your kids struggle with focus?

October 23rd, 2014 1:44am

Do your kiddos struggle with focusing in school? Do they have a difficult time paying attention in class? Struggle with nervous ticks or fidgeting? Does your child sit on the spectrum of autism with just enough functionality to not qualify for assistance? If you have ever watched your kids struggle with teachers because of behavior issues such as these, then I would like to introduce you to your new best friend…DoTerra’s InTune Essential Oil Blend!

This oil is a combination of Amyris Bark, Patchoili Leaf, Frankincense Resin, Lime Peel, Ylang Ylang Flower, Hawaiian Sandalwood Wood, and Roman Chamomile Flower. These oils have been carefully chosen for their ability to enhance focus and support healthy thought processes. THIS IS NOT A DRUG! This is a natural way, no matter your age, to stay focused on the task at hand and support your efforts to remain calm, pay attention and sustain focus.

This oil can be used aromatically or topically to produce results. I have used this oil on myself as well as my kiddos before testing, when we have a particularly tough concept we are trying to learn in school and when we are studying. It can be applied to the bottoms of the feet and/or back of the neck as well as diffused in the room and can be equally effective in either application.

Before you dismiss this as “hippie stuff”, I would like to share a personal experience with this oil. I was assisting a kindergartener with their reading. This particular little girl was seriously struggling with focus. She could not remain on task for more than a few minutes. Her teacher had tried to get her assistance but she was just functional enough to not warrant that extra help she so needed from the district. We worked together as best we could for several months with little effect. I was lucky if I got 5-10 minutes of productivity out of her. So one morning, I brought in a piece of cotton that I had put a few drops of InTune on. I placed it on the table while we were working. She commented how much she loved the smell. We worked together for 45 MINUTES! She was on task, focused and interacting with me at every turn. I was ecstatic! Her teacher was shocked and could not believe we had been so productive for so long! Needless to say, this cotton InTune “diffuser” became a very productive habit for us!

If you would like to know more about Essential Oils or this oil in particular, contact me at jennifer@wiseandhealthyliving.com for more information. I teach classes on using oils in the classroom and at home safely and effectively and would be happy to set you on a safer, more natural path of greater productivity and success for your children!

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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‚Äôs 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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School has started and we’re sure you have many activities, lessons, practices, etc. that you have marked on your calendars. But just in case your little one’s schedule is not as full as they were hoping, we thought we’d give you a few more ideas for some August dates you might not have thought of!…

1 National Raspberry Cream Pie Day

2 National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

3 National Mustard Day first Saturday

3 National Watermelon Day

4 Friendship Day РFirst Sunday in August

4 International Forgiveness Day РFirst Sunday in August

4 Sisters Day РFirst Sunday in August

4 U.S. Coast Guard Day

5 Work Like a Dog Day

6 Wiggle Your Toes Day

7 National Lighthouse Day

8¬†Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day –¬†now that’s nasty!

9¬†Book Lover’s Day

10 Lazy Day

10¬†National S’mores Day

11 Presidential Joke Day

11 Son and Daughter Day

12¬†Middle Child’s Day

13¬†Chinese Valentine’s Day/Daughter’s Day – 7th day of 7th Lunar Month

13¬†Left Hander’s Day

14 National Creamsicle Day

14/15 V-J Day Рwhich date do you mark the end of WWII?

15¬†Relaxation Day – now this one’s for me!

16 National Tell a Joke Day

17 National Thriftshop Day

18 Bad Poetry Day

19 Aviation Day

20 National Radio Day

21¬†Senior Citizen’s Day

22 Be an Angel Day

22 National Tooth Fairy Day Рand/or February 28

23 Ride the Wind Day

24 Vesuvius Day

25 Kiss and Make Up Day

26 National Dog Day

26¬†Women’s Equality Day

27 Global Forgiveness Day

27 Just Because Day

28¬†Race Your Mouse Day -but we are not sure what kind of “mouse”

29 More Herbs, Less Salt Day

30 Frankenstein Day

30 Toasted Marshmallow Day

31 National Trail Mix Day

And if that weren’t enough, you might also be interested to know that August is the…

  • Admit You’re Happy Month
  • Family Fun Month
  • National Catfish Month
  • National Eye Exam Month
  • National Golf¬†Month
  • Peach Month
  • Romance Awareness Month
  • Water Quality Month
  • National Picnic Month

And if that STILL isn’t enough for ya, you might also be interested to know that each week in August commemorates it’s own special something as well!…

  • Week 1 National Simplify your Life Week
  • Week 2 National Smile Week
  • Week 3 Friendship Week
  • Week 4 Be Kind to Humankind Week

Now that we got ya started, hop on over to our “Create Your Own Calendar” page and get going! We’ve got lots to do in August!

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