7 Tips for Summer Fun at Wet ‘N Wild Phoenix

Summer is here!  And in Arizona that means staying cool.  Though the sun is harsh (and I mean HARSH) one of our favorite places to cool off and have some fun is Wet ‘N Wild in Phoenix.  The water park is situated on approximately 35 acres and we can easily spend a whole day here.  Here are 7 tips to ensure a great time, some are no brainers, while others took me a while to figure out.

Water Park Tips in Phoenix

1. HYDRATE.  I know this one is obvious.  But a reminder doesn’t hurt.  Drink water, bring water, buy water…whatever you need to do to stay safe and hydrated.  The temperatures reach insane numbers here (today was 106) and it’s no joke.  They have refillable cups you can purchase in the park, which is nice, convenient and budget minded! Make sure you are drinking water, too, though.

2. PICK A SPOT.  Put some towels down and grab some pool chairs.  Make this your command center and meeting spot.  There are tons of areas in the park and lots of chairs but I suggest picking your spot as soon as you arrive.  Make sure your kids stop and look around for a moment to really recognize where it is. The excitement can take over but they need to really pay attention.

3.  BARE MINIMUM.  Wet ‘N Wild has lockers for rent so if you must bring stuff in, I highly recommend a locker rental.  I prefer to go empty handed into the park, though.  We bring the bare minimum.  I bring a backpack but anything I bring in isn’t anything we’d miss if it gets lost or stolen.

4. WATER SHOES.  The ground is hot.  Again, the temps here get high.  Flip flops or sandals are a great option but leaving them at the bottom of each ride or next to the ride is a pain.  There’s cubbies for shoes all around the park but if you wear water shoes it’s one less thing to worry about.  Invest in some water shoes, especially for your kids.

5. GET STAMPED. Wet ‘N Wild stays open late over the summer, especially on the weekends! Young kids might get tired but you don’t have stay all day.  You can leave the park and get a stamp to return the same day.  This is great if your kiddos nap or need a break.  You can return later in the day without over doing it.

6. SAFETY.  Make sure you and your family follow the rules of the park.  They are there to ensure everyone is safe and has a great time.  Be careful and don’t run!

7.  SUN BLOCK.  Bring it with you and if you forget it bite the bullet and purchase in the park. Apply often throughout the day.  I know I have already mentioned it above…multiple times,  the sun is cruel here.  Even if you think you’re protected, reapply!

Check out the rides, attractions and food.  Falling Mammoth is one of my kids’ favorites and Constrictor is a close second.  I am partial to the new Barefootin’ Bay (which is perfect for younger kids) and the  Cactus Cooler Roaring River aka The Lazy River.  There’s not one attraction or ride the kids don’t like.  Truly, the park is full of fun and has something for everyone from the dare devil adventurous type to the more reserved looking for relaxation.  Have fun!

Vegan Pudding Recipe

In truth, when our teenage daughter told us nearly 3 years ago she was vegan, I thought it was a phase.  I was wrong. We fully support her decision, she’s happy and healthy.  This recipe is great for breakfast or, if you add the option sweetness, a nice treat.

veganpudding

Vegan Chia Pudding with Fruit Topping

½ cup almond, soy or coconut milk

3 Tablespoon Chia seeds

¼ cup fresh fruit chopped

optional topping- agave nectar or honey

 

Makes 1 serving.

Mix chia seeds and milk alternative in a mason jar or cup.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The chia seeds will plump and create a pudding like texture.  Top the pudding with cut fruit and serve cold.  For extra sweetness, drizzle agave nectar or honey on top of the fruit.

 

 

5 Summer Must Haves With Oriental Trading

Summer is in full swing and the heat means pool parties here in Arizona! We love throwing full blown parties but small gatherings are a blast, too.  With smaller parties the pressure isn’t as great and safety is easier to maintain. Either way, Oriental Trading is the place to go for all my summer fun needs.

Top 5 Summer Must Haves:

  1. Water Guns: There are tons of options and sizes to choose from and these are great with or without a pool!otsummer
  2. Cooler: Keep drinks cold when your are hosting guests outside. otsummer3
  3. Pool Noodles: Classic or inflatable, pool noodles are fun for everyone.otsummer2
  4. Water Slide: All you need is a hose and some space to use this fun summer item!otsummer4
  5. Water Bottle: It’s very important to stay hydrated, especially in the summer heat.otsummer5

Oriental Trading has all my must haves for summer and more.  What are your must haves for summer and pool parties?

Arizona Renaissance Festival Tips

I was provided with complementary tickets to the festival.  All opinions, as always, are my own.

Every year, around my son’s birthday, the Renaissance Festival comes to Arizona.  I was never able to go when I was younger but since having my own kids, I make a point to go each year.  The kids always have a blast but this place is great for adults, too!  This year I was lucky enough to go twice! Once on a date with my husband and another trip included the kids.

Arizona Renaissance Festival

The Arizona Renaissance Festival never disappoints and it’s one of the highlights of our year.  There’s only two weeks left for this year and I highly recommend you check it out.  Here’s a few tips from my family to yours, to ensure the best time possible!

 

1. Bring cash.  Sure there are ATMs but it makes the trip smoother if you prepare ahead and bring cash.  Don’t worry, if you need to grab cash, ATMs are pretty easy to locate both inside and outside the entrance.

2. Dress Up.  My kids love any chance to dress up and why not?  We have a box of dress up gear and helped them pick themed appropriate pieces but the certainly don’t have to be historically accurate!  My older boy wanted to wear Pokemon pieces that resembled a dragon. The employees are always extra fun when you are dressed up.

Arizona Festival

3.Timing.  I know my kids won’t last the whole day at the festival so I’ve learned the best time for us to go is in the afternoon.  That way we are there at the end for the Joust to the Death.  It’s one of our favorite things to see, the show is such fun and higher energy than the others throughout the day. This timing works for us, but take a look online to see what might work for you.

4. Wear sunscreen and comfy shoes.  The festival is 30 acres packed full with rides, food, stages/shows, crafts, jousting, mermaids and more!  Make sure you are wearing comfy shoes so you can enjoy your time exploring.  The festival is outdoors (though you can certainly find relief form the sun in one of the shaded areas) so sunscreen is another must.

Holiday Drink: Cranberry Tequila Fizz

The holidays means time with family and friends and I love experimenting with spirits.  A delicious and unique signature cocktail recipe can really elevate a casual holiday gathering and make for a fun conversation topic.

This cocktail uses classic holiday flavors like ginger and cranberries with a tequila twist.  It’s a simple process (a shaker or mason jar will do) with a big wow factor.

Easy Holiday Drink

Cranberry Tequila Fizz

1 Tbsp Cranberry Sauce

1.5 oz Tequila

4 oz Ginger Ale

Shake cranberry sauce and tequila together (in a shaker or mason jar).  Pour mixture over ice and top with ginger ale.

 

You can prepare these in advance but these are easy enough to make as needed, too.  Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Olive Oil Bread Dip

Bread. Oh, delicious, bread.  Plain, buttered, toasted or dipped. I’m a fan of it all.  This easy dip is similar to those you’d find when dining out at an Italian restaurant.  I am so excited to share this recipe using these ingredients to create a perfectly balanced olive oil dip recipe.  I received this product free from Moms Meet, May Media Group LLC, who received the product directly from the manufacturer.  As a Moms Meet Blogger I agreed to try this product and share my opinions (which, are, as always, 100% my own).

Olive Oil Dip

Farchioni olive oil has just a hint of a fruity, yet delicate, taste because it is a European EVOO, which works perfectly with the other ingredients in this recipe.  By using the best ingredients, like Farchioni extra virgin olive oil and freshly cracked pepper, you can create a nice appetizer at home.

Olive Garden Dip Recipe

Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves of garlic (minced)

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Mix ingredients well in a small bowl or ramekin.  Serve with cubed bread pieces (Italian or French bread, something with a nice crust).

This recipe can be modified depending on your taste.  I prefer more red pepper flakes, but my kids don’t like the extra kick.  It’s an easy enough recipe that I can happily make two batches!

 

Party Favors People Actually WANT!

I love parties.  Hosting, planning, decorating and celebrating!  Party favors are not a necessity but I love thanking our guests with a little something before they leave.  And the best kind of thank you is edible, if you ask me!

I have fallen victim to the little toys and the candy,  and don’t get me wrong, kids love those kind of favors, too.  But adults and kids love food.  Food that fits your party theme is an even bigger hit.  Which is why Cierra’s Bake Shoppe is the perfect place to get cookies for your guests.  You can serve themed cookies during the actual party, too, which is also a huge hit.  And then offer guests a packaged cookie as they leave!

Party Favors

At our ocean themed pool party over the summer we had sunglasses, fish, turtles and more.  The guests raved over how cute they were but loved the taste even more!!  Then, after the party we handed out the big pineapples (which a friend pointed out would be perfect for a Sponge Bob party!).  Cierra’s Bake Shoppe packaged them up for us, I didn’t need to do a thing!! They can even deliver (depending on location and order).

Ocean and Beach Themed Cookies

You might think offering these kinds of favors will be too pricey or more expensive than little toys and candy, but the truth is, Cierra’s Bake Shoppe is so affordable.   You can find them at Momma’s Organic Market on Saturdays or online and taste the delicious baked goods!  You can order custom cookies   They just revealed a new Pokemon cookie, too! Perfect for your little (or big) Pokemon fans.

Whether you are planning a party or just want some cute and tasty cookies, I definitely recommend Cierra’s Bake Shoppe!  The kids and parents love them!

DIY Ocean Themed Under the Sea Party Decorations

Party themes are so much fun, plus they help me focus while planning.  I’ve seen many variations of Ocean themed parties, like:

Mermaid Party

Under The Sea (or One-der the Sea for those first birthdays)

Beach or Pool Party

Sea Creature Party Decorations

These easy DIY decorations are not only inexpensive, they are fun, too!  I used these decorations in the entryway, so guests would see them as soon as you walk in and on an empty wall in the dining room.  It helped tie the theme together and use budget-friendly decorations.

You Will Need:

Tape

Construction Paper

Green Crepe Paper

I looked up some sea creatures online and did a rough sketch on construction paper.  You can always trace the outlines to make it even easier!  I did a few kinds of creatures in a couple different sizes and cut them out of construction paper in all different colors.  Once I was satisfied with the number of animals, I started taping them up to the areas I planned to decorate.

Next I ripped (you can cut if you prefer a neater look) strands of crepe paper.  I measured by eye decided approximately where I wanted the ‘seaweed’ to go.  I placed each strand by taping the bottom down near the floor board and loosely twisting.  I secure the top with another piece of tape.

Sea Party Decorations

Make sure to take a step back to admire your work.  You may want to move some creatures to get the desired look.  You may, like me, decide you want more sea creatures and add them after. Either way, it’s a nice addition to any ocean/sea themed party.  One of our little guests exclaimed “It’s like the inside of an aquarium!” when she arrived.  Precisely.

 

 

Disneyland Vacation (Tips and Tricks)

We love to travel.  The travel bug caught me at a young age and my kiddos are no different. So a while back, we started saving for a debt free (no credit card) trip to Disneyland.  Many gift cards and monthly deposits later we were ready.  We set off on our road trip for four nights and three days in the parks.  Hopefully, you follow along on Instagram for up to date pictures and tips!

Disneyland Tips

 

 

If you’ve been around a while, you know we started saving for a debt free (no credit card) trip to Disneyland.  Many gift cards and monthly deposits later we were ready.  We set off on our road trip for four nights and three days in the parks.  Hopefully, you follow along on Instagram for up to date pictures and tips!

 

Food

We definitely went on a budget vacation but I tend to like to splurge a bit when it comes to trips.  In this case, splurging met character dining and restaurant reservations in the park.  Eating in the parks can really add up but it was so worth it.  Each restaurant was pretty accommodating when it came to my little vegan so don’t worry too much about dietary restrictions.  We did research before arriving but don’t be afraid to ask!

Disneyland Food

Tip: Make a late dinner reservation at the Carnation Cafe for right around when the evening parade starts.  They don’t allow people to stand in front of the patio so the view is pretty nice and being able to avoid the crowds made it a fabulous experience for us all.

Souvenirs

We gave each kiddo a budget for souvenirs (using gift cards we’d been given throughout the year) and let them shop on the last day.  In addition to their own gift cards, I picked up some Disney items on sale, like this lightsaber, and brought them along, hidden in my suitcase.  Each day the kids found these little souvenirs in our hotel room. We also tried our hand at pin trading.

Tip: I picked up some Disney pins online (be careful of fakes or scrapers, but you can find great deals online) and the kids loved finding pin boards in shops and restaurants.  We purchased some mystery pins in the park, too, and traded between ourselves.  I highly recommend this activity; pin trading was a really fun experience!

Hotel

Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel

We stayed at a wonderful Good Neighbor hotel within walking distance, Hotel Menage.  It isn’t right across the street but it is down the street and the price is so reasonable.  Accommodations were clean and friendly and the view of the Disneyland fireworks is one of the best aspects of this hotel.  If the walk proves too much (I mean Disneyland is ALL about walking) Hotel Menage is right on the ART line, in fact, it was the last stop on the way to Disneyland, making it super fast to get to the park.  My husband and I agree, we’d definitely stay at this hotel near Disneyland again!

Tip: Hotel Menage has a 24 hour pool (that is heated at night) which is the perfect way to end a long day of traveling!

 

The kids are still talking about all the amazing things they say and experienced on our fun adventure.  I’m so glad we were able to take them and have zero debt involved.  Disneyland can be pricey but with a plan and a budget you can make it work and make some amazing memories.

Vegan Chocolate Cookies

Healthy Vegan Cookies

My teenager recently became vegan.  While the rest of our home remains omnivores (with a love for meat), I still make sure she’s able to enjoy dessert and special treats as much as possible.  My husband called me the other night while I was at a meeting at the kids’ school and asked what, if anything, was for dessert?  I had pudding ready to go for the boys, but was stumped at what to offer our little vegan.  I joked with my husband, “Name a dessert without dairy?  I dare you!”.  It is tougher than you think!  With a bit of playing around, I came up with this recipe using substitutes for the dairy, sugar and eggs in most cookie recipes.

 

Avocado Vegan Cookies

What You Will Need:

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Vegan Chocolate Cookies
Course Dessert
Servings
Course Dessert
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1 avocado, peeled and mashed well

1/2- 1 cup agave nectar (or honey) depending on taste and how sweet you want these

1 tsp baking soda mixed with 1 tbsp of white vinegar  (this is an egg substitute)

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup (or MORE!) vegan chocolate chips

1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix mashed avocado, agave nectar (these won’t be very sweet unless you add the full cup and even then they are still semi-sweet) and egg substitute (1 tsp baking soda and 1 tbsp vinegar).

Add cocoa powder and baking soda.

Lastly, add those chocolate chips.

Spoon dough onto parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Vegan Chocolate Cookies