Epic Kids, January 2022

Page 1


January 2020


Foster Care Program Supports Families.

Vol. 1 • No. 1



12-year-old Jimi “Monty” Hernandez off to college.

The Scharnweber Family JANUARY 2022


EPIC KIDS Reporters Program


ntroducing the Epic Kids Reporters Program, where aspiring young journalists can write for Epic Kids.

Throughout the school year, Epic Kids Reporters cover issues and topics that matter most to them and their peers, including breaking news, current events, sports, entertainment, school clubs, and kid profiles. Their stories will appear in both print and digital editions of Epic Kids. The resulting news clips are invaluable in growing and developing a portfolio of published work that can help students get scholarships and future educational opportunities.

To be considered for this FREE program, students should be between the ages of 8-14 and have a parent’s approval. Please email hello@epickidsaz.com to get started. 2 | JANUARY 2022 | EPIC KIDS



XTREME GYMNASTICS Ages 6 months - 16 years

Get In Touch:

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Beginner to Competitive Boys & Girls » Ages 3-12 years

Submissions and suggestions: Press Releases: Submit press releases via email to hello@epickidsaz.com.

Events Calendar: Submit press releases or event descriptions to hello@epickidsaz.com. Be sure to include event title, date, time, place, cost, and details including contact number or website. The deadline for the February issue is February 1.

For Advertising:

Contact the sales department by phone at 888-313-7916 or by email at advertising@egpublishing.com.

Where to Find Us:

Epic Kids is distributed each month directly into the backpacks of children in K-8 charter and private schools. You can also find us placed in racks where kids and their families are out and about. To see a full list of locations, visit our website.

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Natasha & Brian Beal / Publishers Sondra Barr / Editor Shannon Carrillo / Production & Design Erica Odello / Ad Design

EPICKIDSAZ.COM This newspaper is recyclable, biodegradable and contains recycled materials. Copyright 2022. All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be printed or reproduced without the publication’s permission. EG Publishing assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material.



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H e a d li n e rs


Gifted 12-year-old accepted to Arizona State University.


n a few months, Jimi Hernandez will graduate from Skyline High School. The young boy, who goes by “Monty,” just turned 12 earlier this month and will be heading to college in the fall. Accepted to both Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University when he was only 11, Monty plans to major in biochemistry, followed by graduate school, and then medical school. Diagnosed with seizure disorder, autism, and severe combined type ADHD when he was young, Monty also struggled with physical limitations due to a heart condition. His mom Danielle noticed he was gifted around his first birthday. “He would see what he wanted and plan how to get it, whether it was stacking things to climb or trying to unlock cabinets. He had a goal,” she says. Monty recently took time to

Monty with his mom and two of three sisters, Shelby and Sophie. Ages 15 and 13, both girls are members of Mensa, an exclusive organization for highly intelligent people. 4 | JANUARY 2022 | EPIC KIDS

share insight into his goals and educational journey with Epic Kids. How old were you when you entered high school? I was 9 years old when I started ninth grade. I was 10 years old when I started taking classes at the junior college in our town. When did you realize you were more gifted than the majority of kids your age? I really did not know I was gifted. I knew that I was bored in class and wanted to be in more advanced classes. It made me feel bored and frustrated to sit in an elementary school class all day. I really didn't have friends because I was not interested in the same things as they were. I also felt like I knew the material being taught. What have been some of the pros and cons of being younger than your peers in school?

The students in my classes are much older and help to look out for me. They are able to work on group projects and understand the topic and add facts that are new to me. The cons are that I cannot go to their houses or hang out with them, as it is not appropriate. They are driving, dating, playing school sports, and have jobs. I did go to my homecoming dance this year and was so bored! The older kids only danced. No games or food were there! I called my mom to pick me up early. So the con is that I am socially awkward or don't fit in. What subjects do you enjoy the most, and the least? My favorite subjects are math and science. I am taking dual enrolled physics and pre-calculus now. My least liked subject is English! My mind is all over the place with thoughts. Sometimes I think out of order, or I type slower than my mind thinks, so I miss pieces of information that an English essay would require. You want to become a pediatric neurologist. What about that profession appeals to you? I really just want to help kids. I want them to experience life as they should without limitations. I am 2e, which means twice exceptional. I am gifted, but I also have a disability and need support to reach my potential. I understand what it is like to feel frustrated when you know that you want to do something, but your mind or body limits you.

Jimi "Monty" Hernandez was accepted to ASU at 11 years old. What are you looking forward to the most, and the least, as you enter ASU in the fall? I am looking forward to every second I am there! I am excited to be on such a great campus with such great people. I am excited to attend lectures and participate in lab. I am not looking forward to my exams. I am actually a little bit afraid of how difficult they may be. What advice would you give to other kids to help them reach their goals? I would tell other kids to study so that they have the knowledge to reach their goals. Practice your skill and never give up. I have had failure as well. I have made mistakes. I have even failed a test! I just keep on studying and practicing. EPICKIDSAZ.COM

Gi vi ng B a c k

Chandler Girl Scout Helps Youth Discover Skating

By Justin Liggin hen 15-year-old Chandler resident Maria Gonzalez isn’t on the ice practicing for her next figure skating competition, she is out in the community making a difference. By combining her passion for helping others with her love for figure skating, this Girl Scout has become a change maker, inspiring youth to find their footing on the ice and to pursue new physical activities through her project that earned her the highest honor in Girl Scouting, a Gold Award. “Being a competitive figure skater for 10 years, I felt compelled to take action and address the issue of physical inactivity of the youth in my community,” says Maria, a Hamilton High School student. The first part of her efforts to address this issue were through her Skate for Fitness instructional event at Ice Den Chandler, a place she frequents regularly for practice. The event started with a free 20-minute lesson where almost 70 children were able to learn the basics of figure skating like how to start and stop on skates. “I wanted to create an environment where kids could ask questions and receive direct instruction from the coaches that have helped me improve my abilities as well,” says Maria. Shortly after the lesson, she gave a 10-minute speech highlighting the importance of her Gold Award project, introducing all the skating coaches that volunteered and shared her experiences as a competitive figure skater. The event finished with a bang, as 10 of the


Maria helped youth learn the basics of figure skating


Maria Gonzalez earned the highest honor in Girl Scouting, a Gold Award.

volunteers put on an exhibition for attendees, skating their competitive programs and introducing new styles of skating to the crowd. Another element of Gonzalez’s project was her blog, skateforfitness.net, a site dedicated to answering unique skating questions and addressing the health benefits the sport of figure skating has to offer. “Because my project was all about education, it was important to me that I created a place where people could visit and learn something they didn’t know before, whether it was about buying your first pair of skates or the benefits the sport has on our health,” says Maria. As for other Girl Scouts who are looking to take on their Gold Award project, Maria suggests sticking with what you love. “I would advise Girl Scouts to pick a topic they are truly passionate about! That way even if they encounter roadblocks, they will be able to push through and continue on with a project they care about that will also make a difference.”

Nurture their Inner Musician Phoenix • Scottsdale In Person or Online www.musictogetherinphx.com (602) 363-8202


Fit K i ds

The Deck of Cards Challenge By Linkan Marler hope you had a great holiday season and that you’re ready to dominate your goals in 2022.


I’ll be trying out for football this year and need to increase my strength. This month’s challenge will help anyone looking to get

you will have done 440 pushups. Another variation is to do push-ups on the red cards For this challenge, all you need is a deck of cards, some water to (hearts and diamonds) and stay hydrated, and enough room squats on the black cards (clubs to do push-ups. Push-ups are an and spades). You can get as excellent exercise to strengthen creative as you want with this, or your core, chest, shoulders, and just keep it simple. triceps. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t complete the entire deck. Keep The Process practicing and you’ll get better. Shuffle the deck of cards and place them face down in front of you. Next, draw the top card from the deck and place it face up. The number that is showing will tell you how many push-ups to complete. Face cards (king, queen, jack) are worth 10, aces are worth 15, and the joker cards are worth 20. For example, if the card is a 6, you would complete six push-ups. Continue to draw the cards and do the number of push-ups needed until you complete the whole deck. stronger––both mentally and physically.

There are 52 cards in the deck and two jokers. If you’re able to complete the entire challenge,

Linkan Marler is a 12-year-old fitness enthusiast.

How to Do a Push-Up Get on the floor on all fours, positioning your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Don't lock out the elbows; keep them slightly bent. Extend your legs back so you are balanced on your hands and toes, your feet hip-width apart. 1. Contract your abs and tighten your core by pulling your belly button toward your spine. 2. Inhale as you slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself to the floor, until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. 3. Exhale while contracting your chest muscles and pushing back up through your hands, returning to the start position. Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe without sagging in the middle or arching your back. Correction: Epic Kids strives for accuracy and is pledged to bring errors that appear in our publication to the attention of our readers. In our December issue, on page 8, we incorrectly identified organist Glenn Tallar in photos. This error has been fixed in the online edition. 6 | JANUARY 2022 | EPIC KIDS


H e a d li n e rs

Sweet Treats

Ella with a cake she baked.

Ella Rutherford whips up tasty desserts.


he kitchen is where 12-year-old Ella Rutherford shines. The ASU Prep Digital sixth grader enjoys creating inventive desserts for Ella’s Sweet Treats, a persona she created on Instagram with the help of her mom. “Ella has always loved being in the kitchen with me since she was able to stand on a chair and help me,” says her mom Megan Rutherford. “I picked up my love of baking from my grandma, so baking was always something happening in our house.” Although she doesn’t have an official website to sell her tasty creations yet, you can reach out to place an order via Ella’s Instagram page @ellas_sweettreats, which Megan monitors. Epic Kids recently chatted with the young baking whiz to learn more about what this chef in training has cooking. How old were you when you first picked up a spoon to start baking? I don't remember an exact age, but I know I was little, because I had to stand on chairs to help my mom at the counter. The reason I started was because my mom really likes to bake, and I also picked up the love for baking. It's something that brings me a lot of joy! What was the first thing you baked? I think the first thing I baked all by myself was a chocolate chip cookie cake. It actually turned out really good, but it was pretty simple. What are your favorite sweet treats to make and what has been your favorite creation so far? My favorite sweet treats to make are definitely my macarons! It's fun to come up with different flavors. My favorite creation that I've made is my mint Oreo striped cake. It was a new flavor and it turned out amazing. The striped cake was also my best one yet, so I was very pleased with how it looked as well. What do you enjoy about baking? I love being able to be creative and decorate, especially the decorating part! EPICKIDSAZ.COM

What’s the key to making a successful sweet treat? For the baking part, it would definitely be making sure you're following the directions, baking is a science! The other key would be to take your time, and not be too hard on yourself if you mess up. It normally turns out great in the end. What are some of the challenges you encounter baking? One challenge would be that not everything turns out, and you have to redo recipes––especially with macarons. They are very temperamental, and they have so many parts that can go wrong and ruin the whole batch. Another challenge would be sometimes you have to improvise when it comes to decorating. The idea you have in your head may not work on the actual cake, so you just have to play around with things. Where did the idea for Ella’s Sweet Treats come from? The idea for Ella's Sweet Treats is just a name I came up with when I was wanting a name for a future bakery, and it just stuck. I have done a few orders, but a lot of what I do right now is baking for family and friends.

Colorful cupcakes made by Ella.

What do you hope to accomplish with Ella’s Sweet Treats? I hope to accomplish taking on more orders and creating a small business! What are your future goals? My future goals are making it on The Kids Baking Challenge, then graduating high school, going to pastry school (hopefully in France!), and opening my own bakery! What advice would you give to a kid who wants to start baking? My advice would be to just start baking. Start small and work your way up. Watch a lot of videos that teach different techniques and let your creativity flow.

Ella's favorite creation to date was this mint Oreo striped cake. EPIC KIDS | JANUARY 2022 | 7

H e a d li n e rs

HANDCRAFTED: Daughter inspires unique Etsy products Megan Gladney and her daughter create handcrafted gifts.


ith her daughter as her tester, Megan Gladney creates one-of-akind personalized children’s gifts and decor.

Megan’s hand-crafted items have developed quite the following and even attracted the attention of celebrities, including Chrissy Teigen. “She happened to be in town for a few days and reached out to me. I dropped From personalized crayons, barrettes, pom all of my orders and went to work to match pom garlands, and DIY paint kits, Megan the pastel theme Luna (Chrissy’s daughter) sells these handmade items through her had for her fifth birthday party. A friend Etsy shop Carefree Highway Market (@ luckily told me to make crayons for Chrissy’s CarefreeHighwayMKT). The idea was son, Miles…and they appeared in his cute formed from the mother and daughter little hands on Instagram.” frequently creating crafts together. The best part of crafting unique items for Her number one seller––unicorn crayons. kids––“My products are colorful and fun “Our 5-year-old, Gemma, decided on the during an uncertain time for so many. idea and of course they became the number They bring joy to children and adults alike,” one seller,” says Megan, a Tramonto resident. says Megan.


Celebrate the cold with these activities.


i! I’m Nicholas, your Epic Kids columnist. I’m a second-grade CEO, and this month I’m sharing four ways to enjoy wintertime. 1. Hike West Fork Trail Search for snow in Sedona! Our family loves hiking West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon. It’s so pretty and very easy to do. In the summer, you cross streams; so in the winter, those streams often turn to ice! If you’re lucky, you’ll hike through snow, so wear boots and warm clothes. 2. Get in the Super Bowl Spirit Make Superbowl Sunday super fun for us kids. You can print out commercial Bingo cards off the Internet and help your parents make tasty treats. Some yummy ideas include football marshmallow pops, football


cocoa crispy treats, mini mac & cheese cups, and chocolatedipped strawberries lined with footballs (look it up on Google!). 3. Check out Paws Up Resort + Ranch One of the best ways to experience winter is by heading to Montana’s Paws Up Resort and Ranch. Take an airplane into Missoula, and head to the ranch where you’ll find winter wonderland. There are so many snow-filled activities like dogsledding, sleigh rides, sledding, ice skating, and more. The kid’s club is great, and the lodging is beautiful. My brothers and I loved becoming certified “S’moreologists,” and you will too. 4. Get Creative If it’s too chilly outside, spend time indoors coming up with fun, active games like "Watch Out for Sharks." Cover the floor of a

room (this is the shark-infested ocean) with squares made out of painter's tape or foam tiles. Jump from one square to another without getting bitten by sharks. Join me on my epic journeys via Instagram @creationsbynicholas and creationsbynicholas.com

Nicholas enjoying the snow with his brothers while hiking the West Fork Trail in Sedona’s Oak Creek Canyon.


H e a d li n e rs


Inline skating is a friendly competition for three friends. By Sondra Barr hree Archway Great Hearts students in Scottsdale are accelerating their need for speed. Rihann Jha and his friends, sisters Hridya and Mishti Sapra are training for their next inline skating competition, after placing in the top of their age groups in the Saguaro Sunrise Skate & Run competition. Held in Oro Valley at the tail end of 2019, Rihann, 7 years old at the time, skated to first place in the 5K Men 11 and Under division with a time of just under 23 minutes. His fellow classmate, Mishti, also 7 at the time, earned first place in the 5K with a time of just over 29 minutes, while her older sister earned second place in the same Women 11 and Under division. The popular race featured a total of 132 participants of all ages. Now 9 years old, Rihann, a fourth grader, intends on lacing up his skates for an inline skating competition in Houston, Texas, in March, followed by a race in Salt Lake City, Utah, in April. “My husband started training Rihann when he was 4,” says Aditi Gupta, Rihann’s mom. From there, Rihann would go to Great Skate in Glendale and practice in the park, working on his endurance and form. “I practice my running and I practice going to the park on skates,” says Rihann, who performs crossovers, reverse skating, and jumping to enhance his skills.

cool giveaway


Sisters Mishti and Hridya Sapra competed with Rihann Jha in the Sunrise Skate & Run competition. EPICKIDSAZ.COM

Rihann Jha earned first place in his division in the Sunrise Skate & Run competition

The most challenging part about inline skating is getting the proper form, while trying to go as fast as possible, according to Rihann. “The balance is also challenging. If you don’t know how to balance, you will fall down and can get hurt severely,” says Hridya, now 14. When she competed in the Saguaro competition, she saw a professional inline skater fall. “She broke her shoulder and couldn’t compete after that,” describes Hridya, an eighth grader. To try and avoid injury, the trio wears protective equipment––helmets, arm pads, elbow, and knee pads––when they practice and compete. “The thing I’ve learned with this is if you just go for it, it usually works out. If you hesitate you’re going to fall and get hurt. I just go for it most of the time,” says Hridya, who enjoys going fast. She came in behind her younger sister in the Saguaro Sunrise race because she had a few tumbles and hurt her knee. Mishti admits to being “kinda scared” during the race, but says, “It was on the road. There was a track, so the cars obviously weren’t going to run into me.” Since competing in their first inline skating race, the sisters have expanded their activities to include gymnastics, skateboarding, skiing, horseback riding, and more–-basically anything that involves going fast. Meanwhile, they still practice with Rihann and look forward to future inline skating competitions.

Sign up for the Epic Kids eNewsletter by Jan. 31 for a chance to win a family four pack to the Arizona Renaissance Festival. (a $100 value!) VISIT EPICKIDSAZ.COM TO SIGN UP! LIKE US ON FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM @EpicKidsAZ


C o v e r s t o ry

Family FIRST Foster care program offers financial, social, and training support to families.

Travis and Lauren Scharnweber have been involved in foster care for almost seven years. They currently have three adopted children (Tonka, Maggie, and Serenity), and two biological children (Ruth and Victor). Photo by Ciara Kleva.


By Sondra Barr hoenix Christian Preparatory school counselor Amber Walker brought the idea of starting a foster care program to Lauren Scharnweber’s attention in 2016. The director of curriculum and instruction at Phoenix Christian, Lauren and her husband were fostering three children as a non-relative kinship family, at the time. “As a kinship family, you don’t get paid by the state or get training. You’re only approved to care for those specific kids,” explains Lauren. While they’d go on to become a licensed foster family, Lauren was excited to implement a program at the school that would support students in foster care, as well as help parents navigate the often difficult foster system. In Arizona, the need for foster parents is tremendous. With over 14,000 children in care of the state, according to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, many of these kids don’t have a family setting to live. Instead they reside in shelters, group homes, or institutions. Foster homes, on the other hand, provide children a safe environment to stay in while one or both parents work to reunite with their children. According to Arms of Love Foster Care, “This can take days, weeks, months, or longer. Some of these children will never be able to return home, and they need a permanent family to love and care for them through adoption.” “We wanted to be able to support the families who’re providing a loving, safe environment for these children, so Amber and I worked together to make that happen,” says Lauren. Their determination to make the program a reality paid off. Currently, 10 families, which include 21 preschool through 12th-grade students, are in the program. The total tuition provided to these families is $169,730 for the current school year. Twenty-three additional students have come through the program since it began.



Phoenix Christian’s Foster Care Program includes full tuition to foster families, as well as workshops and training for families and teachers. Through the program, foster children at the school have increased access to high quality academic, athletic, and extracurricular opportunities that they might not otherwise have. “The entire family is included in the program, the foster family’s biological children too,” says Lauren. “We want to support the whole family.” Kinship families, even though they aren’t licensed foster families are eligible too. “We open the program to any family who’s actively in foster care or kinship (not adopted). We have a deadline of July 1 to apply for the program because we use a lot of state tax credits to fund the program,” Lauren says. Once a foster family has applied, there are steps the families have to take, including applying for STOs, individual tax credit referrals, and directing their tax credits to the program. “If the family doesn’t get it covered with the tax credits, the school is committed and will pay the remaining balance of the tuition. That’s where fundraising comes in with events like golf tournaments,” Lauren says, before pointing out that last year 100 percent of the tuition for the program was raised mostly through STOs. “It’s hard because when you’re a foster family, kids change potentially. We decided if they were going to be here at the beginning of the school year that they finish the year at Phoenix Christian and continue all the way through high school. Even if they go to a different family or if they’re reunifying, they’re allowed to continue here. Our goal is to help the unification process and provide a consistent environment. And, if the kid goes to a new foster family, the scholarship will remain open to those kids through high school,” says Lauren. Although STOs don’t cover preschool tuition, foster families do get some money from DES, although it doesn’t EPICKIDSAZ.COM

cover the entirety of the cost. Phoenix Christian’s Foster Program awards scholarships funded by fundraisers to help offset the cost for foster families of preschoolers. The program offers other benefits. “All foster families have to do six hours per year of training for their license. So we had a counselor come in and do training,” says Lauren. The school has also provided donated supplies, uniforms, and holds events like date night, where free child care is offered to foster parents wanting a night out. Andrew and Danielle Rinnier have three children that they fostered before adopting. Maddox, 7; Levi, 6; and Sophia, 4. What was nice for the Rinniers is that once in the Phoenix Christian program, a foster child who’s then adopted is

grandfathered in so that they can continue their education for free through high school. “Our kids were going to Phoenix Christian even before we knew about the foster care program. The foster care program is an added bonus,” says Andrew. “What’s really special and unique about it, beyond the financial benefit, is that my kids will know that there are other kids who share their experiences and share their background and it is its own community,” says Andrew. “There’s this little pocket of similar students with similar stories that many people might not understand or be able to wrap their minds around but they can be together, which we really appreciate and love about the school.”

Andrew and Danielle Rinnier have three children (Maddox, Levi, and Sophia) attending Phoenix Christian that they fostered and then adopted.


C a r e e r D ay

CURIOSITY CREATOR Sari Custer inspires the spirit of discovery and wonder.

What type of training do you need to do your job? If you would have asked me many years ago I may have said, “There’s training for this?” But there are a few areas I have training in that make me successful at my job. First, I have a background in science, including a degree in biology, and a master of science in science education, and I spent some Sari Custer time working as a natural Profession: Chief of Science resources biologist. and Curiosity at Arizona I’ve also worked in jobs that Science Center focused on customer service, plus I have media and Age: 40 communications training. This means I have lots of What do you do for a practice talking to people, living? being on camera and I work for the Arizona Science behind the camera. All in all, Center as the Chief of Science I have six years of college and Curiosity, and I am the and 13-plus years of work public spokeswoman for the experience. Science Center. My job here The most important thing I is to provide leadership and have is a sense of curiosity direction for the coordination about the world! of science content across the Science Center’s departments What’s your favorite part to help inspire, educate, and of your job? I love science, and I love our engage more than 750,000 visitors. I love working with curious minds each year. the public, helping others I also host the video series, discover the unexpected “Sari on Science,” which fosthrills of learning about ters excitement about sciscience through the many ence for viewers of all ages, exhibits and activities offered with episodes on diverse at the Science Center. Some topics ranging from space days I get to (safely) throw exploration to DIY ice cream. fire from my hands or freeze things with liquid nitrogen in Basically, I get to have fun seconds; some days I get to with science! Sari helps to inspire, educate, and engage visitors at the Arizona Science Center


do color-changing chemistry or show people things they’ve never seen before, like pregnant shrimp, real fossils, or artifacts from over 2,000 years ago! What did you want to be when you were growing up? I had always loved science, especially geology, and I loved museums, but I didn’t know I could have a career in the museum field. I knew I wanted to be some type of scientist. When I was younger, I wanted to be an archaeologist, paleontologist, and marine biologist. Later, after meeting someone who worked with the Hubble Telescope, I became fascinated with physics and space and wanted to be an astrophysicist. After taking lots of science classes, I decided a degree in biology was right for me. I became a natural resources biologist, but missed interacting with people. So, I thought I wanted to become a classroom science teacher. I tried that––it wasn’t for me either. As you can see, I changed my mind a few times before landing in the career that was the right fit! What advice would you give to a kid who wants to have a similar career? Don’t be afraid to try out lots of things, ask questions,

shadow experts from lots of different science jobs... Say "yes" to a lot of opportunities––you never know where they might take you. And did I mention ask questions? To do what I do, you have to go to college, so study hard and stay in school, but you also have to be willing to keep learning daily. I have to stay up to date on current science topics as best as I can. For the on-camera portions of my job, it’s all about practice: talk to people, practice interviewing people, make notes and rehearse, but be ready to laugh at yourself when you mess up. It’s totally normal––I mess up all the time! Teach yourself how to recover and keep going.

Sari safely demonstrating throwing fire from her hand.


E a ts

EGG-CELLENT Four kid-friendly breakfast joints to get your weekends started off right.

By Sondra Barr Daily Dose dailydosegrill.com • Old Town Scottsdale, 4020 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale • Midtown, 1928 E. Highland Ave., Phoenix • Rio Salado, 96 S. Rockford Dr., Tempe For a kid-friend hotspot that serves breakfast and lunch on the daily, you won’t be able to pass up this spot. Or, should we say spots, there are three locations. Known for their made-fromscratch favorites like s’mores cakes, PB&J waffles, and banana bread French toast, they also serve up the perfect combo––kids straight-shooter, which features one egg (cooked any way your kiddo desires), one pancake, and a choice of bacon, sausage patty, or turkey sausage, served with a choice of fruit, cottage cheese, fries, sweet potato, or carrots for only $5.50! The Oink Cafe oinkcafe.com • 4326 E. Cactus Rd., Paradise Valley Bacon takes center stage at Oink. Proudly offering eight kinds of bacon from Applewood, jalapeño, honey cured, sugar cured, apple cider, pepper, hickory, to chef’s choice, even the littlest bacon lovers will find a sure favorite. Pair (or not) one of these savory choices with entrees that range from their signature French toast with a sweet crumb crust grilled golden brown, topped with EPICKIDSAZ.COM

they might even notice that the Disneyapproved spelling would be The Huey, Dewey, and Louie omelette––but that's part of the fun. Morning Squeeze morningsqueeze.com Try Oinks eight different types of bacon with a bacon flight

whipped cream, homemade strawberry and blueberry sauce, mixed berries, and powdered sugar or one of the substantial omelets. Kids will also enjoy three pigs in a blanket, three sausage links wrapped in pancakes and served with hash browns or home fries. T.C. Eggington's tcegg.com • 1660 S. Alma School Rd., Mesa T.C. Eggington's is the place for breakfast in Mesa. Their dizzying array of options are all made from scratch. You’ll find the usual breakfast suspects on the menu, along with some “eggstra” special creations like the crab stuffed pastry, fresh baked pastry shells stuffed with artichoke hearts and crab meat, topped with poached eggs, then lightly covered with hollandaise. There’s also the croque monsieur, grilled artisan sourdough, tomato, black forest ham, mustard sauce, gruyere, and two eggs basted. Meanwhile, the littles won’t want to pass up dishes like the Fogg Horn egglett or The Hughy, Dughy & Lughy omelette off the kids’ menu. Not only will kids enjoy reading the menu,

• 4233 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale • 690 S. Mill Ave. #110, Tempe • 1 N. 1st St., Phoenix With three locations, you’re never too far from a Morning Squeeze. Based on their growing popularity, it’s no surprise Morning Squeeze takes just as much pride in their kids’ menu as they do their regular menu. Bonus, it’s not hard to persuade the littles to get out of bed for a trip to this place––the kids’ menu is that cute. While adults can enjoy benedicts, omelettes, and other breakfast fare, kids are treated to dishes based on their moods that include the I Don’t Care (aka grilled cheese with fries), I’m Not Hungry (eggs, bacon, and potatoes), I Don’t Want That (French toast sticks), and I Want to Go Home (mouse pancake).

Morning Squeeze's kids' menu offers an inventive twist on their offerings


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AUTHOR: Nafiza Azad


GENRE: Young Adult Fantasy


AGES: 12+

AUTHOR: Sam Baker

RATING: (1-5 stars) A A A A A

AGES: 5 - 8

SYNOPSIS: Meet the Wild Ones: girls who

have been hurt, abandoned, and betrayed all their lives. It begins with Paheli, who was once betrayed by her mother and sold to a man in exchange for a favor. When Paheli escapes, she runs headlong into a boy with stars in his eyes. This boy, as battered as she is, tosses Paheli a box of stars before disappearing. With the stars, Paheli gains access to the Between, a place of pure magic and mystery. Now, Paheli collects girls like herself and these Wild Ones use their magic to travel the world, helping the hopeless and saving others from the fates they suffered. Then Paheli and the Wild Ones learn that the boy who gave them the stars is in danger. He’s on the run from powerful forces within the world of magic. But if Taraana is no longer safe and free, neither are the Wild Ones.

MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS BOOK WAS: The found family aspect was

my favorite thing about The Wild Ones. Seeing a strong group of girls build each other up was refreshing and the sort of representation needed in young adult literature.

MY FAVORITE CHARACTER IN THIS BOOK WAS: I adored all the characters but Paheli is definitely my favorite! She is a wonderful role model –– confident in her femininity and protective of her family with the intent to help others. FANS OF THIS BOOK MAY ALSO LIKE: We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay

Mejia, Seafire by Natalie C. Parker, Furyborn by Claire Legrand.

Avery, 15, is an avid reader and book reviewer. When not reading, you can find her playing volleyball, hanging out with friends, or with one of her pets! You can follow her on Instagram and TikTok at @ readbyfin.


SYNOPSIS: A joyful story

about a mischievous little mouse who becomes a little girl’s new friend, and they adventures they share.

PONY AUTHOR: R.J. Palacio AGES: 9 - 12 SYNOPSIS: An enthralling adventure about a

boy on a quest to rescue his father, with only a ghost as his companion and a mysterious pony as his guide.

STUNTBOY, IN THE MEANTIME AUTHOR: Jason Reynolds AGES: 6 - 8 SYNOPSIS: A hilarious, hopeful, and actionpacked novel about the greatest young superhero you’ve never heard of. EPICKIDSAZ.COM

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maze game Can you help mama bird to find the way?

FREE MUSIC LESSON Make your own happy notes! New group music lessons for kids are starting this January.

Funny A nimals Fill in the missing letters

East Valley: evyamahamusic.com North Phoenix: npyamahamusic.com (480) 926-4441




Funny A nimals

FUNNY ANIMALS - Fill in the missing letters Fill in the missing letters
















Yamaha Teachers have music degrees and are specially trained by Yamaha



Keyboard, Solfege, Singing, Movement, Ensemble, Reading & Music Appreciation



just ffo or fun B r a i n P lay




Why are frogs so happy?

The Four Corners is the only spot in the U.S. where you can stand in four states at once: Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico.

There are no muscles in your fingers: Their function is controlled by muscles in your palms and arms.

What do you call a droid that takes the long way around?

Asparagus grows straight out of the ground.

Kangaroos can’t walk backwards. The main reason is because they have huge feet made for hopping. And, even though the kangaroos’ hind legs are separated, to move forward, their legs have to move at the same time. The size of their feet prevents them from moving independently of one foot from the other. Plus, their tail, which is long and muscular, further adds to the inability to walk backwards. Cockroaches have white blood. The blood of cockroaches lacks hemoglobin, which is what gives human blood the red color. 1. They eat whatever bugs them!! 2. R2 detour!

make us chuckle!

Email a joke or far out fact, along with your first name, age, and the school you attend, to hello@epickidsaz.com 16 | JANUARY 2022 | EPIC KIDS


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from our readers 1. Why was the moon so sad? Joshua, 9, Caurus Academy

2. Why couldn’t the pirate learn the alphabet?


Stacia, 12, Eagle Prep

1. It only had one quarter left. 2. Because he was always lost at C.



This overnight Camp offers lots of activities; Horseback Riding, Kayaking, Arts & Crafts, Shelter Building, Archery, Hiking, Campfire and S’mores, Capture the Flag, Skit Night, Astronomy, and so much more! Includes: Lodging, Meals, R/T Chartered Bus from Ahwatukee to Camp and from Camp to Ahwatukee, Camp T-shirt, and memories for a lifetime!

Circlewords wordsininthe the puzzle puzzle below below Circle











earth sun















comet orbit


comet lunar






CAMPERS AGES: 7 – 15 EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION: $750 (Regular Price $800) WHERE: 4860 Mormon Lake Rd, Mormon Lake, AZ 86038 (just 23 miles SE of Flagstaff) Week 1: June 12 - 18 Week 2: June 19 - 25 Week 3: June 26 - July 2 Week 4: July 3 - 9 Week 5: July 10 - 16

| | | | |

Ages 13 – 15 - Teen Week Ages 7 - 12 Ages 7 - 12 Ages 7 - 12 Ages 7 – 12 - Catholic Week


Join us June 5-11 for the 7 day, 6-night counselor training for teens ages 15-17. You will learn to work with kids ages 7-15 and will learn counselor skills including CPR, Team building and Leadership activities, have an opportunity to earn Community Service Hours and much more! The cost of the training is $225. If selected, Counselors in Training will be asked to return as Counselors for the camper weeks to put their skills into action at no additional cost!

Register today at: www.SJYCAZ.com or email : admin@SJYCAZ.com 480-449-0848 EPIC KIDS | JANUARY 2022 | 17

What's Happening

January 2022

KIDCHEN SCIENCE: HOT AIR BALLOONS WHEN: Jan. 18 and Jan. 23 WHERE: Children’s Museum of Phoenix, 215 N. 7th St., Phoenix WHAT: Stop by the KIDchen for a transportation science experiment and learn how hot air balloons work! INFO: childrensmuseumofphoenix.org TOUGHEST MONSTER TRUCK TOUR WHEN: Jan. 21 – 22 WHERE: Findlay Toyota Center, 3201 N. Main St., Prescott Valley WHAT: This incredible event is worth the drive! Come see BIGFOOT driven by Brandon Budd; Dirt Crew driven by Jerry Beck; Quad Chaos driven by Bailey Shea; Kamikaze driven by Zach Jensen; Jurassic Attack driven by Dalton Widner; and Tailgator driven by Tim Jones. Plus see the gravity defying insanity of the Freestyle Motocross team led by JJ Romans! INFO: toughestmonstertrucks.com

FAMILY FUN ACTION AND ADVENTURE FESTIVAL WHEN: Jan. 22 WHERE: Arizona Boardwalk Courtyard, 9500 E. Via de Ventura, Scottsdale WHAT: Meet your favorite Action Heroes (Batman, Captain America, SuperGirl and Wonder Woman), ride on the Zipline attraction, enjoy bounce houses/slides, face painting, live entertainment, familyfriendly performances, prize giveaways/raffles and local vendors for shopping! Free outdoor event. No admission fee required! INFO: azboardwalk.com/event/free-family-fun-action-adventurefestival/

The Darndest Place You’ll Ever Visit Southern Arizona’s Premier Outdoor Family Fun! NOV. 16 thru APRIL 30

OPEN DAILY 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admissions close at 4:30 Closed on Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day Hours of operation are weather permitting


Ostrich – Deer – Miniature Donkeys Boar Goats – Sheep – Mini Goats – Lorikeets Bunnies – Ducks – Stingrays – Giant Tortoises and More!


Located between Phoenix and Tucson I-10 & Exit #219 at Picacho Peak Roostercogburn.com 520-466-3658



AZ on the Rocks Has it All! Sign Up for

KLIMBERZ AFTER SCHOOL CLASSES at kids@azontherocks.com

Climbing • Birthday Parties Camps • After School Adaptive Programs • Yoga Team Building & Much More

NICKELODEON’S JOJO SIWA D.R.E.A.M THE TOUR WHEN: Jan. 23 WHERE: Gila River Arena, 9400 W. Maryland, Glendale WHAT: Nickelodeon superstar JoJo Siwa is a YouTube personality, singer, dancer, entrepreneur, social media influencer, and a New York Times bestselling author. Siwa is currently in the middle of her first-ever live concert tour and is coming to Phoenix! INFO: jojodreamtour.com

All Ages No Experience Required 16447 N 91st St, Scottsdale 480.502.9777 azontherocks.com

On Deck: February DISNEY PRINCESS - THE CONCERT WHEN: Feb. 12 WHERE: Orpheum Theater, 203 W. Adams St., Phoenix WHAT: Join a quartet of Disney's strongest, best-loved characters for this extra-special production! Disney Princess: The Concert sees four incredible female performers join forces to share songs and stories from their time as Disney Princesses. There'll be some of Disney's incredible music, enchanting animation, and a peek behind-the-scenes too. INFO: phoenix-theater.com BABY SHARK LIVE 2022 WHEN: Feb. 17 - 18 WHERE: Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St., Mesa WHAT: Take an adventure into the sea with Baby Shark as he joins up with his friend Pinkfong to sing and dance through some of your favorite new and classic songs! Baby Shark Live! is a state-ofthe-art enchanting kids' spectacular. INFO: mesaartscenter. com EPICKIDSAZ.COM


SAV0E0 $ 50 de: With Co EPIC







Now Enrolling

K-8 STUDENTS Creighton School District is enrolling K-8 students for the 2021-2022 school year! Some of the specialty programs Creighton offers are:

NOW HIRING Creighton School District is seeking staff members who share our belief of inspiring students to become adventurous thinkers, collaborative learners, and kind-hearted leaders.

Dual Language Spanish Immersion Arts Integration Coding and Robotics

Visit us to learn more at www.CreightonSchools.org

Apply online today at www.CreightonSchools.org 2702 E. Flower St. Phx, AZ 85016 (602) 381-6000 See what fun we’re having at:

2702 E Flower St., Phoenix, AZ 85016 602-381-6000 | www.CreightonSchools.org


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