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raisingarizonakids.com JANUARY 2018



Understanding the many risks of social media


Easier ways to cook, get fit and stay organized Put some “OM” in your child’s New Year!

KIDS YOGA CLASSES Arizona’s 2018


Anna Bradford (11) of Anthem.

DISCOVER SCIENCE AT MIM Explore “How Science Brings Music to Life” at MIM’s new STEM Gallery

Signature Event DISCOVER SCIENCE AT MIM Saturday & Sunday, January 20 & 21 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. This exciting new program will include a weekend of hands-on activities, workshops, demonstrations, talks and lectures, performances, and more—all focused on how science and technology affect the way music is made and heard. Included with paid museum admission; free for members

MIM’s new STEM Gallery explores the important connections between music and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Through original video, interactive technology, and instruments from all over the globe, multiple displays within the gallery explore themes of sound creation, technological innovation, the human ear, hearing safety, and much more. Plan your visit at MIM.org.

“The scientific and technical description of music as presented in the STEM room is outstanding.” —Dr. Edward Flynn, PhD, Neurophysicist and Brain Researcher

MIM.org Open Daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m. | 480.478.6000 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85050


February 6, 5:30pm

48th St Chandler Blvd 46th St

With a Curriculum Presentation for Kindergarten & Middle School

Ray Rd

40th St

Art Exhibition & Open House for PreK-8th Grade

• We’re a private, independent school nestled in the Ahwatukee community of Phoenix, Arizona since 2001. Our preschool is nationally accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Our elementary and middle school are nationally accredited by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCACASI). • From preschool through 8th grade, we nurture students’ critical thinking skills, creativity and confidence. Each and every student is encouraged to grow to their full potential. • We employ an extensive, rigorous liberal arts curriculum with dedicated teachers including a nationally recognized art program, music, physical education, Spanish and science. • Teaching methods incorporate significant hands-on learning and meaningful discussions in which children share their ideas and thought processes. Project Based Learning (PBL) is utilized school wide.

Pecos Rd

4515 E. Muirwood Dr., Phoenix, AZ 85048 SummitSchoolAZ.org

For more information call the Admissions Office at


January 2018



Parenting in the Digital Age

Jessica Swarner’s honors thesis for ASU is a great resource for parents trying to understand the social media landscape — and dangers.


12 apps for busy moms

Let technology help you get in shape, get organized and find what you need this year.


Will cooking with an Instant Pot change your life? Calendar Editor Liz Petroff tests it out.



12 11

Reflections and resolutions



• Jake’s Unlimited reopens in Mesa • Preschool expulsion is a national problem • Arizona charitable tax credits • American Ninja Warrior Experience comes to Glendale • Pangaea, Land of the Dinosaurs, opens at OdySea in the Desert • 5 questions with Danielle Wurth about getting organized • codePHX offers free programming, 3D printing and robotics classes • Put some “OM” in your child’s New Year! • BusyKid: Resolve to teach your kids financial skills this year • Q&A with Josh Meibos: Arizona’s 2018 Teacher of the Year


family time!

• Top January events • Around Arizona • Onstage • Last-chance holiday events


behind the ’zine It's about time


JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com

COVER PHOTO SHOOT Cover: Anna Bradford (11) of Anthem. Location Anthem Community Park. PHOTOS BY RICK D’ELIA


dialogue January 2018 | Vol 28 | No 10 Publisher Karen Davis Barr Editor Kara G. Morrison Calendar Editor Liz Petroff Copy Editor Debra Citron Staff Writers Margaret Beardsley, Dani Horn Art Director Michèlle-Renée Adams Photographers Rick D’Elia, Allen Patrou Operations Manager Tina Gerami-Bynum Sales & Marketing Manager Brandy Collet Sales Representatives Shannon Cornall, Kate Greene

Contact Us: editorial@RAKmagazine.com familytime@RAKmagazine.com advertising@RAKmagazine.com subscriptions@RAKmagazine.com 5229 N. Seventh Ave. #102 Phoenix, AZ 85013-1974 P: 480–991–KIDS (5437) • F: 480–991–5460 raisingarizonakids.com

in partnership with

Follow us! @RAKmagazine RAKmagazine RAKmagazine RAKmagazine RAKmagazine

R aising A rizona K ids magazine (ISSN 1051-4295) was created to connect Valley families to local resources and share real-life stories about the challenges and joys of raising children. Copy­right © 2018 by R aising A rizona K ids,

REFLECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS FOLLOWING THE FAST PACE (and indulgences) of the holiday season, January is always a great time to slow down and reflect. Top of mind for me this year is how to get healthier and more active as a family, how to eat better and — most importantly amidst our serious, day-to-day tasks — how to feel less overwhelmed and make time for silliness, memories and fun. When school resumes this month, my daughter will already be halfway through her kindergarten year. I’m resolving to treasure these days and to learn from her and her sweet little classmates, who managed to come up with four dynamite classroom rules. They signed a promise at the start of the school year to keep their classroom “safe and learning” and to: 1. Listen to each other. 2. Be kind and sharing. 3. Respect each other’s space. 4. Take care of our supplies and classroom. I’m thinking we might need to write these into the Constitution. Or at least reflect on them a little as we refine our resolutions and priorities for 2018. This month at RAK, we’re trying to help busy families by offering one source of easier family meals. Calendar Editor Liz Petroff took up the task of testing out the trendy new Instant Pot (basically an updated, rebranded pressure cooker). She found it does save precious time. We’ll revisit easy family meals next month, too, with ideas that don’t require fancy appliances or cookbooks. We also touched base with professional organizer Danielle Wurth, who offers tips on where to focus organizing the family home. I wasn’t surprised to hear it’s the food pantry! Staff writer Dani Horn searched high and low for apps that help busy moms — from organizing children’s artwork to locating the nearest clean restroom. Dani also delved into the scarier side of technology when interviewing the local founder of the Parenting in the Digital Age website. As a magazine, we’ve also made some New Year’s resolutions. We plan to give you more first-person essays from moms (and dads) in the trenches, more easy-to-read Q&As with interesting people in our community, and more helpful information for all ages and stages of parenting — from childbirth on. We also want to hear more from you in 2018, about how we can better help busy families. Here’s wishing you a peaceful, joyful, informative — and kind — New Year!

Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Subscription price is $20 for one year or $35 for two years. Back issues are $6 per copy. The Post Office will not automatically forward in the event of a move. Make address changes on our website or mail changes to our office. Original, locally generated articles, illustrations and photographs are welcome. Guide­lines are

Kara G. Morrison, Editor kara@RAKmagazine.com

avail­able at raisingarizonakids.com.

raisingarizonakids.com JANUARY 2018


az grown community


is a national problem

REBRANDED, REFRESHED AND EXPANDED Family entertainment complex reopens in Mesa

AFTER A FOUR-MONTH, nearly $5 million renovation, the Mesa family entertainment complex formerly called Amazing Jake’s has reopened, hoping to draw more adults and corporate events in addition to its appeal as a popular kids party venue. “We wanted to bring Jake’s a fresh look,” says Melisa Schisel, sales director for Jake’s Unlimited, which opened Dec. 1 at Gilbert and Baseline roads. “Being around for so long, we’ve done really well, and we’ve always been known as a kids place. We still love our kid base, but we want everyone to know that we’re the ‘everybody’ place.” New ownership and rebranding brought with it a more modern look and new rides and attractions, including a dual-level laser-tag arena, VIP bowling suites, bumper cars, more than 170 arcade and midway games and an expanded kids zone. New rides include the Radius, a spider-like carnival ride, and eight mini bowling lanes. “We’ve added over $300,000 in new games, and during the renovation we repositioned the kids area so that it is all located in one place,” says Schisel. Parents can sit at a counter, plug in a laptop or phone and keep an eye on the kids. Jake’s Unlimited can now accommodate up to 3,000 people in a 9,400-square-foot event space with eight party rooms and four themed dining areas. “We’ve added really cool new lighting…and there’s space enough for a dance floor,” says Schisel. “It opens up a whole new side, because you can do a quinceañera or a Sweet 16 or even a wedding.” Executive Chef Scott Nelson has refreshed the $10.99 buffet and now offers an a la carte menu with new entrees, appetizers and specialty desserts. Two full bars were added for an adult-friendly happy hour called Jake’s After Dark. After 8 p.m., guests no longer have to pay for the buffet, which was previously required for admission, Schisel says. “If you want to come in just with your hubby or with a friend and bowl a game while having a glass of wine or a beer, you don’t have to pay that buffet admittance anymore.” IF YOU GO: Jake’s Unlimited, 1830 E. Baseline Road, Mesa. 480-926-7499 or jakesunlimited.com


JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com

CHILDREN ARE GETTING kicked out of preschool at three to 13 times the rate that kids get expelled from grades K-12, says Walter Gilliam, director of The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University, who continues to research the trend. Last month, Gilliam was visiting Southwest Human Development in Phoenix. He’s working with the local nonprofit and others to find ways to lower these rates, and is concerned about the short- and long-term implications for both children and their parents. Race was also a factor in the national study, where preschool expulsion rates for minorities were significantly higher than for their white classmates. “Expulsion is the most severe thing that can happen to a child in a childcare setting,” says Gilliam. “It’s saying, ‘You’re not welcome here.’” Teachers surveyed have given reasons for expulsion that include biting or aggressive behavior to zero-tolerance policies for things found in a child’s backpack, such bringing a toy water gun to school. Southwest Human Development has worked with the State of Arizona to develop a statewide expulsion policy to better protect kids and families in need of childcare. Parents whose children are facing expulsion from childcare can call the nonprofit’s Birth to Five Helpline for advice, resources and support at 877-705-5437. Childcare professionals can also call the Helpline or visit birthtofivehelpline.org to request expulsion-prevention training, mental health consultation services and other resources.

“AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR” is coming to Glendale


DO YOU NEED extra motivation to jumpstart your health and fitness goals this year? Here’s one parents and kids can all enjoy: The American Ninja Warrior Experience is coming to University of Phoenix Stadium Feb. 10-11. This two-day event and festival gives people of all ages a chance to try their skills on the same obstacle courses shown on NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” show. The adult course (for ages 14 and up) is $89, and the youth course (for ages 7-13) is $49. Or, you can be a spectator for $30 that includes access to a fan fest and a chance to meet American Ninja Warrior pros. Here are some basic fitness benchmarks the American Ninja Warrior Experience suggests. To be competitive, you should be able to do at least eight (for women) or 16 (for men) pull-ups, dead hang for three or more minutes, run a quarter mile in 90 seconds and be able to lache (a freerunning move used to swing off of a bar or branch) 6 feet or higher. Get started training now! anwexperience. com

IT’S NOT TOO late to make donations to programs for which Arizona taxpayers can take a dollar-fordollar state tax credit for their contributions. The deadline for these donations is April 17, 2018, which is Tax Day. If participants donate between Jan. 1 and April 17, they can choose which tax year to attribute the contribution. Arizona provides state tax credits for the following contributions: • Qualifying charitable organizations that serve the working poor • Qualifying foster-care charitable organizations • Public schools for extracurricular activities • Private-school tuition organizations While tax deductions reduce the amount of taxible income, tax credits are a dollar fordollar reduction of the income tax you owe. Visit azdor.gov/taxcredits for details and forms to claim the credits.



Dinosaurs at OdySea in the Desert A NEW INDOOR ATTRACTION called Pangaea, Land of the Dinosaurs, opened Dec. 12 in the OdySea in the Desert complex on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian reservation near Scottsdale. Pangaea features more than 50 life-size animatronic dinosaurs in interactive, educational exhibits designed to transport visitors back to the age of the dinosaurs Activities include fossil excavations, dinosaur go-karts, a one-of-a-kind dinosaur obstacle course and more. The Pangaea Dinosaur Grill, a Greek and American restaurant, offers dinosaur-themed entrees and desserts. Pangaea is located in the 35-acre entertainment complex that includes OdySea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland and Dolphinaris in addition to shops and restaurants. Admission is $24.95; $17.95 for ages 3-11. IF YOU GO: Pangaea, Land of the Dinosaurs, 9500 E. Via de Ventura, Suite C-100, Scottsdale. 480362-3466 landofthedinos.com or odyseainthedesert.com

raisingarizonakids.com JANUARY 2018


az grown organization Danielle Wurth (center) with her organizing gurus.




RAK FEATURED SCOTTSDALE mom Danielle Wurth in an August 2011 web-exclusive story. Her business, Wurth Organizing, served a growing list of clients who craved control over the chaos of daily life. In 2018, the company will celebrate its 11th anniversary. We caught up with Wurth recently to ask her what’s changed. What has contributed to your company’s growth? As client and media exposure grew over the years, so did the need for more families to be served. I hit a growth crossroads in 2012. Professionally and personally I needed to make a clear choice: either turn eager clients away or find a way to reach more people


JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com

Valleywide without sacrificing quality family time and personal sanity. I created the Wurth Organizing Program to hire like-minded [individuals] with Godgiven gifts to organize and a desire to teach other families healthier, clutter-free living. The team grew quickly. In the fall of 2015, The Container Store approached me to be its Exclusive Brand Partner for all three Valley locations via the new in-store program, Contained Home. TCS flew our crew out for intensive training on the Elfa and TCS closet products along with support on all the fantastic completion products. Our company services expanded

from offering hands-on organizing services to helping with custom closet design. The transition was very exciting, very intensive and challenging on new level. How have customers’ needs changed over the years? Clutter “hot spots” remain the same but people’s awareness of clutter and the lack of organized systems in the family home has increased. Juggling work, family and all the stuff in between is difficult. I like to call this “life’s layer cake.” Each layer and family zone needs to be addressed, organized and labeled properly, otherwise the entire cake will split into an oh-so-lovely crumbled mess.

Time and money are wasted by not running an organized household. The financial loss is staggering: from missing gift cards to over-purchasing food, late bill payments and marital and family stress. We encourage clients to “stop the bleeding.” Let us help you turn things around by teaching you and your kiddos organized systems that are essential life skills we all need to survive in this fastpaced treadmill that is life today.


How do you feel about the word “balance”? Finding balance is a short-term action and can’t be sustained for the long term. I prefer to use the term juggle. It refers to knowing which balls to handle at a certain time and which to put down. I encourage others to learn new skills and feel confident — not shameful — in running a home. What’s one easy thing families can do to be more organized this year? I feel a well-organized, well-labeled food pantry is non-negotiable. The money saved is truly staggering. Hundreds of dollars become pure waste [when food expires]. An organized pantry is a wonderful space for kiddos to help put away groceries and prep for snacks and lunches. It helps mom and dad while also building [a child’s] confidence and order in the family home. Everyone benefits greatly. How about the family? Phil and I have been married 21 years. We truly complete each other’s sentences and support one another on so many levels as soul mates. Devon is 12 and Oliver is 8. They are such fine young men who take their school studies, organizing skills and club-soccer skills very seriously. We are a hardcore soccer family, and I have plenty of soccer-mom swag to wear for their games on the weekends! Read the 2011 story about how Wurth started her business at raisingarizonakids.com (type “Wurth” into the search bar). Reach her through her website, wurthorganizing.com.

THERE IS NO UNIVERSAL TEACHING CODE THAT UNLOCKS EVERY MIND. OUR TEACHERS WILL HELP DISCOVER YOUR CHILD’S UNIQUE LEARNING COMBINATION. New Way Academy is an accredited K–12 school for students who learn differently. Small class sizes and on-campus therapists empower education, while our large campus with sports, performing arts and after-school activities promotes building friendships and learning outside the classroom.


Visit our admissions page at NewWayAcademy.org 5048 E Oak Street Phoenix, AZ 85008 | T: 602 389 8600 | NewWayAcademy.org

open CCS house Move




Beginner-Competitive Classes for Boys & Girls Ages 3-12 years Risk FREE Trial All Ages

4015 E. Lincoln Dr. 602.381.9906 info@ccsaz.org PRESCHOOL-ELEMENTARY


FREE Parent/Tot classes Ages 12-24 months (480) 596-3543 | xtremegymnastics.com 15821 N. 79th St #3, Scottsdale, AZ


raisingarizonakids.com JANUARY 2018


Phoenix offers FREE CODING AND ROBOTICS CLASSES for ages 4-17 By Dani Horn

The CodePHX initiative provides coding, robotics and 3D modeling classes for youth ages 4 to 17 at locations citywide.


JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com

ONLY A FOURTH of Arizona’s elementary schools offer computer science courses. But the city of Phoenix’s new codePHX program aims to jumpstart these skills by teaching hundreds of kids coding, 3D printing, robotics and more — for free. Funded by the Arizona Community Foundation and Phoenix IDA nonprofits in partnership with the Phoenix City Council, codePHX was created to improve career opportunities. Nearly 10,000 computing jobs are vacant in Arizona, and hundreds of companies are looking for people with these skills according to Code.org, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. “Today, almost every job in America, in some way, shape or form is a tech job or has something to do with tech, and that is going to continue as we move forward,” says Daniel Valenzuela, the Phoenix’s District 5 councilman who helped champion the program. “As the industry continues to evolve, our workforce also needs to evolve. So this program is about workforce development, it’s about education, and it’s about giving our youth in Phoenix an opportunity to compete for 21st century jobs.” CodePHX also aims to increase tech literacy in traditionally underrepresented groups — girls, minorities and economically disadvantaged youth. The classes are for ages 4-17. “The goal is to make [coding lessons] accessible, equitable and free to all of Phoenix’s youth,” says Valenzuela. “But we do understand that in many tech jobs in America, there is a major gender gap. There’s also a gap in demographics that shows very few people of color are being hired for these [tech] positions.” Valenzuela says so far the codePHX classes have nearly even male/female


az grown technology


locations in Phoenix: • Bret Tarver Learning Center, 1516 N. 35th Ave. • Cesar Chavez Library, 3635 W. Baseline Road • Cholla Library, 10050 Metro Parkway • Desert Sage Library, 7602 W. Encanto Blvd. • Harmon Library, 1325 S. Fifth Ave. • Ironwood Library, 4333 E. Chandler Blvd. • Mountain View Community Center, 1104 E. Grovers Ave. • Palo Verde Library, 4402 N. 51st Ave. • Sunnyslope Youth Center, 1702 W. Peoria Ave. • Vernell Coleman Recreation Center, 830 W. Tonto St. • Yucca Library, 5648 N. 15th Ave. • Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 N. Central Ave. (summer 2018) New sessions start in Janaury. See a full schedule or register online at phoenix.gov/parks/classes-and-programs/codephx

ratios. “There many different languages spoken in the classes, and I think it’s a true reflection of the people who live in Phoenix,” he says. CodePHX was initially introduced in 12 Phoenix libraries and recreation centers and will expand to 29 locations in three years — including 17 additional library branches and community centers and a mobile coding lab that is part of the Parks and Recreation Department’s mobile recreation program. Both drop-in classes and eight-week courses are available. CodePHX offers four types of classes by age: Little Bytes introduces ages 4-7 to basic coding language with apps and games; Coder Dojo and 3D Modeling for Beginners use popular coding websites like code.org, kodable.com and tinkercad.com to teach ages 8-17 about programming; and Hacker Heaven lets kids of all ages try science experiments. Karen Crawford, a library assistant and codePHX instructor, works to impart coding skills that will help her students in high school, college and beyond. The websites she uses allow students to move at their own pace. “Eight and 9-year-olds working on code.org usually have no problem at all,” says Crawford. “It’s set up so that it is easy

enough that the kids can learn it, and then they repeat it in a way that they can move forward slowly. Each [learning] exercise is similar to the last, so they progress slower, but once they have gone through the fundamentals, they tend to progress more quickly to things like block coding.” For Councilman Valenzuela, computer programming and childhood creativity go hand in hand. Young kids, he says, are naturals when it comes to STEM activities. “Coding, unlike most other jobs in other industries, has really captured the interest of our youth — even in kids as young as 4,” says Valenzuela. “It’s teaching them STEM through games at an early age, and at some point … they want to actually create a game or an app. Whether they realize it or not, they’re understanding what it is to be a problem-solver. They’re using their minds to create something new.” Staff writer Dani Horn is the mother of Victoria (11) and Remy (8).


rO nO lli W Ch ng ild ! lea ren rn ’s Cen ing ter

High quality Early Childhood Education Programs for preschool children. MCCCD Student: $2/hr. MCCCD Employee: $3/hr. Community: $30/Full day and $15/Half day. To learn more contact assistant director Caris Hall, Caris.Hall@gatewaycc.edu WasHington CamPus 108 E Washington St. 602-286-8130

montECito CamPus 715 E Montecito Ave. 602-286-8131

WWW.gatEWayCC.Edu/CHildCarE raisingarizonakids.com JANUARY 2018


az grown fitness



IN YOUR CHILD’S NEW YEAR! YOGA CAN HELP children and teens develop self awareness, build concentration, manage stress, detach

from technology and learn to unwind. Here are some studios we found that offer classes specifically tailored to younger minds and bodies. If we missed one you love, let us know! We’ll add it to the online version of our family resources directory.

AVONDALE Bikram Yoga Avondale 3145 N. Dysart Road, Suite 106, Avondale 623-535-1257 • bikramyogaavondale.com/kids-yoga Sunday afternoon classes for ages 6-11.

CHANDLER Sumits Yoga 4080 W. Ray Road, Chandler 480-768-1000 • sumitsyogachandler.com Children ages 5-10 get an introduction to the practice of yoga during an 80-minute class incorporating music, storytelling, yoga games, art and lots of physical activity.

GILBERT Gilbert Yoga 6 E. Palo Verde St., Suite 11, Gilbert 480-225-1881 • gilbertyoga.com Prenatal and kids yoga classes. Children 10 and older are welcome in adult yoga classes. Let’s Grow Studio 4100 S. Lindsay Road, Suite 101, Gilbert 480-699-1004 • letsgrowstudio.com “Grow with Yoga” classes introduce children ages 2-8 to the practice of yoga in a fun and playful way. Classes explore yoga poses through games, music, props, art and books. One Love Kids Yoga 480-580 2216 • onelovekidsyoga.com Specializes in a variety of kids, family and “Mamaste”/”Dadaste” (parent & baby) yoga programs. Also offers birthday parties.

GLENDALE Kula Yoga 12240 N. 51st Ave., Glendale 623-336-5852 • kulayogaaz.com Saturday morning classes for kids.


JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com

PHOENIX Arizona Sunrays 15801 N. 32nd St., Phoenix 602-992-5791 • arizonasunrays.com This dance and gymnastics studio offers 55-minute yoga classes for both kids and adults. Desert Song Yoga 3232 N. 20th St., Phoenix 602-265-8222 • desertsongyoga.com Mommy & Me classes appropriate for new mothers (with doctor’s approval) and newborns up to crawling infants and Mindful Monkeys classes for ages 4-10. Humble Monkey Yoga 3305 E. Greenway Road, No. 8, Phoenix humblemonkeyyoga.com Family Yoga class engages families in meditation, breathing and poses. Kharma Yoga Center 700 W. Campbell Ave., Suite 1, Phoenix 602-795-9767 • kharmalifecenter.com Kids Yoga from 4-5 p.m. Tuesday; parents are encouraged to take a concurrent restorative yoga class across the hall. Mindfulness Minnies 24114 N. 24th Place, Phoenix 419-944-3982 • mindfulminnies.com An all-kids yoga studio for ages 3-17. Teaches yoga, mindfulness and breathing/relaxation, incorporating games and books.

Yoga Pura 15440 N. Seventh St., Suite 1, Phoenix 602-843-7872 • yogapura.com Offers a playful class for ages 5-10, emphasizing games to improve strength, flexibility and coordination.

SCOTTSDALE AZ on the Rocks 16447 N. 91st St., Suite 105, Scottsdale 480-470-9329 • azontherocks.com Yoga on the Rocks, located upstairs, is a full yoga studio for children and adults, with classes for all levels. Funke Yoga 7375 E. Stetson Road, Suite 202, Scottsdale 480-949-3229 • funkeyoga.com Family Yoga incorporates poses parents can do with their children, poses children can do with each other and relaxation techniques for parents and children.

VALLEYWIDE Valley of the Sun YMCA 16 locations statewide, 14 in metro Phoenix valleyymca.org A 40-minute class for ages 9 and up offering yoga basics: breathing, awareness, meditation and healthy movement.

finance az grown


By Kara G. Morrison

Busy parents Gregg and Kami Murset (center) and their children (from left) Sterling (10), Sierra (18), Adam (14), Sydney (16), Zach (19) and Spencer (12).

GREGG MURSET is a Scottsdale-based financial planner and a Queen Creek father of six who has long thought about preparing his kids to be financially independent. In other words, he jokes, “How do I get all of these people to move out of my house and never come back!” Murset’s basic philosophy is this: Early on, you need to teach kids to tie money to work. If you don’t, you get entitled kids living in your basement. Forever. As a dad, Murset, 44, says he started with stickers on chore charts and coins and cash for completed tasks. As an entrepreneur, he created My Job Chart in 2011, a free app that had nearly a million users. He’s now CEO of BusyKid (busykid.com), which launched this fall as a more sophisticated version of My Job Chart. Apps for Apple and Android are expected by press time. At BusyKid, parents pay $14.95 (no matter how many kids) annually to set up chore assignments (or money-making opportunities, depending on how you think of it) linked to a parent’s bank account. Murset sees BusyKid as “your kid’s first job with direct deposit.” On Fridays, kids get paid and can then save, share, spend or even invest their funds in fractional shares of popular stocks — like Disney or Apple — through a

partnership Murset has with StockPile. For another $5 per year, kids can also get their own (gasp) prepaid debit card (tied to a parent’s name) through BusyKid, which is billed as the best way to start teaching your child how to live responsibly in our nearcashless society. “You have to start it early,” says Murset, who recommends kids start learning about earning and budgeting money by age 5. “If you wait, you’re too late. They have habits at that point. They’re smart. They can pick this stuff up.” Murset insists teaching kids that money comes from work is the best way to nix an entitlement mentality. He adds parents can’t rely on schools to teach financial skills — very few teach personal finance, especially early on. Then, there’s technology. Murset thinks it’s valuable for kids to learn online banking. “The one big challenge that parents have is this concept of financial abstraction: invisible money. Who has coins? No one does that anymore. The old ways are just antiquated,” he says. Not only is it inconvenient for parents to have cash on hand to pay allowances, it’s also not how adults pay the bills. We pay them instantaneously, on our phones, and we track savings and investments online.

“This is a perfect place to learn on a very basic level. I believe people learn best by doing,” says Murset, whose 18-year-old son saved $10,000 and asked his dad for permission to put $2,000 in an IRA. As we spoke, Murset was busy setting up new “chores” for his kids to earn money and to make his house cleaner — such as mopping the floors. A win for both parent and child, since hiring the job out would cost a lot more. The bottom line on BusyKid: “It empowers a kid to learn these life lessons at a young age, and it makes it easy for a parent to do it,” Murset says. Kara G. Morrison is the editor of R aising A rizona K ids and the mother of Sofia (5). Reach her at kara@ rakmagazine.com.

raisingarizonakids.com JANUARY 2018


az grown education

Q&A WITH JOSH MEIBOS Arizona’s 2018 Teacher of the Year By Margaret Beardsley | Photos by Allen Patrou PHYSICAL EDUCATION teacher Josh Meibos says it was an honor to be named Arizona’s 2018 Teacher of the Year by the Arizona Educational Foundation. But he’s even more thrilled about the recognition for his Title 1 school in the Balsz School District. At David Crockett Elementary in Phoenix, one in five kids is homeless and one in seven is a refugee. The November announcement created “an opportunity for me to put a spotlight on the good work that all the teachers were doing at Crockett,” Meibos says. The 39-year-old and his partner have no children of their own, but Meibos considers the nearly 500 children he teaches at Crockett his kids. As Teacher of the Year, Meibos will receive a $15,000 cash award; one week at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama; professional training in public speaking and a chance to compete for National Teacher of the Year.


JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com

How many years have you taught at Crockett Elementary, and why have you stayed? This is my seventh year teaching and my seventh year at Crockett. When I got the job, I slowly pieced together the physical education program. I felt it had been ignored, and there had not been a consistent teacher for five years. I had the fortunate challenge [of making] the program my own. After meeting the dedicated staff, and especially the kids, I knew Crockett was a window of opportunity to really give back and make an impact. What role do you think physical education plays in a student’s development? It is my job to educate and create lifelong physical activity learners. Physical education provides a path for students to strengthen their basic fundamental movements

and rigorous motor skills. Moreover, it engages kids in team-building exercises promoting empathy, perseverance, confidence, good sportsmanship and appreciation for their personal health and ultimately [the health of] their family and friends. What opportunities do you believe a PE teacher has that other teachers may not? I have the privilege [of teaching] the entire student body — kindergarten through sixth grade, including our SPED (special education) students. I get to challenge the students’ minds through physical activity. I am able to create curriculum that complements classroom work. I am able to help students build connections to math, language arts and science through physical education. I also get the opportunity to be a positive role model. Possibly, in some student situations, I am the

only positive male role model they interact with on a daily basis. I am able to use one of many students’ favorite subjects to teach kindness and respect for their bodies, themselves and others. How do you encourage children who don’t love PE classes? My philosophy for children who don’t like PE class is, they don’t like it yet. Students who don’t like PE are my favorite students, because they challenge me to understand what it is they don’t like. To me, those particular students help me to improve. What are the specific challenges of teaching kids who are homeless or refugees? Students in transition who attend Crockett are treated just like every other student at our school: equally. Our school has a McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act liaison who works with the homeless shelter. Our counselors and psychologist help the families, teachers and students adjust to a new reality. McKinney-Vento students also carry adverse childhood experiences [exposure to stressful or traumatic events including abuse and neglect], which play a part in how they learn and adapt at school. Crockett has implemented a mindfulness program on campus that helps all students deal with stress, anxiety, anger or frustration. Having mindfulness on our campus has been key to dealing with some of the situations our students are experiencing. Poverty is a reality many of your students face. How do you deal with that as a teacher? Yes, Crockett hosts students facing poverty. However, in my opinion, poverty is a word my students don’t fully comprehend. That is what I enjoy about teaching elementary. I have an awesome opportunity to develop confidence at a young age. I strive to introduce a wide spectrum of activities where students can be successful. It is my job to provide opportunities where students can try new things and open themselves up to successes and failures — and more importantly, learn from their failures. My students have big dreams, and like every human, they want to be successful, respected and valued. My physical education program brings a three-dimensional approach to learning which can host a multitude of opportunities and choices for my students to guide themselves to being successful.

What advice would you give a new teacher? Stay true to your passion. Challenges bring change, and change is what we need in education. Be the change [you’d] like to see. What’s the biggest challenge the education system is facing today? Teacher retention. Not only has it become difficult to keep a teacher, but it is equally challenging to recruit teachers. Arizona has over 1,000 teacher positions unfilled and has lost almost 500 teachers this year alone. I believe there are many reasons why, but one significant reason is Arizona is dead last in the country when it comes to teacher pay. Our elected officials have the power and control to change this, and it is vital that we are informed and involved in our local elections. I do believe there are also some amazing things happening in education. There are passionate teachers, local officials and local business leaders invested [in] making a better tomorrow for the teaching profession and ultimately the success of our children. Do you have a proudest moment in dealing with a student or students that you can share? I’ve had many proud moments in dealing with students. However, I’m not sure if my proudest has happened yet. The day-to-day progress students make as they master a new skill is rewarding. I’ve also seen former students excel in middle school or high school sports or academics and come back to Crockett to say hello and share their accomplishments. Those are proud moments for a teacher. I was recently invited by a former student to attend her last home volleyball game, senior night. Not only did she secure a starting spot on the varsity team, but she has also received letters of intent from Northern Arizona University and Grand Canyon University for academic scholarships. She was in sixth grade when I first met her and taught her and coached her. She is so talented and so kind. Her family are all refugees from Africa, now here in Phoenix. She’s pretty amazing. What are your goals for the future? To be the best I can be, and to be better than I was yesterday. My students, their families and my colleagues deserve it.

How can parents can help a child succeed in school? One of the most powerful ways I believe a parent can help a child succeed in school is to love them unconditionally and support them in their passions, whatever they may be. One of my favorite quotes is from [Brazilian educator and philosopher] Paulo Freire: “Education either functions as an instrument, which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and brings about conformity, or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means of which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of the world.” Margaret Beardsley, of Phoenix, is a staff writer and former television news executive producer. She is the mother of two adult children.

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JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com




By Dani Horn



ESSICA SWARNER is not a parent. But two things prompted her interest in helping parents better understand social media trends and ways to keep children safe online. While brainstorming for her honors thesis for Arizona State University’s Barrett, the Honors College, Swarner heard about the murder of a young girl linked to someone the girl had been corresponding with on social media. “There was a news story that broke out about a 13-year-old girl in Virginia who had been using the Kik messenger app, and she decided to meet up with someone she met on there, which we all know is never a good thing,’’ says Swarner, a 21-year-old Maryland native and recent ASU grad. “The thing that really struck me was that her parents had never heard of Kik before and had no idea she was using it and were completely blindsided.” Swarner immediately thought about her teenage sister, and realized her parents also would have been blindsided. That’s when she decided to help all parents better understand the online landscape. “My sister was in high school at that time and was using Kik, and I knew my parents didn’t know what it was,” Swarner recalls. “That just seemed like such a problem to me — that kids were using these apps that parents had no idea about. I had been doing some research with mobile phone attachment and hacking groups, so I was already really interested in tech.” Having worked as a research assistant in an ASU cyberpsychology lab, Swarner had the background to create a one-stop parenting resource about online trends and kids’ behaviors. That’s when Parenting in the Digital Age (parentingdigitalage.com) was born. She continues to run the website while working fulltime as a social media moderator and doing cyber security research and freelance writing for an Arizona tech website. Parenting in the Digital Age features social media app comparisons and offers suggestions on how to increase security and privacy, from the “big four” of social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat — to many lesser-known messaging and video chat apps such as LINE and Ask.fm, an anonymous, question-based app that has been criticized as an easy facilitator for cyberbullying. Swarner writes a weekly blog that details online trends and news that affects teens and young adults. Her latest concern is about Instagram’s effect on body image. “There have been studies that have shown that girls have been significantly more impacted than boys by social media influence in terms of body image and self esteem,” says Swarner. “It’s frustrating, because I feel like a lot of teens see these fitness accounts and Instagram

Jessica Swarner and her younger sister Julianna (17) at ASU graduation in May.

models, and they might not see them the same way they see celebrities on TV and magazines. They see that and think, ‘Oh well, she’s a celebrity, and this commercial is set up, and she has professional hair and makeup and photoshop.’ But with Instagram, they might be thinking, ‘This is a real photo, this is a real person. Why don’t I look like that?’. That disconnect between not knowing that Instagram models are also celebs can be hurtful.” Swarner’s ad-free site offers advice on creating a family technology and media plan and also produces videos featuring industry experts and advocates for online safety, plus other online resources. “I think it’s important that there’s a resource out there that’s not tied to a paid product or ad, and that really does have [parents’] best interests in mind. I want to offer information that they want and that is helpful and makes them feel more confident and more empowered in making decisions regarding their children’s safety.”

raisingarizonakids.com JANUARY 2018


Q&A with JESSICA SWARNER set up rules before you give your child a phone so they know what to do going forward as opposed to handing down rules as time goes on and confusing them.

At what age should parents start talking to kids about online behavior? I think the younger the better when it come to talking to kids. [Young kids] may not be on social media, but they are playing games like Minecraft, and even there it’s important to start reinforcing values of kindness or to teach them that you do not give out any personal information online.

With so many different social media apps, how do you determine what is popular with fickle kids? There are a lot of good tech websites like The Verge [theverge. com], and they are very tuned in to the business side of social media, so whenever there’s an app that’s growing in numbers or getting more investment, they’ll write about it, and that lets me know if there’s a big spike [in usage] for an app and if a lot of it is teens.

How can parents model their own behavior to discourage Internet overconsumption? It’s important that parents act in the same way that they expect their children to behave — that’s with anything, of course, but online especially. If you don’t want kids on their phones at dinner or bedtime, then parents should be doing the same thing. It is really hard when parents need to be on laptops or phones for work, but it’s important to take time to step back and check your usage time and to try and limit the time that you spend online in front of the kids.

What social media apps are best for parents to monitor kids’ online behavior? Facebook is the probably the easiest to monitor, because it’s kind of accepted that people are friends with their family. But honestly, a lot of teens don’t feel like Facebook is cool anymore, so they’re not going to post things that they would on other sites. I know a lot of parents have Instagram, and they all friend their kids, but there is a trend making Finsta, or fake Instagrams, where they only friend their close friends and then they feel more open to post [anything].

What do you think is the right age for social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram? That’s tough, but I think it’s every parent’s choice, and it depends on a kid’s maturity level. Technically you are supposed to be 13 to use Facebook and Instagram, so I would say definitely at least that old. But I do know some parents let their kids use it much younger than that.

How can parents encourage kids to come to them when something questionable happens online—rather than hiding it? It’s important to take a proactive approach before anything happens. Maybe when you’re helping your kid set up a new account, you can have a conversation that if they see something online, whether it’s bullying — or especially if it’s a threat — let them know that it’s very important to report things like that.

What do you think is the right age for a cell phone? I can understand kids being younger and having a phone, especially if they are maybe switching between parents’ homes or doing after school programs and they need to let [parents] know if something ends early or if they need to stay late. But even then, you can still put a lot of restrictions on phones. Giving a child a phone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re opening up the whole world of the Internet. But it’s a good idea to


JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com

How can parents help kids deal with online bullying? Help kids understand how to block people if they need to, and encourage them to talk if either they themselves experience cyberbullying or if they see cyberbullying happening, because a lot of times kids are afraid to talk about it, because they feel embarrassed that they’re being targeted.


How do you think online bullying differs from traditional face-to-face bullying? I think with anonymous apps there is a huge difference. With regular bullying kids know who is targeting them and kind of [know] how to avoid that person. If they are putting themselves on these anonymous apps and they are getting this hate, they don’t even know where or who it’s coming from.

What actions should parents take if they become aware of a stranger trying to contact their child online? Be aware of features on apps and sites that show how to prevent strangers from contacting them in the first place. [Then explain why it’s important to block a stranger and not engage.] Make sure your children know to never answer a stranger or agree to meet up with someone in person. It’s even important that they not talk about their school on their profile or their age and things like that. What’s something parents should keep in mind when setting rules for social media use? Most researchers agree that being too forward about monitoring kids in the beginning can actually be detrimental, because it reduces trust in them right off the bat. Kids need a sense of trust and privacy between them and their parents, but [monitoring] is definitely understandable. If kids’ behavior changes, [and parents see things] like grades going down, if they start feeling tired or withdrawn or giving signs that something’s not right, then that might be a good time to step in with monitoring software or to do things like friend your kid’s account and make sure to have their passwords. Any new online trends that parents should know about? I think it’s really important for parents to know that there are actually pro-eating-disorder accounts on Instagram now. These are communities within Instagram that promote eating disorders and even go so far as having the admin hold followers accountable for not eating that day. It’s really hard to look at, because they post pictures of emaciated girls with the hashtag bodygoals. Staff writer Dani Horn is the mother of Victoria (11) and Remy (8).


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raisingarizonakids.com JANUARY 2018



Getting your act together?



MOMS HAVE MINIMAL time and maximum stress. We have bills to pay, medical appointments to schedule, kids to pick up, lunches to pack, laundry to fold and — every once in a while — friends to catch up with. Fortunately, most of us have smartphones, and the right apps can help with everything from scheduling and staying organized to finding the nearest clean restroom for a potty-training toddler. Here are 12 smart apps to make life slightly less stressful.

MomsIntoFitness. Lindsay Brin instructs a class.

FitFusion. Access thousand of workouts (beginner to advanced) with this sweat-busting app created by “The Biggest Loser’s” Jillian Michaels. It offers inspirational videos and a variety of workouts: high-intensity interval training, Pilates, barre yoga, kickboxing, dance and more. $9.99 per month on Apple and Android devices. MomsIntoFitness. This workout app was created specifically for pregnancy and postnatal workouts. Access videos, track workout progress and get advice for maintaining pregnancy weight and shedding those extra baby pounds after birth. Free on Apple and Android devices.

Yogaglo. This app will have you saying “namaste” just about anywhere you can roll out a yoga mat. Search thousands of different yoga classes and tutorials by type, skill level and duration. You can also create a custom routine with the help of yoga experts and track your daily goals and activities. $22.99 per month on Apple and Android devices.


JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com



ContinuousCare. This app keeps track of your family’s health information and appointments in one convenient place. You can store medical records, get answers to health questions from healthcare professionals and keep up with treatment plans. If your doctor uses the VirtualPractice app, you can even schedule a virtual follow-up appointment. Free on Apple and Android devices. Keepy. Create and keep a digital version of your kids’ artwork, mementos and schoolwork. Share their work with friends and family members who can comment and even add voice notes. Keep timelines for each of your children and order books, canvasses or mugs printed with their designs and drawings. Free on Apple and Android devices. Totalbaby. This app is a new parent’s dream. Log and track feedings, diaper changes, sleep schedules, doctor visits and more. Vaccination reminders and graphical charts make it very user friendly, and it comes with unlimited data storage. Free on Android devices.


Organize special drawings with Keepy.


Find a restroom right away when you’re on the go with the SitOrSquat app.

Playground Buddy. Find a nearby playground or park wherever you are. Learn what types of play structures are available, see photos and set up playdates with friends via shareable links to park directions and amenities. You can even add a previously unlisted park or playground. Free on Apple and Android devices.

Mountable photos from Mixtiles.

DECORATE IT! Mixtiles. This app lets you order mountable photo tiles instantly — straight from your phone. Decorating your home is easy with these mountable tiles, which cause no damage to walls and can quickly be moved from room to room. Three tiles are $49.99 including shipping. The app is free on Apple and Android devices. Paperless Post. Send eCards and invitations with the touch of a button. Use the app’s beautiful, pre-set designs (including Oscar de la Renta and Kate Spade) or customize invitations with a photo and personal color palette. You can also manage your event with RSVP tracking and guest-list tools. Free on Apple devices. VarageSale. Buy and sell unwanted clothing, toys and other household items. A review process is conducted on sellers before they can post items, adding a layer of protection not available on Craigslist. Take a photo of what you’re selling and post it instantly rather than taking on the work of a garage sale. Free on Apple and Android devices.

SitOrSquat. Charmin created this app so families on the go can quickly find a nearby restroom. A rating system identifies cleaner bathrooms with a green “sit” marker and assigns a red, “squat” marker for lesssanitary pit stops. It provides pictures, too, and you can add, rate and review new and existing restrooms or search for specifics from baby-changing tables to handicapped access. Free on Apple and Android devices. MomsPumpHere. This handy international app lists more than 5,000 breastfeeding-friendly locations complete with ratings and reviews. You can also get helpful daily tips on everything from baby care to parenting and postpregnancy advice. 99 cents on Apple and Android devices. Staff writer Dani Horn is the mother of Victoria (11) and Remy (8).

raisingarizonakids.com JANUARY 2018




INSTANT POT change your life? By Liz Petroff

Pressure Cookers are back! Instant Pot has won a following as busy moms struggle to make “real” food faster. Calendar Editor Liz Petroff bought her own and put the trend to the test.


m not one to jump on a bandwagon when it comes to trends. I actually have to watch the bandwagon for a few laps before I decide to hop on. That’s how it was for me with Instant Pot. I read several blogs and Instagram stories and talked with friends who tried out this new seven-in-1 appliance. Then, I dragged my feet. If I’m going to bring another appliance into my kitchen, it has to be worth the precious counter space. There seem to be two main reactions to Instant Pot: love or hate. The split is what finally pushed me to test it. First, I bought “How To Instant Pot” and a recipe book. Then I researched products. There are several other brands and styles of this modern pressure cooker that range from $40-$150, but I decided to buy the 6-quart V3 name brand. At one point in the learning process, my husband joked that I brought a bomb-making appliance into our home. I’ll admit, I had a huge fear of operator misuse and visions of exploding dinners. In a nutshell, Instant Pot has seven cooking functions: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker and warmer. All are guaranteed to help prepare dinners faster, easier, smarter and healthier. The pressure cooker function requires some reading. It’s the opposite of a slow cooker, and there are three main steps to cooking foods at hotter and faster temperatures: the time it takes to reach the desired temperature, the cook time and the cool-down process (releasing the pressure). This is what can be frustrating. I noticed a lot of first-time users expected the entire meal to be ready to eat in what is actually just the cooking time. The pressure valve is an extremely important element. It sits


JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com

loosely - something I didn’t feel comfortable with at first but felt reassured after researching it a bit. Several warning tags come attached. If it is not positioned correctly at the time of cooking, things can go very wrong, but I managed to get it right. The first recipe I set out to make was a roasted chicken … in about an hour. Low and behold, it was as easy as they said. The recipes called for sautéing the chicken first, in the pot. I then prepared the appliance for pressure cooking, and 50 minutes later, it was done. I patiently waited another 15 minutes for the pressure to naturally release, and dinner was ready! (I should mention I completed this task all while monitoring fourth-grade math homework.) The days following my first successful meal included a pot roast, which I shredded and used for Philly sandwiches. I also mastered Instant Pot rice and hard-boiled eggs. All are things that we eat regularly. And I used the sautéing and slow-cooker functions to brown ground turkey and make chili. How did everything taste? No complaints. The chicken was juicy, and the pot roast was tender. The rice was fluffy, and the hard-boiled eggs really were easier to peel. I wouldn’t say the Instant Pot is lifechanging, but it certainly makes prepping dinner easier to manage. Cooking real food faster gives this always-at-sports-practice-orrehearsal-or-volunteering working mom more options and satisfies my family’s hunger pangs fairly quickly! Calendar Editor Liz Petroff of Phoenix is the mother of Jack (9) and Lucy (7). Have any favorite parenting hacks? Send them to liz@RAKmagazine.com.

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family time! TOP JANUARY EVENTS By Liz Petroff

Welcome new beginnings. Welcome resolutions. January is filled with ways you and your family can meet goals and try new things. Whether you’ve been training for a marathon that rocks, or want to spend more time appreciating the arts, the Valley has some amazing events that will leave you and your family feeling refreshed and glowing to start off 2018!

Find more extensive day-by-day event listings at raisingarizonakids.com/calendar

JAN. 1 First Day Hikes. Looking to start the New Year off in good health? Take a hike! “First Day Hikes” are part of a nationwide initiative by America’s state parks to encourage people to get outdoors. On New Year’s Day, hundreds of free, guided hikes are offered around the country. For a complete listing visit americanhiking.org or azstateparks.com/fdh


JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com

JAN. 6 Glitter and Glow Block Party. Enjoy more than a million dazzling holiday lights and two dozen hot-air balloons glowing throughout historic downtown Glendale. This block party includes musical performances and food and is the last opportunity to see Glendale’s holiday light display. 4-10 p.m. Murphy Park, 7010 N. 58th St., Glendale. 623-930-2299 or glendaleaz.com



JAN. 6 AND 20

JAN. 12-27

Downtown Mesa Festival of the Arts. Formerly known as the Mesa Arts and Crafts Festival, this Saturday event features unique creations, music and fun for the whole family. 2-8 p.m. Free. dtmesafest.com

Arizona Bach Festival. Four concerts over three weekends celebrate the works of Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach, including world-renowned organist Dexter Kennedy and duo pianists Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia. Concert times and locations vary. arizonabachfestival.org

JAN. 7 Resolution Run 5K. Waste no time making your New Year health resolution count. Enjoy the scenic views of Papago Park behind the Phoenix Zoo and the canal path behind the Desert Botanical Garden. Families and strollers welcome. 9 a.m. $40. Papago Park ramadas 9 and 10, 625 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. 480-609-3978 or fieldworksevents.com








Itty Bitty Open. The Junior Golf Association of Arizona hosts this event at 16 Valley locations. Free and open to ages 3-5, the event features clinics where juniors and their parents learn the basics of golf taught by qualified PGA C K. OO and LPGA professionals. Then, kids EB C A F participate in non-competitive games. An adult “caddie” must accompany each golfer, who will receive a set of plastic golf clubs, balls, a bag and a visor. Prizes will be given for the “Best Dressed Golfer and Caddie Team.” Winners get tickets for the R.S. Hoyt Jr. Dream Day Activities at the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Pre-register at 602.944.6168 or jgaa.org


JAN. 13

JAN. 12-14 Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon. This year marks the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon’s 15th anniversary. Enjoy a Health and Fitness Expo at the Phoenix Convention Center Friday and Saturday, a new 1-mile fun run Friday night, a 5K and Kids Run on Saturday and the marathon, half marathon and 10K on Sunday. Live bands, cheerleaders and thousands of spectators help motivate runners, who can relax at the finish line and enjoy a post-race Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Series featuring headliner band Everclear. Race registrations $20-$115. Start and finish lines in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe. runrocknroll.com

JAN. 13-15 ACE Comic Con Arizona. Fans can experience everything the superhero world has to offer. ACE Universe brings the best of film, gaming, virtual reality, guest speakers, collectibles and comics and more all under one roof. Appearances by Stan Lee, Chris Evans (Captain America) and Tom Holland (Spider-Man) Noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m to 7 p.m Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday. $44-$55; free for ages 10 and younger. Gila River Arena, 9400 W. Maryland Ave., Glendale. aceuniverse.com

raisingarizonakids.com JANUARY 2018



Martin Luther King Jr. Day March and Festival. Celebrate the legacy of Dr. King. The 9 a.m. march begins at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, 1401 E. Jefferson St. in Phoenix, and concludes at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1200 N. Third St., with a festival that offers food, entertainment and speakers. Free. 602-513-8311 or azmlk.org

National Popcorn Day. Why not celebrate it at a movie theater or by popping a healthy snack.


JAN. 15

Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair. Hot-air balloon mass ascension, night glow, sky divers, arts and crafts, antique and classic cars, carnival rides, dog shows, kids events, kite balloon rides (tethered and untethered), live entertainment and more. Gates open at 6 a.m. $15; free for ages 14 and younger. Nautical Beachfront Resort, 1040 McCulloch Blvd. N., Lake Havasu City. havasuballoonfest.com.



JAN. 19-21

National Winnie-the-Pooh Day. Happy Birthday A.A. Milne! Today is the perfect day to snuggle up with your favorite Pooh Bear (and a pot of honey) and read the adventures of Winnie the Pooh.


JAN. 18

JAN. 18-21 Disney on Ice Presents Follow Your Heart. This new ice-skating extravaganza features favorite Disney characters. Keep swimming with Dory, venture to a wintery world with Olaf, celebrate friendship with Buzz and Woody, cheer along with the Inside Out emotions, and see Cinderella, Rapunzel and Ariel make dreams come true. 7 p.m. Thursday, 10:30 a.m and 7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m., 3 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday; noon and 4 p.m. Sunday. $22 and up. Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. 800-745-3000 or disneyonice.com


JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com

JAN. 20 Doggie Street Festival. A festive adopt-a-thon and pet celebration that brings joy to deserving animals. Friendly pets and owners can discover favorite pet products and services and join the fun of all things pets. Enjoy yummy treats, a kids area and entertainment. 10 a.m. Free. Steele Indian School Park, 300 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. doggiestreetfestival.org


National Pie Day.

JAN. 26-28 Arizona Balloon Classic. This is Arizona’s premier hot-air balloon race and festival. The morning sky will be filled with more than 30 colorful hot-air balloons, and during evenings, tethered hot-air balloons glow in time to music. This event also features a family-fun zone, tethered rides, entertainment, festival food and shopping. Spectators can walk on the field to experience balloon inflation and lift off. $15; free to active military and ages 12 and younger. Parking is $5. Prices vary for balloon rides. Goodyear Ballpark, 1933 S. Ballpark Way. abcfest.com

C on t u s to a c t v a c l a i s it s s!

Discover the joy of making music together with your family!


Find a location near you in the Valley of the Sun. www.musictogether.com/GreaterPhoenix

JAN. 27 Connect2Stem. This free event aims to inspire kids, ages 4 to 16, to think about careers in science, technology, engineering, math and medicine. Kids can try more than 100 hands-on activities, including the Wildcat Play Hospital, the Wildcat Water Lab and the Da Vinci surgery robot. 10 a.m to 3 p.m. Free. University of Arizona College of Medicine, 550 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix. azscitech.com or phoenixmed.arizona.edu Calendar Editor Liz Petroff of Phoenix is the mother of Jack (9) and Lucy (7). Send event info to liz@RAKmagazine.com.

raisingarizonakids.com JANUARY 2018



“Downtown Jazz Festival” (Jan. 15) in Tucson.

See various minerals like this Peacock Ore at “Mineral Madness Sale and Family Fun” (Jan. 13-14) in Tucson.

FLAGSTAFF Holiday Riordan Mansion Tours (through Jan. 2). For the holidays, the mansion is decorated in turn-of-thecentury style with wreaths, garlands, greenery and a towering fir trimmed with old-fashioned ornaments. 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Tuesday-Wednesday. $10; $5 for ages 7-13; free for ages 6 and younger. Riordan Mansion State Historic Park, 409 W. Riordan Road, Flagstaff. 928-779-4395 or azstateparks.com

LAKE HAVASU CITY Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair (Jan. 19-21). Hot-air balloon mass ascension, night glow, sky divers, arts and crafts, antique and classic cars, carnival rides, dog shows, kids events, kite balloon rides (tethered and untethered), live entertainment and more. Gates open at 6 a.m. $15; free for ages 14 and younger. Nautical Beachfront Resort, 1040 McCulloch Blvd. N., Lake Havasu City. havasuballoonfest.com Grand Canyon Pro Rodeo Association & Little Delbert Days (Jan. 27-28). Old-time country fair and rodeo that includes gold panning,


JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com

roping arena, fishing hole, petting zoo, mechanical bull, cutest cowboy and cowgirl contests and barrel races. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $15; free for ages 15 and younger. golakehavasu.com

TUCSON Dillinger Days (Jan. 19-20). The weekend begins with the 7 p.m. Friday Dillinger Speakeasy, followed by familyfriendly festivities 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday that include re-enactments of Dillinger’s capture, vintage car shows, live music, tours of the Hotel Congress and downtown walking tours. Free. Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., Tucson. 520-622-8848 or hotelcongress.com Mineral Madness Sale and Family Fun (Jan. 13-14). Dig in! Minerals, fossils and gemstones for sale, jewelry demonstrations, family activities and free rock and mineral samples for children. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $16.96 for Arizona residents; $8.95 for ages 3-12; free for ages 2 and younger. ArizonaSonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road, Tucson. 520-883-2702 or desertmuseum.org


family time! around arizona

Downtown Jazz Fiesta (Jan. 15). A free outdoor concert with multiple stages, indoors and out. Ticketed acts during World-Class Jazz week in Tucson (Jan. 11-21) include Sheila E., and Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. Jazz Fiesta is 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in downtown Tucson. tucsonjazzfestival.org

WILLCOX Wings Over Willcox Birding & Nature Festival (Jan. 11-14). Nature expo with educational booths, seminars, workshops, excursions, field trips and bird watching. Times and fees vary. Willcox Community Center, 312 W. Stewart St. 800-200-2272 or wingsoverwillcox.com

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raisingarizonakids.com JANUARY 2018


family time! onstage “Disney on Ice Presents Follow Your Heart” (Jan. 218-21) at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

Zoppe - An Italian Family Circus (Dec. 27-Jan. 7). An old-world Italian traditional circus performed in one ring. $15-$40. Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave. 480-782-2680 or chandlercenter.org Cinderella (Dec. 27-Jan. 21). The classic story of true love and a glass slipper, performed with elegant hand puppets. 10 a.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $10; $7 ages 12 and younger. Great Arizona Puppet Theater, 302 W. Latham St., Phoenix. 602-262-2050 or azpuppets.org Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Concert (Jan. 5-7). The Harry Potter film concert series continues. Experience John Williams’ legendary score performed by the Phoenix Symphony as the complete film is projected above the orchestra. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 1 p.m. Saturday,


JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com

2 p.m. Sunday. $30-$99. Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second St. 602-495-1999 or phoenixsymphony.org Willie Nelson and Family (Jan. 3). Singer-songwriter Willie Nelson celebrates a six-decade career and more than 200 albums with a live concert. 7:30 p.m. $72-$132. Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd St., Phoenix. 602-2671600 or celebritytheatre.com Monty Python’s Spamalot (Jan. 12-Feb. 11). A musical lovingly taken right from the film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Follow King Arthur and a band of misfit knights on their quest. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $22-28. Desert Stages Theatre, 4720 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. 480-483-1664 or desertstages.org Romeo and Juliet (Jan. 12-27). One of Shakespeare’s most enduring plays,

presented by Southwest Shakespeare Company. $27-$47. Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St. 480-644-6500 or mesaartscenter.com Arizona Bach Festival (Jan. 12-27). Four concerts over three weekends celebrate the works of Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach. World-renowned organist Dexter Kennedy opens the festival with a recital of Bach masterpieces and duo pianists Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia conclude the festival with Bach’s complete “The Art of Fugue.” Concert times and locations vary Friday-Sunday. arizonabachfestival.org Disney on Ice Presents Follow Your Heart (Jan. 18-21). This new iceskating extravaganza features favorite Disney characters. Keep swimming with Dory, venture to a wintery world with Olaf, celebrate friendship with

Buzz and Woody, cheer along with the Inside Out emotions and see Cinderella, Rapunzel and Ariel make dreams come true. 7 p.m. Thursday, 10:30 a.m and 7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m., 3 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday; noon and 4 p.m. Sunday. $22 and up. Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. 800-745-3000 or disneyonice.com The Price is Right Live (Jan. 20). Come on down! This interactive stage show gives audience members a chance to win prizes. Play classic games from the TV show, including the Big Wheel. 4 and 8 p.m. $30-60. Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler. 480-782-2680 or chandlercenter.org or thepriceisrightlive.com Cinderella’s Ball (Jan. 21). A special event for princesses and princes. After the puppetry performance of “Cinderella,” stay for games, snacks,

the magic that is

See Dexter Kennedy at the “Arizona Bach Festival” (Jan. 12-27).




activities, prizes and a special guest. 2-4 p.m. $20. Great Arizona Puppet Theater, 302 W. Latham St., Phoenix. 602-262-2050 or azpuppets.org The Snowy Day and Other Stories (Jan. 21-March 11). Childsplay’s musical is about the joys and challenges of growing up and the magic and boundless possibilities of the first snowfall, based on the book by Ezra Jack Keats. 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday. $12-$30. Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe. 480921-5700 or childsplayaz.org Little Dino’s Baby Tooth (Jan. 24-28). Little Dino is scared to lose his very first tooth. Luckily, his friend Maisy the butterfly helps ease his fears and teaches him how to take care of his teeth. 10 a.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $10; $7 ages 12 and younger. Great Arizona Puppet Theater, 302 W. Latham St., Phoenix. 602-262-2050 or azpuppets.org

Legally Blonde The Musical (Jan. 26-Feb. 4). Elle Woods tackles stereotypes and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. $15 Starlight Community Theater, 1611 W. Whispering Wind, Phoenix. starlightcommunitytheater.com Melanie, Friends, and Family: An Evening of Songs and Stories (Jan. 27). Known for her voice in the Woodstock era, Melanie has lived a rare life and is back sharing the stories of her scattered career with a new generation. 7:30 p.m. $38.50-$43.50. Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix. 480-478-6000 or mim.org Young Musicians Winter Concert (Jan. 28). Listen to the stars of tomorrow, today! This concert features some of the best young classical talent in Arizona. 2 p.m. $23.50. Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix. 480-478-6000 or mim.org

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raisingarizonakids.com JANUARY 2018


family time! last-chance holiday events

December is so busy that it’s hard to take in all the holiday festivities. You can still catch these holiday events! CitySkate Ice Rink (through Jan. 7). All ages. Frozen rink, holiday lights, music and hot chocolate for sale. Hours vary. $15 includes skates, $30 express pass online. CityScape Phoenix, between First Avenue and First Street and Washington and Jefferson streets. 602-772-3900 or cityskatephx.com. Glendale Glitters Spectacular (through Jan. 6). This holiday light display boasts more than 1.5 million lights throughout sixteen blocks of historic downtown Glendale. Enjoy holiday entertainment, food, crafts and horse-drawn carriage rides. Free. Murphy Park, 58th and Glendale avenues. 623-930-2299 or glendaleaz.com Holiday Lights at McCormickStillman Railroad Park (through Jan. 7). Ride the train through holiday displays 6:30-9 p.m. nightly (except Dec. 4, 24-25 and 31). $5 train and $2 carousel rides; free for ages


JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com


Snow Week (Dec. 26-Jan. 1) at Arizona Science Center.

2 and younger with paying adult. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, 7301 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale. 480-312-2312 or therailroadpark.com Illumination: Symphony of Light (through Jan. 14). This one-mile long driving attraction immerses visitors in millions of holiday lights synchronized to joyful holiday classics. $29.50$32 per car. 27701 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix. Illuminationaz.com Lights of the World (through Jan. 2). This international festival combines the Chinese tradition of lantern festivals with modern technology and lights, plus carnival rides, games and acrobatics performances. $18; $15 ages 3-13; free for ages 2 and younger. Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix. lightsoftheworldus.com Merry Main Street Winter Wonderland Ice Rink (through Jan. 5). Outdoor ice skating at City Plaza is $10, including skates and an hour of skate time. 5-10 p.m. weekdays, noon to 10 p.m. weekends; closed Christmas. 20 E. Main St., Mesa. 480-644-6500


Skate Westgate (through Jan. 7) at Westgate Entertainment District.

or merrymainst.com Skate Westgate (through Jan. 7). Westgate Entertainment District offers outdoor ice skating on real ice. All skill levels welcome. Hours vary. $11-$15. 6751 N. Sunset Blvd., Glendale. 623385-7502 or westgateaz.com Snow Week (through Jan. 1). The Arizona Science Center covers the grassy hill near its entrance with 60 tons of real snow. Enjoy snow play, snow-related science demonstrations and kid-friendly activities at Heritage and Science Park. Admission is $18; $13 for ages 3-17. Arizona Science Center, 600 E. Washington St., Phoenix. 602-7162000 or azscience.org

The Polar Express (through Jan. 6). Magical train ride based on the Chris Van Allsburg classic. 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. train departures; 3:30 p.m. on select dates. $31-$53; packages available for meals and hotel stay. Grand Canyon Railway, 233 N. Grand Canyon Blvd., Williams. 800-222-6966. thetrain.com ZooLights (through Jan. 14). Millions of lights shine throughout the Phoenix Zoo, along with a three-story holiday tree, carousel and camel rides, lakeside music-in-motion shows and nightly snowfall. 5:30-10:30 p.m. (snowfall at 7 p.m.) nightly. $10.95-$19.95. Phoenix Zoo, 455 Galvin Parkway. 602914-4333 or phoenixzoo.org

Raising aRizona Kids magazine's

15th Anniversary


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raisingarizonakids.com JANUARY 2018


behind the ’zine

It’s about


Karen Davis Barr, Publisher karen@RAKmagazine.com


AT NO OTHER time of year do we spend so much time thinking about, well, time. The start of a new year is bittersweet, filled with hope for the future and twinges of regret about the past. It’s a time for reflection and planning. A touchpoint: How well am I doing my life? Resolutions to do better. For me, this past year has been full of reminders that time is limited. I watched my mother mourn the loss of her beloved younger sister to a horrible disease that stole her ability to move her beautiful, balletic body or speak the words of love she so abundantly shared throughout her life. I watched my husband grieve the loss of his mother to another slow-moving and insidious disease. Dan and I spent a good part of last summer clearing out his mother’s home, combing through thousands of photographs and feeling the weight of stories we never heard. Some reminders were happy. We celebrated as our youngest son, David, turned 30. As our son Andy and his wife bought their first house. As my niece headed off to college. And as my stepfather — the fine man I call “the father of my adult years” — turned 90. He and my 83-year-old mother celebrated their 31st anniversary. The date holds special meaning for me, too: I found out I was pregnant with David the day before their 1986

JANUARY 2018 raisingarizonakids.com

wedding. I was so focused on my own emotions, and the understandable stress of two families coming together for the first time for a Thanksgiving meal in my backyard, that I failed to fully appreciate just how much I had to be thankful for that year. Over the past three decades, as I have raised and released two sons, started and sustained a business and tried (with varying degrees of success) to be a wife, mother, mother-in-law, daughter, sister, friend and boss, I have often felt life passing by in a blur of incessant doing. I was always moving, rarely taking time to pause and embrace the moment. Now I find myself craving time — to process, to appreciate, to reflect, to try my hand at new creative challenges. So in 2018, as my “third baby” (this magazine) enters its 29th year, I am giving Mama a break. I am stepping back my day-to-day responsibilities, taking on more of a consulting role as I train and mentor others to be in charge. It still says “publisher” by my name on the masthead. My husband and I still own the magazine, and we’ll continue to be its biggest fans and supporters. But I have a capable and dedicated staff committed to the current and future success of our company. They deserve a chance to make some decisions on their own, to follow their own ideas. I’m excited — and ready — to give change a try.


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Arizona’s best care put Brayden back in the game. Brayden’s dreams of playing in the Little League World Series were almost dashed for good the day he tore his ACL. Just 12 years old and still growing, traditional ACL surgery was out of the question. Fortunately for Brayden, his doctor referred him to Phoenix Children’s. With a nationally ranked sports medicine department, Brayden got the expertise he needed. Just six months after his delicate operation, Brayden was released for all activities. He’s been running strong ever since.

Arizona’s best pediatric care, from routine to rare.


Profile for Michelle-Renee Adams

January 2018  

January 2018