The Traveling Sisterhood

Flash in the Past, An Amazing Downtown Experience #Fashion #OldHollywood

If you want an amazing experience, you need a photo shoot with Flash in the Past! One of the absolute coolest things I have ever done.

Local 14 Year Old Author's New Fantasy Series: Come and Visit Unicorn Ranch

Last year, our then 13-year-old daughter published her first chapter book, Unicorn Ranch! After receiving raving reviews, she decided to write a sequel which has just been released.

Back Cover Synopsis for Book 1: When Amy has to move to a new city, she never imagines the adventures in store for her. New friends, a faraway journey, and a lost princess quickly weave themselves into the story of her new life. And it all begins at ... Unicorn Ranch! Perfect for girls ages 7 and up. If you want to support our budding author and also show your kiddos they can do anything they set their minds to, you can buy it on Amazon here. Shipping is free with Prime!

My daughter was instantly pulled into this book and couldn’t put it down!! 

We LOVE this book! Hope there will be more books by this young talented author!

My daughter loved the book, she read it in two days and couldn't put it down. Hope to see more stories soon.

My oldest got it in the mail yesterday and devoured it on the way to Mass and then re-read it on the way home. She really enjoyed it! She laughed aloud in several parts and there were a lot of, "Wait; listen to this..." portions she shared with us... She was relieved to hear there is another book in the series coming out soon.

The book arrived yesterday. I read my daughter one chapter before bed - she begged for more so I read another two. She was enjoying it so much I suggested she take it up to bed with her. She has never done that before or been interested in reading on her own before, other than poetry. My husband found her under the covers with the flashlight reading late last night, and she came downstairs this morning proudly telling us she had read a few more chapters. I can’t tell you how huge this is!! She has so many special needs that makes reading challenging for her, yet I have always hoped that she would one day discover wanting to read and the pleasure there is in not wanting to put a book down because you are enjoying it so much. This book has done that for her. It is the perfect book for a reluctant young reader as the story is engaging yet easily read, with short chapters and words, if you don’t know them, that challenge yet don’t frustrate, because they are spaced out enough between the more easy to read words that the story can flow even if you have to skip a word here and there. I hope this young author is busy writing her next novel!

Party at the International Wildlife Museum! #Tucson #TravelArizona

Special thanks to the wonderful people at the International Wildlife Museum for providing my bestie with a party discount to facilitate this post!

Over the weekend, I piled up the Kia with Mema, a coupla presents, four excited kiddos, and my also-admittedly-excited self to head to the Catalina foothills and attend the coolest kid's party I've ever been to!  The party was hosted by the International Wildlife Museum, and the staff did such an incredible job of accommodating us and helping us pull everything together.

Every kiddo there was smiling and laughing and being entertained and interested for pretty much the whole 120 minutes--some of them longer, since they stayed as long as they could.  What did they say when I asked them how they liked it?  Well...

"My favorite part was learning about the animals and petting them. It was the best animal place I ever went to!" -Zoey A.

"It was the best place on earth!  Better than the zoo!" -Lulu J.

"I laughed so much!" -Olivia J.

 "I liked it!  It reminded me of Night at the Museum!" -Lukas M.

"That gator was fierce!" -Lani A.

And we mean REALLY fierce!

As far as the birthday packages go, you can check out everything that entails here.  There are a couple of options that range from $150 (totally a deal considering I just spent $160 on a bowling party last week which wasn't nearly as fun, another museum in town starts at $175, and the zoo is about $300--yikes!).  As I was saying, it's a great deal considering what you get--admission for 25 guests, all paper goods and decorations, a scavenger hunt, the pleasure of everything being prepared and put away for you, and 2 hours in the dining area.  You can also add goody bags for all the kiddos and (the coolest part!) a live animal presentation.  We learned about and got a chance to pet a box turtle, a baby desert tortoise (so cute!), a bearded dragon, a python, and a bunny.  The live animal presentation was really cool.  Loved it!

"I liked it a lot.  It was such a fun birthday party!" -Alex A.

The photos tell the tale--all of these kids had a wonderful day.  And that's what it's all about: the kids having fun, right?  But the thing is, I'm pretty sure--no, I'm absolutely certain--that I had just as much or more fun than they had.  Last night during an adult bible study, the teacher asked what kinds of things make us happy.  I didn't say anything at that moment because a million things ran through my mind.  So many things make me happy.  Everything going better than planned--that makes me happy.  Learning.  Seeing my kids smile.  Watching them laugh with their friends.  Standing on a bridge overlooking the water.  Discovering dragon flies with my littles while the wind blows a gentle breeze.  Surrounding myself with God's amazing creation.  Being able to spend time with people I love.  Realizing that I'm living such an abundant life.   And I had the opportunity to do all of those things and reflect on them and more last weekend.  Pardon me if I get a little sappy, but you've got to really like a place that can inspire such joy.  So do I recommend that my Tucsonan readers venture over to the Wildlife Museum for a birthday party or just to spend the day?  I totally do!

You Can Find
The International Wildlife Museum On

Travel the World with Little Passports! A Global Adventure Delivered to Your Door

My kiddos and I will soon be receiving a package from Little Passports and I am thrilled! I've heard great things about them from other moms in my homeschool group.

Each month, Little Passports sends a box based on your kiddo's age range.  The contents inside are meant to inspire them to learn about the world! I love this way of doing geography!  Each month, they get to explore a new world theme as packages arrive filled with activities, stickers, souvenirs & more. And...
...they also have a USA edition so your kiddos can travel the 50 states of our country! 
Doesn't this look cool? My map-loving kids are going to have a blast!  The subscriptions start at only $12 a month which is definitely affordable.  They're made for kiddos 3-12 so mine fit perfectly within that age range! Can't wait to receive our kits in the mail!

The Best of BlogPaws! Amazing Brands, Giveaways and More

We just returned from our very first bloggers' conference! Back in March, my pooch, Lucy, and I were notified that we'd won the grand prize in the Blog Paws or Bust Conference: roundtrip airfare to Phoenix, AZ, a 4-night stay in the amazing Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa, and complimentary conference admission. We had such an amazing time!  We made some new friends and networked with over fifty different pet brands. I narrowed it down to our absolute favorites out of 57. There were four companies that really stood out. They are some amazing brands with great people behind them!  Definitely stop by their pages, follow them, and enter their giveaways. Without further ado, here they are in the order in which they popped into my head.
#1 Rocco & Roxie Supply Co
Rocco & Roxie is a family-owned company that sells natural pet shampoos (the one they gave me for Lucy even contains argon oil--I can't wait to try it with her!) and jerky-style treats that Lucy is smitten with. They're a family-owned company--their employees are their kids. I met the father and the daughter and they were both super sweet.  Rocco & Roxie also sell an absolutely incredible stain and odor spray. Let me just tell you about a little mishap we had that made me very grateful for said spray...
As you can see, our darling pooch is a bit spoiled. Relaxing on the bed, eating her delicious pig's ear, cozy in the pet friendly hotel room. It seemed fine to leave her to her contentment and comfort while I took the kid's down to the Exhibit Hall to meet Jack (you'll hear about him later).  However, she's a small dog and couldn't get down from the bed when she needed to tinkle and we came back to a nice surprise on the bed. It went all the way through the sheets to the very incredibly comfortable, I'm-sure-also-very-expensive mattress. The stain was huge and very noticeable to the eyes and the nose. I could just imagine the hotel charging me an arm and a leg to clean the mattress besides imagining the next people sleeping on it, unbeknownst to them. I grabbed the first bottle in my swag bag (not Rocco & Roxie's) and used most of it on the stain. It didn't do a thing! Eek! I tried Rocco & Roxie's next and was not prepared to be so amazed. It got out literally every bit of yellow stain and you couldn't smell it at all! It was incredible. I already loved this company before, but after that, I'm totally sold!
Follow Rocco & Roxie's Facebook page. They have giveaways for their products every single Friday! Come back here and let me know if you win one!

#2 Merrick Pet Food
Even before Blog Paws, Merrick was our favorite dog food brand. I love it because it's made with real, natural ingredients and is tailored to my pooch. Their small dog variety is perfect, and they have a wide variety of different types of food for any variety of dog, small or large, young or old, you name it. Lucy loves their food because, apparently, it's delicious.  She loves their dry dog food and their moist food both, and we were super blessed to be given 2 big bags of small variety food and tons of moist foods at Blog Paws! I like them even more now than I did before, if that's possible.
Follow Merrick Pet Care on Facebook. They always have great giveaways with tons of winners! They just ended a contest so I'm thinking there will be a new one soon. Keeping my eyes peeled!

#3 The Lucy Pet Foundation
The Lucy Pet Foundation is a non-profit created by Joey Herrick, the previous president and co-founder of Natural Balance Pet Food. He sold his very successful company to Del Monte not very long ago and needed something new to do, and really wanted to start a non-profit so he created The Lucy Pet Foundation. Of course, they had me at "Lucy"! But when they told me that all of their profits go toward saving dogs and cats from euthanasia, that impressed me. I spoke to Mr. Herrick at length. He was so nice, sincere, and down to earth.

And the Lucy products are incredible! They offer wonderful shampoos and spray-on conditioners (I use their blueberry on Lucy and she is so soft afterward and her fur smells so nice!) and cat litter that doesn't smell (for real, this guy, Little Box Bob, walked around for 4 days wearing a used litterbox and you couldn't smell a thing!) I'm not even exaggerating a bit, you guys. This cat litter is incredible and will be available at Petco and local pet stores in the very near future. You can find it easily in this clever and resourceful bag shaped like a cat.  

The Lucy Pet Foundation is taking a tour bus around the country to find the best surfing dog who will be part of a float in the 2017 Rose Bowl Parade! How cool is that?! Head here to sign up for information on the tour.
#4 Woofpup
My kiddos' pick, Woofpup, is a brand new company that is, essentially, a continuous contest. Upload your dog's photo and you can win "Woofpup of the Month"... with a limited-edition, collectible stuffed toy made in their likeness and a prize of $500 for the winning family. Here in this pic is their sample of a Goldendoodle. So cute and so Goldendoodlish!

Enter your pooch's photo at and come back and let me know if you win!

And there you have it, out of 57 brands, our 4 favorites! Follow them, love them, and enter their giveaways. 
I sincerely think they are wonderful! 

Visiting the Tuzigoot Ruins and Living History

Crowning a desert hilltop is an ancient pueblo. One thousand years ago, perhaps a child stood there scanning the desert landscape for the arrival of traders. On the day this photo was taking, my children did the same. From the rooftop of the Tuzigoot pueblo it was easy to imagine such a moment.
The Tuzigoot ruins are an ancient village built by the Sinagua people of Arizona. They were farmers and artists with trade connections that spanned hundreds of miles.There's a trail to walk, homes and worship centers to explore, and a museum. There's a Ranger's Program which our kids participated in and it's all free!

Our kids loved this place! We're always visiting national parks and they are just getting so much appreciation for the outdoors, history, and taking care of and preserving our past. It makes me a proud mama!

You can actually go inside the main feature of the ruins! Walking through the different rooms, you can imagine what life was like there for people who really weren't that different than we are today. People have always been the same--living, loving, caring for their family, their friends. I love imagining what it would have been like to be a young wife and mother in such a place! And, yes, I feel so blessed to have all the modern conveniences we have today!

Maybe Arizona isn't anywhere in your neck of the woods but I encourage you to search out national parks or monuments in your state or a neighboring one. They make such an incredible field trip and are often free, especially if you are a veteran family or military.
What's your favorite national park or historical landmark? Share with me! We love roadtrips and are always looking for new places to visit!

Homeschooling at the Grand Canyon: National Parks As Classrooms

A trip to the Grand Canyon with the kiddos seemed like the perfect opportunity to teach them so much about Geology, southwest history and archaeology, as well as plant and animal biology! We also visited another nearby national park, Montezuma's Castle.  I found a variety of free resources so we focused our homeschool lessons on those topics the entire week before the trip.  Each National Park also has a free Ranger Program.  When you first arrive, head to the visitor's center to let the desk clerk know you'd like to sign your kids up.  There's a short and really cool little ceremony where the kids raise their hands and take a Junior Ranger pledge.  They receive a coloring book/activity guide and the family receives a schedule of the talks that will take place at the park throughout the day.  We attended one on deer and moose that everyone found so interesting!  All in all, our vacation was the perfect opportunity for our kiddos to experience everything they'd been learning firsthand. 

Little guy in the wilderness!  Pic by Daddy.

Montezuma's Castle, Cliff Dwelling in Northern Arizona

Free National Park Educational Resources
The Grand Canyon offers many educational resources--videos, lesson plans, and free printables for a variety of age groups.  You can find those here.  But the Grand Canyon isn't the only national park that offers these kinds of tools.  Google for the national park website you want to visit or browse them by state to discover amazing places you may never even have known existed.  At each park's website, you'll find a column to the left with various links.  Click on Learn about the Park and then on Education, and then on Parks as Classrooms.  You'll find a variety of resources!  

Japan Fun Box: "Visit" Asia with Candy Delivered Monthly

This week, we learned about Asia.  I planned this knowing that we'd be receiving a Japan Funbox in the mail any day.  What's that, you ask? It's a Japanese Candy & Snack Box!
The Japan Funbox is a monthly subscription service stuffed full of Japanese snacks and there is always free shipping worldwide!  We were excited to open it and snack on the contents during a movie about Asia.

Six bags of snacks and candy were included in our box.  The kiddos were especially excited to see the pink candy whistles! They love those!  Our other favorite treats were the chocolate bar and the Tomato Pretz, similar to pizza-flavored pocky sticks. All in all, it was a super fun taste experience with a theme that was the perfect compliment to learning about Asia!

As you can see, the box really was packed full, especially considering this was the "Mini" version of the box. You can get Mini (5-7 items), Original (15-20 items), or Family (25-30 items)!

Use the code rev10pa to get 10% off any JapanFunBox plan!

Special thanks to Japan Funbox for this review opportunity!  All opinions are honest and our own.