2020 Guide to Summer Camps In + Around Flagstaff

It’s time to start thinking about those summer plans for your kids! This guide has something for everyone! We encourage you to work through this list and contact those camps you are interested in – many have already opened registration. Let’s make it a great summer, Flagstaff mamas! !


Are you a Camp Director interested in getting your camp included in our guide? Fill out the form HERE

Please Note :: Before we dive into this comprehensive camp list, we have to start by giving our sincerest of thank yous to our camp sponsor who made this guide possible. Please check out  Camp FALA

Come join us! CampFALA is a two week summer camp offered to kids ages 6-16 between June 15th-26th. Camps are available in one week increments, both half- and full-day options, and allows campers to experience the arts and sciences. Our workshops include dance, theatre, English, music, visual arts, as well as robotics and science. CampFALA allows students to learn new skills and experiment with different mediums.  All instructors are either FALA teachers or Flagstaff art community members.

CampFALA dates this year are June 15th-19th and June 22nd-26th. Camp will be five days a week.  This year there are half day (8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) and full day (8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.) options. Camp fees (not including a one-time registration fee of $30 per student) are $150 half day, and $300 full day.

For more information please visit the CampFALA website or email our camp administrator, Andrea Garns, at [email protected].

Momentum Aerial Youth Aerial Camps

Momentum’s Youth Aerial Intensives are week-long camps that focus on teaching students proper technique and artistry in Silks, Trapeze, Lyra and Pole. These camps are age appropriate and welcoming of all types of children. No prior experience needed.

All of Momentum Aerial’s camps focus on cultivating self-esteem, friendship, healthy body image and other important life skills like hard work and the importance of practice. Momentum Aerial is a woman-owned local Flagstaff business with a passion and dedication to our art form and building a strong creative community.

All camps are M-F from 9am-12pm. We invite parents from 11:30am -12pm daily for parent viewing time, and friends and family on Fridays from 11:30-12pm for a weekly show. Students can drop in for the day, or register for the full week. Day Drop In $45 / Full Week $200.

Youth Aerial Camps will have separate cohorts for ages 6-8 and 9-12 years old. Each group will have daily lessons on Trapeze, Silks, Pole and Lyra. Youth Aerial Camp features a variety of games and aerial activities. Each Friday culminates in a spectacular aerial performance at 11:30am! More information on the description of each apparatus can be found here.
What to Wear and Bring: Students need to come dressed in active wear that covers the backs of the knees and under arms. Students need a snack and water bottle daily.
Funtown Circus Camp features lessons in juggling, unicycle, stilt walking, aerial dance, acro balance and circus themed arts and crafts.  This fun and funky camp celebrates the broad spectrum of circus arts, instilling a sense of wonder, creativity and skill in its participants. The last day (Friday) of Funtown Circus Camp culminates in a spectacular performance at 11:30am!
What to Wear and Bring: Students need to come in active wear that covers the backs of the knees and under arms. Students must bring sunscreen, a hat, helmet, high socks and tennis shoes daily.  Students need a snack and water bottle daily.

Contact ::[email protected]

Dates + Ages

June 1-5th Youth Aerial Camp for ages 6-12
June 8 – 12th Teen Aerial Camp (13-17)
June 15- 19 Youth Aerial Camp for ages 6-12
June 29- July 3rd Funtown Circus Camp for ages 6-12

Flagstaff Challenger International Soccer Camps

Challenger Sports, the leading soccer camp company in North America, has combined the most popular elements of their two existing industry-leading camp programs, British Soccer and TetraBrazil, integrating them into a collection of the most effective soccer practices used by youth teams around the world.

The Challenger International Soccer Camp reflects the truly global nature of the sport today and provides young players with a wide variety of coaching styles, practices, and influences that will help them develop a well-rounded skill set.

We have taken the best coaching methodologies and practices from England, Brazil, Spain, USA and France and have woven them together in a multi-faceted on and off-field coaching experience.

Camps will include a free soccer ball, T-shirt, Poster and Certificate, as well as a free early registration replica jersey.

Contact :: [email protected]

Dates + Ages

June 1st-5th & June 15th-19th   |   2- 14 years

Summer Camp KJ

Home based summer day camps with plenty of outdoor, sunny Flagstaff fun! I have been running camps our of my backyard and home for 13 summers and have loved every one! We will create, design, rehearse and perform our own unique play Theater week!! We will explore a whole day each of clay, painting, bead work and jewelry, folk art and drawing during Art Camp. Baking at high altitude isn’t intimidating for kids!! We have a day each of breads, cakes, pies and tarts, chocolate and candy and cookies; making between 8 and 15 recipes every day with loaded plates to take home and sample during Baking Camp!! YUM!! Culinary Art is all about the details!! Cake decorating, cookie decorating, bread art and designing, baking, building and decorating Gingerbread houses will help get our edible artsy sides going! Come on over and Join in the fun!!! West side, close to downtown location!

Limited to 8 Campers to comply with smaller gathering recommendations

Contact and to Register :: [email protected]

Kristie Jones, 928-214-7162, leave message

Dates + Ages

Baking Camp: June 1-5, 9am to 2pm, $250, includes all supplies, ingredients and a plate loaded with our creations each day!

Theater Camp June 8-12:, 9am -1pm, $180

Culinary Arts Camp: June 15 – 18, 9am to 1pm, $220, includes all supplies and delicious creations each day, ages 8 and up

Art Camp: June 22-26, 9am to 1pm, $220, includes all supplies

NAU Volleyball Camp

NAU Volleyball Camps provide skill development to many ages, whether you are a beginner or a skilled and experienced player. The NAU Volleyball staff’s goal is to create an engaging and exciting environment for campers to learn and polish their skills, strategies, and game.

Contact :: [email protected]

Dates + Ages

All Skills Camp: July 11-13, 2020; Females 5th-12th grade
Team Camp: July 14-16, 2020; Female High School Teams
Advanced Camp: July 17-19, 2020; Females 9th-12th grade

Mt. Calvary Early Learning Center

We offer summer days full of fun and learning all in a Faith based environment. Mornings will be full of play based learning and centers and also a dedicated bible story time. Afternoons are for water play, bike day and the bounce house!

Contact :: 928-774-8811 extension 102   |  [email protected]org

Dates + Ages

June 1 – July 31, 2020   |    3-6 years

Curry Summer Music Camp at NAU

Learn
– Work with NAU School of Music faculty and renowned musicians from across the country
– Full ensemble rehearsals with outstanding clinicians each day
– Attend master classes, sectionals, and other courses that expand knowledge and appreciation of different facets of music
– Private lesson and chamber coaching opportunities

Perform
– Final ensemble concerts in Ardrey Memorial Auditorium at the end of each session
– Audition to perform for peers in the annual Camper Showcase and Variety Show
– Pianists perform in recital on the stage of Ardrey Memorial Auditorium at the conclusion of each session

Enjoy
– Established in 1950 by Dr. Jack Swartz
– Surrounded by the San Francisco Peaks on the Northern Arizona University campus in Flagstaff, Arizona
– Attend concerts, recitals, and other fun activities such as the talent show, dances, movie nights, camp games, and more!

Contact :: [email protected]

Dates + Ages

Junior Session: June 21 – 27 (entering grade 7 – 9 in fall 2020)
Senior Session: June 14 – 20 (entering grade 9 – 12 or graduating seniors in fall 2020)

NAU Community Music and Dance Academy

Music and dance classes and lessons are available for students of all abilities. Ages 4 years old through adults. Classes priced at $12 per hour. Package registration required. We offer private lessons for any instrument, any ability, and for all ages. Join us for music workshops, and ballet classes. Beginner and new dance students ages 5-9 years old can learn about different countries through dance and activities in our Dance Around The World classes. Explore your love of dance in an adult ballet class. Take a look at our additional class offerings and join us this summer in exploring your music and dance passion.

Contact :: [email protected]

Dates + Ages

June 1 – August 21 | 4 -18 and adults

Lowell Observatory Camps for Kids

1st/2nd Grades | Exploring the Moon
Campers will enjoy learning about the moon with fun activities like creating their own space suits, building Earth/Moon models, and constructing craters. Other activities will include hiking, drawing, playing games, and more.

3rd/4th Grades | Discovering the Sun
Campers will build solar ovens and solar models and will safely observe the sun with telescopes and other devices. Other activities will include hiking, drawing, playing games, and more.

5th/6th Grades | Lighting Our Way
Campers will construct spectrometers and participate in exciting activities designed to teach them about the electromagnetic spectrum. Other activities will include hiking, drawing, playing games, and more.

7th/8th/9th Grades | Astronomical Research
Campers will get a brief look into what astronomical research is like through fun, hands-on science experiments. From collecting data to presenting their results, students will dive deeper into the world of science. Other activities will include hiking, drawing, playing games, and more.

Contact :: [email protected]

Dates + Ages

6 – 14 years old

June 15-19 (grades 1-9)
June 22-26 (grades 1-9)
July 13-17 (grades 1-6)

MNA Discovery Summer Camps

Each week-long summer camp offers amazing experiences and meaningful exploration of the natural sciences, art and culture of the Colorado Plateau. All camps take full advantage of the Museum’s exhibits, outdoor spaces, and natural environment surrounding Flagstaff. Camps are led by experienced educators, have a small class size, and are located in a safe and fun environment at the museum’s Discovery village. Extended care and scholarships are available.

Contact :: Jennifer Glennon   | [email protected]

Dates + Ages

June 8-July 31, 2020  |    4-14 years

Bloom 2020: An Event for New and Expecting Moms

Who :: All Northern Arizona moms or moms-to-be {no kids, please, with the exception of young nurslings}

When :: Thursday, April 16, 2020  6:00pm-8:30pm

Where :: The Garden’s at Violas

Ticket Sale Date :: Early Bird – ends Sunday, March 8 at Noon. General Admission – On Sale Friday March, 13

Cost :: $15 for general admission {includes EVERYTHING featured at the event – food, beverages, activities, and  raffle tickets. You do NOT need cash unless you want to shop (and we hope you do!)}

We couldn’t be happier that Bloom, a celebration of all things motherhood specifically designed for new moms and moms-to-be, is coming back to Flagstaff for the third year! This popular event is ideal for expectant Northern Arizona moms or those who are thinking of expanding their family. This is indeed a kid-free event, with the exception of young nurslings. It is rare that we as moms can get out and about on our own, and Bloom is all about taking an evening off and getting away from the routine for a celebration that’s all about YOU.

Flagstaff Moms Blog is known for producing high-quality events for Flagstaff area moms, families and children! We look forward to seeing your family soon and also encourage you to join the Facebook Event Page for additional fun updates!

Title Sponsor :: 2020 Bloom

We are extremely thankful to our title sponsor, as it is their generosity and support that allows our events to take place! 

Event Sponsors :: 2020 Bloom

We hope that you will plan to spend time with each of these amazing Bloom partners during our event. Each business offers something wonderful for Northern Arizona area moms or moms-to-be and we are pleased to introduce you to each of these Bloom sponsors at the event itself!

 

Table Sponsors :: 2020 Bloom

We hope that you will plan to spend time with each of these amazing Bloom partners during our event. Each business offers something wonderful for Northern Arizona moms or moms-to-be and we are pleased to introduce you to each of these Bloom sponsors at the event itself!

Decor Sponsors :: 2020 Bloom

We are so grateful to the fantastic businesses that are partnering with us to create a beautiful and inviting ambiance at our event! These sponsors are bringing our vision for Bloom to life, and we are so excited for you to see the beauty they are helping us create. 

Giveaway Sponsors :: 2020 Bloom

What’s a Flagstaff Moms Blog event without giveaways? These giveaways were specifically selected because of their relevance to expectant moms or moms with little ones. 

SWAG Bag Sponsors :: 2020 Bloom

All Bloom guests will be pampered and spoiled with a wonderful event! In addition, our attendees will receive a Bloom Swag Bag! Our Bloom swag partners offer products and items that are intended for new moms (whether it is your first or fourth child) and moms-to-be. You can expect to be spoiled at this event and leave with an array of goodies that will help you with your growing family!

Disclaimers: ALL TICKET SALES ARE FINAL. NO REFUNDS. NO RAIN CHECKS. THIS EVENT WILL HAPPEN RAIN OR SHINE. In the event of an act of God (such as a blizzard or giant lizard attack) we may not be able to reschedule due to the complex nature of the event and we will NOT offer refunds. In the event that you cannot attend the event we will do our best to assist you in finding another mom to exchange/give/or sell your ticket if the need arises and/or if time allows.  FMB nor Violas Flower Garden will be responsible and/or liable for any attendees who leave the event area. Additionally, everyone that purchases a ticket will be subscribed to our email list (if they have not been already) in order to provide the most timely and up to date event info. Photos will be taken at the event and of attendees for use on the blog and on social media by the Flagstaff Moms Blog and sponsors.

So the Fair is “Modified,” now what?

Labor day in Flagstaff means the Coconino County Fair

Or at least until this year… ya know, COVID and all. Per the latest press release, “Coconino County Parks and Recreation is modifying the 71st Coconino County Fair due to COVID-19 concerns. This decision was reached after months of deliberation, research, and consultation with local health officials and the Board of Supervisors. Several county fairs in Arizona have canceled their events this year due to COVID-19 safety concerns.” The committee that is in charge of our Fair doesn’t want to just cancel another event, especially one this big! They/ we still want you, our community, involved and excited that there are offerings for this year’s Fair.

What does that look like?

To be honest, some of that is still up in the air. BUT, there are other Fairs around the country that are planning and doing alternate/ virtual contests. Coconino County is taking some pages from these other fairs and adding our fav ideas. The desire is for this year’s in-person event to focus on the 4-H exhibitors and junior livestock auction. But not to forget our other entrants: Instead of bringing in a cookie made from your mom’s recipe of the best chocolate chip cookie you’ve ever had, send in a recipe in the designated category with your tips and tricks for use in an online cookbook. Instead of agonizing over picking the best flower from your garden and bringing it in before it wilts, you send a picture of the whole garden. Instead of going through the struggle of printing and backing your fav photo from the last year, you send in it digitally.

The superintendents (did I mention that I am in that group) are busy finalizing categories for this year’s fair. Categories even include things that aren’t usually considered for Fair entries! An entire table setting! Something that’s too big to bring to the fairgrounds! Antics your cat or dog has gotten into! Photo-shop yourself with the Fair mascot, Coco the cow! We are working hard at figuring out what will work so that you, our community, can still be a part of the County Fair! We want this to be a fun experience for all who enjoy the Fair!

Cool, What do I do?

Keep checking coconinocountyfair.com! The idea is that people who want to enter will go there, fill out the online entry form, pick your department, select the category and upload your picture all in one space. Simple!

What’s next? After the entry period, the pictures will be compiled and sent to the appropriate judge. Judges filter through all those pictures and will then pick their winners.

Then? Yes, I’m glad you asked! Then, during what would be the Fair weekend (Fri Sept 4 – Mon Sept 7), winners of each category will be announced live on Facebook/ Instagram at a predetermined time for each department and posted on the Coconino County Fair web-sight. Did I mention that there’s a bit of prize money up for grabs? How cool is that?!

So, Next year?

Here’s hoping by the time the 72nd annual Coconino County Fair rolls around that we will be able to enjoy each other’s company without feeling like the world has cooties! So keep wearing your mask and keep working on your projects, taking pictures, planting your garden, saving your kid’s (school) art… I want to see it all in person next year!

Also, the Fair committee is looking for one or two more people to help Superintend buildings. Fair Superintendents make a positive difference in the County Fair. This includes working before during and after the fair. They connect the greater community to the Fair by encouraging individuals to submit entries and exhibits, organize workshops in the buildings that encourage community interest in a specific subject, and overall foster goodwill. There is a small stipend paid to superintendents after the completion of the fair. If you, or someone you know, have an interest in photography (currently vacant) or in-home arts (Home Economics – sewing, crochet, knit other needle arts, canning, baking, etc) there are openings in those buildings. Contact [email protected]

It’s a different senior year–4 things they still need to learn

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My fourth daughter is a senior in high school this year.

It’s different this time around, for sure. She picked up her schedule in a face mask. She doesn’t need to pray for a coveted senior parking spot, probably won’t get to sit in the senior section at the football games, and may not even take a class inside the school she will graduate from in May. However, there are some things that are the same, and those are the things I need to focus on during her last year of high school.

How to Make Mistakes

Part of success is learning from mistakes. How our kids learn from their mistakes is a powerful part of parenting. And, it assumes that we are letting our kids make those mistakes. Of course, I don’t want my girls to get hurt or develop dangerous habits, however, during their senior year, my husband and I try not to say “no.” Is it the best idea to go to Dutch or a friend’s house after dark when you have an exam the next day? Probably not. Will it kill her? Probably not. Will she likely regret her decision at midnight when she starts studying and realizes she’s too tired to study or runs out of time to do what she thought she could do? Probably. Will I be tempted to say, “I told you so”? Probably. But these are the life lessons that we can give them the grace to learn while under our roof, while we can still be there when they fall, tell them it’s going to be okay, and help them make a different decision the next time.

Who are you?

There is so much pressure on our seniors to know where they want to go and what they want to do for the rest of their life when they are all of 17-years-old. Seriously. On the one hand, of course, it is important for them to make the grades that will help them be successful after high school. But on the other hand, do they really need to apply to Ivy League “stretch” schools just because they can, and know exactly what their major is when they have no idea what a career in that field really looks like? As parents, we can affirm the things our kids are good at and passions that seem to be bubbling to the surface in conversations about current events. We can verbalize that to them so they know we believe in them and see great potential in them. But, we can also let them be uncertain, let them know it’s okay to change their mind once they get there, and let them know we will love them forever because of WHO they are, not WHAT they are.

Time Management

Maybe even more difficult this year, and yet perhaps more similar this year to life after high school, learning to balance work, play, and rest is one of the most important skills we can teach our seniors this year. Taking classes online, without the constant supervision of teachers and/or parents will be a challenge for some of our kids practicing to be adults. There’s a constant temptation to distraction, less accountability, and yet a need for us as parents to help our seniors develop time management strategies that will help them succeed beyond high school. Start the conversation. . . What is your most productive time of day? What makes you feel awake and ready to work? What routine could you start that would build a healthy rhythm to your day? How can I help? The challenge for me is that this daughter is wired way differently than I am, and I may need to let her figure out how to manage her time her way.

Adulting 101

And finally, maybe not the most glamorous of our tasks as parents of seniors, it’s time to learn some life skills. If you haven’t already, teach them to do their own laundry–and let them be responsible for it, week after week. Let them learn now, that if they don’t do laundry for two weeks, their room will smell and they will run out of underwear. It’s okay, mom. Teach them how to cook a few meals they could make for a date or roommates. I hadn’t cooked a meal solo until I was married, and bless my husband’s heart, he was a saint to suffer through that awkward process. Give your senior a night a week that they are in charge of dinner. Teach them how to make a meal plan, a grocery list, and shop on a budget. If your senior hasn’t had the experience of applying for a job or holding a basic, minimum-wage paying job yet, now is the time. Honestly, life will never be less busy. There’s so much to be learned from serving the public, having to do work that is hard and you don’t really like, and working with people who are different than you. Let them struggle with this now, so you can encourage them to hang in there, respect their boss, spend their earnings wisely, and enjoy the feeling of a job well done.

So, parents of seniors, this is a big year. And while it may not be what we have expected, let’s not lose sight of the significance of our role as parents this year in shaping our young people for all that is too soon to come. And meanwhile, you may find me quietly crying in my car in a parking lot, wishing time would slow down.

Your Great-Grandfather Died Today

Sweet baby girl, Your great-grandfather died today.

We were rushing around the house this morning trying to get a few things sorted out and quickly packed so that we could take you and the dogs and drive to Tucson. The plan was to say goodbye, but we were still packing when we got an email from your papa that he had already passed away.

Your dad and I made the decision to try and cobble together a semi-normal day for ourselves and to drop you off at daycare like “normal.” I ultimately arrived at work about an hour late, but I was mentally so far away.

As I drove to work, I reflected on how blissfully happy and unaware you were this morning—as busy packing and unpacking your toys as ever.  It was just another day for you, but I… I would need your smiles to get me through the day. 

I needed to remember your smiles as I reflected on the times your great-grandpa got to hold you, lingering on the memory of your baptism service Last Christmas and how he wouldn’t let you go afterward.  He was so proud of you—so proud of us for committing to raise you in the tradition in which he had raised your papa and in which your papa had raised your dad.

I began to think about all of the things I had loved about Grandpa Doc.  I had only known him for about six years, but I was able to see the way he loved your daddy and your papa and to hear stories of how your daddy’s cousins and aunts and uncles grew up.  There were no strangers in the Danker household as newcomers were quickly assimilated into the family.

Grandpa Doc was a man of great honor, a World War II Veteran, a revered veterinarian, a Midwesterner through and through.  He made everyone feel welcome, no matter how long or how short he had known them.  I had told Grandpa Doc one Christmas that it felt as if I had grown up a member of your daddy’s family the more and more stories they told—generations of laughs and love.  This year, Veterans’ Day felt a little heavier without him, our very own, very brave hero.

I started to wonder about how we would tell you about Grandpa Doc as you got older and what we would tell you.  Would we explain to you that your daddy also had a papa when you learned that Nana and Papa are really your daddy’s mom and dad?  Would you treasure our memories of him as we sat around the kitchen table swapping stories of Grandpa Doc and Grandma Lanie one Thanksgiving five or ten years from now? Would we remember to tell you about Grandpa Doc’s toupee or his false teeth or the way that he always used our visits to Sun City West as an excuse to meet us at In ‘n Out Burger?

The weight and responsibility of passing on an entire legacy seems huge.

I’m not sure how we will share Grandpa Doc with you, Baby Girl, but I promise that we will.  I promise that we will play hours and hours of cards at Christmas instead of resorting to screens.  I promise that we will talk about the meaning of Veteran’s Day, the bliss of growing up in close proximity to a lake, and all the special little things that made Grandpa Doc the way he was. AND, I am so, so thankful that your daddy and I do not have to do it alone.

“Type Two Fun” the crossover between adventure and motherhood

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Type Two Fun? Outdoor Adventure lingo…

The first time I heard the phrase “Type 2 fun” I had just repelled into a pool of stagnant smelly water at the bottom of a slot canyon. This was years ago, before kids, my first technical canyoneering adventure, my first time repelling at all. Eager to impress the group, I had gone first. I didn’t realize I was going to be swimming until after I’d dropped over the lip of the cliff and saw the stinking black pool 50 feet below. The water was literally black, and as I hit the surface my body broke the layer of slime that had grown there and released the smell of death and decay that I would wear for the rest of the day. It was also frigid, water at the bottom of a narrow canyon can often be close to freezing even when the desert days get above 100 degrees. The sun rarely touches the bottom of those canyons. So I was treading water, struggling to unclip myself from the rope so that I could swim away. When at last I was free and the rest of the group followed me down we gathered on the shore, shivering and smelly and giddy with adrenaline. One of the guys said, “well, that’s what we call type 2 fun.” Which means it wasn’t fun. It was miserable, no one enjoyed it. But we are all gonna love telling the story later. It’s fun in retrospect. 

Motherhood is an Adventure

Days with young children are not so different from epic adventures. We are often wet and uncomfortable, there is adrenaline, there are unpleasant smells. But even the miserable moments can be made into an adventure when you take a step back and consider the fun stories you’ll have to tell later.

5 Tips for Virtual Learning This School Year

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Little distance learning school on the prairie

I work four jobs, plus freelancing, for a total workload of 40+ hours a week. I have two boys, one in 1st Grade and one in Kindergarten this school year. One of my boys is non-typical and has an IEP, also known as an Individualized Education Plan. We are all working and learning from home together right now and after our first few days of full-day online learning, I have some tips to share.

Before we started school I was anxious about how it would all look, and how I would manage multiple daily schedules (my own included) but I can say that now, being on the other side – I’m confident we can do this.

Here are my tips for a successful start to distance learning:

1. Wake up early before your kids and get some time to yourself. Workout, do emails, tackle a work project. I feel so much better when I have a jump on the day before my kids come at me, haha. I set my alarm for 4:30 am and head directly for my single-cup coffee maker. We start school at 7:45 am so I transition into mom-mode at 6:45 am to make breakfast and get myself and everyone dressed for the day.

2. Log into all the learning systems ahead of time and save logins and passwords. Scrambling to log into everything and not having the passwords handy is frustrating. Our school is using one app to record attendance and another for distance learning, so we toggle between the two. Some of the apps might require you to download or register in advance so plan to do that the night before school starts and make sure you have the kinks worked out.

3. Set up a workspace for your kid that’s theirs for the foreseeable future. Ours aren’t fancy. We have one kid on a folding table and one at a play table. But, it helps so much to have all their paperwork and school supplies in one spot. I made of list of some of our favorite school supplies you can check out here.

4. Get a kitchen timer or set a bunch of alarms on your phone. This will help you remember when recess or lunch is over and they need to come back to their workspace. One thing I’ve noticed is that online learning is super-efficient. Our school is keeping us to the same bell schedule, but since there is no cleanup/pack-up or walking to the next subject they usually have little breaks to stretch or go to the bathroom or grab a snack.

5. Have a schedule handy. I printed out our bell schedule and their class schedules and taped them to the door. That way I know what subject is next. Even though their instructors will tell them what’s coming up they will still forget and ask you approximately 1,376 times what’s next, how much longer, when is lunch/recess…

Give yourself lots of grace.

The schools and teachers are being really patient as we all navigate this new format. I cannot imagine how many hours of work our educators have invested in setting up our virtual start to the school year.

Now that I see what online learning looks like and how our days flow – I’m ok with it. Once they are logged on and have their materials ready I have time to get my own work done. Conference calls are the hardest for me. Having 2 kids logged on, with an ear for them while also listening to multiple voices on my own call is challenging, but we’ll make it work!

I think the most important thing is to stay positive – this is not what any of us are used to, but it’s our reality right now. I try to stay optimistic and enthusiastic about our situation because I want my boys to enjoy learning. Not every day will be rainbows and sprinkles, but since we can’t control much about our situations we can at least control how we react and what our attitude is.

Sending you all positive vibes for a great start to the school year, we can do it!

Recent Reads to Recommend

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I’ve been reading a ton.

I’m a pretty avid reader but with quarantine, I’m trying to set better work/life boundaries. I make a strong attempt to stay off my phone during the evenings and weekends and pick up a book instead. It’s been so much better for my mental health and for my sleep. I love ordering books from Brightside Bookshop or picking them up from the Flagstaff Library – their curbside pickup system is excellent.

The Vanishing Half – It’s already been optioned for a film, and for good reason. It pulls you in and breaks your heart while opening your eyes.

Such a Fun Age – Read this. The duality of the two characters and their inner monologues about each other are relevant and relatable.

The Grace Year – If you are a fan of The Hunger Games series or The Handmaids Tale, you’ll appreciate this one.

Nothing to See Here – A little quirky but full of heart. As a mom with a non-typical child, I really felt this one.

Friends and Strangers – I’m halfway through this and can’t stop thinking about it. The characters are vibrant and the story is sharp and layered.

Mexican Gothic – I LOVED the Nancy Drew series as a kid – I think I’ve read almost every book in the collection. This felt like that but with a good dose of 1950’s Mexico and some mystical realism.

What’s something you’ve recently read and would recommend?

 

Homeschooling Temporarily During a Pandemic

I have been homeschooling my daughter since school closures in mid-March and decided that I will continue to teach her myself for another year. She is thriving in our current set up and has made tremendous progress in the past four months. If you decided to temporarily homeschool due to COVID-19, here is a guideline to help you navigate this new adventure. Before getting into it, I would like to say that I am new to homeschooling. I’ve only been doing it for four months, so feel free to leave a comment to share your knowledge if you are a homeschool veteran.

  • Regulation

In Flagstaff, a signed Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool is required within 30 days of the beginning of instruction. Please note that you are required to have the document notarized, and you must include your child’s original state-issued birth certificate. Photocopies are not accepted. If you decide to mail the necessary documents, ensure that you include a stamped envelope so that your child’s original birth certificate is sent back to you. However, if you do not feel comfortable mailing the original birth certificate, you can make an appointment with the Coconino County Superintendent of Schools. During your appointment, bring your child’s original birth certificate with you as well as your picture ID so that you can get the Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool notarized. Due to COVID-19, you must wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth. The whole process takes a few minutes. Once it is done, contact the principal of your child’s school to let them know about your decision to homeschool. An e-mail or a phone call should suffice. For more detailed information visit Coconino County Arizona

  •  Curriculum

Picking a curriculum can be overwhelming. There are many options available and various learning styles. Because you are temporary homeschooling, I would suggest contacting your child’s school teacher and ask what material the class is going to use. Once you feel comfortable sending your child back to school, this will make for an easy transition. Many teaching materials are available online for free or at a cost. Instead of adhering to the school’s curriculum, you can also do your own online search and find the appropriate one for your child. The best homeschool curriculum is one that fits your child’s educational needs and interests. Keep in mind that per Arizona Revised Statute 15-802, children between the ages of six and sixteen years must be instructed in reading, grammar, science, math, and social studies. In Arizona, your child isn’t required to take tests, and there is no need to have the curriculum approved.

  • Organization

You have decided to temporarily homeschool; thus, you don’t have to go all out and buy a lot of supplies ahead of time. Start homeschooling for a few weeks, and you will have a better idea of what additional materials you will need to teach. In my case, I turned our formal dining room area into our “classroom” and used the empty hutch as storage for all our materials. Once you start the process, you will quickly learn what additional supplies you and your child will need. Do not feel pressured to go on a shopping spree right away.

  • Lifestyle

Homeschool is integrated into home life, and in addition to teaching various subjects, homeschooling allows you to teach your child real-life skills. In our household, I teach my daughter how to complete domestic tasks, and once life returns to normal, I look forward to embracing the full homeschooling experience, which includes in-person extra-curricular activities, field trips, co-ops, etc.

  •   Homeschooling Community

There are plenty of homeschooling groups on Facebook. I suggest finding a local group. My understanding is that before COVID-19, many homeschoolers often met, and socialization is a big part of homeschooling. With COVID-19, many families are taking a more cautious approach, and there aren’t any meetings that I am aware of. Even if socialization is on hold, it is helpful to have the support of an online community.

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling is very different from traditional schooling. When you teach your child at home, they have one on one guidance every day. In other words, it is similar to private tutoring. Unlike traditional schooling, you can make up your own schedule. It doesn’t mean that your child runs wild all day in their pajamas. On the contrary, structure and discipline are the pillars of homeschooling.

Although I haven’t been homeschooling for too long, one lesson I quickly learned is that learning is not a chore, learning is a growth process, and it should be fun for you and your child.

So, now that you are on the homeschooling path, enjoy this amazing adventure. Who knows, maybe you might decide to keep homeschooling even after the pandemic is finally over.

Making Space Between Babies: A Minimalist Mama Guide

Minimalism can be tricky when it comes to young families.

Before you have kids, you might say you want 4, but after 2 you decide you’re done, and then maybe after a year you say, ok, how about three? I don’t like a lot of things in my house and I find storage for the sake of storage or “just in case”, not my style. A happy rule in minimalism is the 20:20 rule. Chuck anything you are not using that, should you find you suddenly need it, you could replace in less than twenty minutes and for less than $20. Between babies, I try to apply the same principals, except that I have a million trimesters to get them, instead of twenty minutes and a whole community that is willing to let me borrow what I need for free.

Here’s what I decided not to keep:

Maternity Swim Suit

I was graciously gifted a maternity swimsuit in my pregnancy that I wore exactly 2 times. Why should I deny the world my beautiful whale-shaped goddess body?

Baby #2, about to swallow Baby #1

Maternity clothes

In my second pregnancy, two women randomly brought me all their maternity clothes (that they were holding on to for “just in case”). Although I wore the same dress during labor as my first, and a few repeat favorites, it was nice to have different options.

Breast pump

Our beautiful local lactation consultant, Maya Radoccia-Kennen, informed me that breast pumps are only made to last a year (did you know that!?). I found that out after I asked her if she thought my 7-year-old pump could go for another baby. PS: Many pump companies have recycling programs!

Clothing and blankets

If your first baby didn’t use all 15 of the homemade blankets you were given at your baby shower, will your second baby (they will not). Go through your bins, keep what you loved. You will never be at a shortage of baby clothes- I promise!

Baby holding apparatuses

Check the expiration of your infant car seat; will that last for another maybe baby? How far will large baby bouncers/swings/saucers/bassinets break down for you to be willing to store them? How many of your friends have kids of similar enough ages that you can just borrow or lend out your stuff to keep it from being stored?

I borrowed this bouncer for both my kids

Toys/Well worn Books

Babies don’t need toys, they probably didn’t even play with it the first time. Baby books are easy to replace and easily given as gifts. Don’t hold onto something your toddler mostly destroyed.

Anything you did not love the first time

If you didn’t love it for your last baby, you probably won’t love it for your second baby. Getting rid of an ill-fitting carrier will be good motivation to getting one you love next time around.

***

My overall advice when it comes to space-saving is to keep what you love. For myself, this would include my woven ring sling, cloth diapers, my favorite infant clothing, nursing bras, and pads, and random baby swim safety gear.

 

What items are your must keeps?

WFH with a 2-year-old | 5 Things that Help Me Manage

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Working from home since March 18th has been many things.

A mess. An opportunity to stay on top of housework (ha). A nice, short commute. Relaxing early mornings (no rush!). Stressful late mornings (hangry toddler). And of course, rejoicing at nap time.

Fortunately, (I think), both my husband and I have been working from home full-time. He was encouraged to stay home early on, but is able to schedule lab time if needed. At my workplace, it varies based on department, job, and situation. Since I’m pregnant – due early October – I have opted to work from home. But as we all know, working from home isn’t just working at home. Being without childcare or having family nearby makes it all exponentially more taxing.

Our boy turned two mid-March and since then, he has changed so much. He has become much more aware of EVERYTHING, his vocabulary has exploded, and he is so active. Though it’s fun to be front row for all these changes, it is not easy to keep up with him and our jobs. But we are managing!

So in honor of managing, here are a few things that have helped keep me sane over the last few months…

My 6th-grade sticker collection
In unpacking the many boxes that were stored at my parents’ house, I found my sticker collection from childhood. I set it aside thinking it would be fun for the kiddo when he was a little older. At some point during the first month, I brought those babies back out and just let him have at the entire box – probably around 100 sheets of stickers. Since that time, he’s used about half, just pulling them off and sticking them to other pieces of paper and occasionally the floor. It keeps him busy and quiet.

A weekly meetings meeting
Every week, sometime between Thursday and Sunday, my husband and I have a meetings meeting. We sit down and go over our meetings for the upcoming week, making sure we have zero that overlap (exception is naptime). If it’s an important one that requires no interruptions, we make sure to mention this so the other person knows to keep our two-year-old coworker far away. Added bonus: it gives us blocks on our calendar so we’re not in back to back meetings all day long.

Baking sessions.
They break up the day if he’s getting antsy. I get at least 30 minutes to work with my hands and a warm treat at the end. And surprise – he’s a star at cracking eggs.
A couple of favorites: chocolate chip cookies, rainbow cake, no-knead bread, Nutella banana bread.

Slip-on shoes.
Hello, independence. He can open up the door and head out for a good solo soccer sesh in the backyard. These are becoming more and more frequent!

Magazine subscriptions.
I’ve gotten a couple since moving back to the states. Not being able to go anywhere or pick one up on a whim, the magazines that arrive in my mailbox are a fun distraction and they give me ideas for good eats, things to buy, and new projects.



Other moms – working moms, non-working moms, pregnant moms, toddler moms – what little things are helping you get through the days?

Parenting an Only Child During a Pandemic

Since school closures in March, my five-year-old daughter and I have been staying home. Although the stay home order was lifted a few months ago in Arizona, we are taking a more cautious approach and tiptoeing back into the world. My daughter’s regular avenues for social connections included school, ballet, swimming lessons, playdates, and hours spent on various playgrounds. Due to Covid-19, all her in-person activities are on hold indefinitely. In other words, my daughter went from spending her days surrounded by children to spending her entire time with me. In addition to being her mother, I am now her teacher (we are homeschooling) and her playmate.

I intended to be “one and done.” However, I never intended for my daughter to be socially distanced from other children her age for extended periods of time.

In case you are in the same situation and have a young only child, here are five tips to ensure that your child keeps thriving during this unprecedented time.

1. Grieve

Allow your child to grieve canceled plans. Many of us had to change or modify our plans this year. For us, this meant canceling our entire summer travel plans and be separated from family members. No matter what your plans were, allow your child to grieve canceled birthday parties, playdates, time away from loved ones, vacations, etc. Acknowledge their disappointment but make sure that they do not dwell in it.

2. Stay Connected

Ensure that your child can keep in touch with family members and friends. Thankfully, technology now allows us to see people through a screen. Children might surprise you with their abilities to play together during a video call. Reassure your child that this is temporary and that they will reconnect physically with their friends and family members when it is safe.

3. Play

Playing for hours with your child can be tricky because many parents are juggling work and household responsibilities. Setting time aside to play without interruptions is essential to nurture that deep bond between you and your only child.

Many parents of only children are now their child’s only playmate, and it can be challenging.

In our household, I ask my daughter to pick her favorite activity or game for us to do together once we are done homeschooling for the day. When my husband is home, we often play family board games or take turns playing with our daughter. Playtime is a big part of our daily routine.

4. Little Helper

Depending on your child’s age and maturity, give them appropriate jobs to do by themselves or do them together. For us, this includes all the daily chores such as cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. Only children are eager to help, and they might develop skills that will help them be more independent in life and even a little bit more mature.

5. Be Grateful

I indicated previously the importance of allowing your child to grieve what they are missing out on. However, ensure that your child cultivates gratitude too. There are many ways to improve appreciation and various studies have been published on its positive impact on people’s mental health. An article from Havard’s Healthbeat summarizes well some studies conducted on the subject. In addition, the article outlines ways to incorporate gratitude into your child’s life. Depending on your child’s emotional maturity, you can, for example, write a thank-you note, thank someone mentally, keep a gratitude journal, count your blessings, pray, and meditate. You can also develop your own way to practice gratitude with your child.

Final Thoughts

My goal was to outline a few tips that work for us with a young outgoing only child. I feel very fortunate to have the option to be able to stay with my daughter. She is dealing with this pandemic very gracefully, and I am very proud of how easy it was for her to adapt to her new life.

Adults could learn a thing or two from children because they have this effortless resilience and adaptability.

I am still in awe at my child’s ability to find adventure in our backyard and to have fun out of nothing at all. Everybody’s family dynamics are different; thus, I encourage you to share in the comment section what you have been doing to ensure that your only child is thriving in 2020.

I am a Mother, It Begins with Me

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I am horrified and heartbroken with the death of George Floyd.  Hearing this man in his pain and fear call out for his mama hit the hearts of so many mothers.  His death, the circumstances, the aftershock to the world has been overwhelming and I have often felt helpless and unsure.

Let me try to remember that by being white, I may have the privilege to sit back and let things play out.  To observe, to stay out of the way as if to assume I am doing no harm.

But it is not enough just to be not racist.

To my fellow white mothers, apathy is no longer an option.  Including my own.

I always considered myself an ally to minority communities.  I was not racist.  I condemned violence against blacks and minorities, I believed I saw them as equals.  I was wrong.

I am learning to take an honest inventory of my own apathy and contribution to the racial divide, my contribution to racism.

At best, I have been guilty of wearing blinders.  At worst, I have been subtly or even overtly racist without even realizing it.  Let me make one thing clear, just because I was not aware, does not mean I should not be held accountable.

It is distressing and poignantly difficult to apprehend the truths about my own privileged attitudes and actions, but I must sit in this discomfort and do the work in this hard space.  I must be brave enough to be uncomfortable.

As a Mother, I must be brave enough to be uncomfortable. 

I am only just beginning this discovery process, which I expect to become continual work with missteps and setbacks.  I am nervous, uneasy and out of my element but here is a short list of the beginning of recognition in my chosen surroundings.  I invite you to join in my experiences in relation to your own actions/thoughts/feelings.

  • I reviewed the 14 books I have read over the last 2 months – not one of them was written by an author of color.
  • I looked through our four year-old son’s children’s books. There were 143 books and eight of them had characters of color, one of which was only a picture of person of color and not a main character, two of which were books specifically about inclusion and race.
  • When I considered the movies and any television series our son watches, not one of them has a character of color.
  • I looked at my social media feeds and saw I had very little content coming from people of color.
  • When I reviewed the companies I consistently support, none of them had leadership or were entrepreneurs of people of color.
  • When I reviewed the causes or charities I volunteer for or financially support, none of them are to support people of color.

Bottom line, I have not been listening to the voices of people of color.  I have not been exposing my child to the representation of people of color.

I have been setting up my world to exclude people of color.

It is time I hear the voices of people of color, to believe their stories and their experiences.  The moment I get offended or irritated by something someone says about white privilege, I must ask myself, “Why am I so defensive?” “What bothers me about that statement?” “Am I afraid I will lose my privilege by acknowledging it?”

I must remember:

White privilege does not mean that my life was not hard or that I have not experienced difficulties but rather my skin color did not contribute to those difficulties.

It is my obligation to do this work.

It is not the black community’s responsibility to teach me.

I Recognize I will make mistakes and it is scary, but those cannot be the reasons to not make a change.

I must be okay with being corrected.

I must be willing to make this a lifelong commitment.

As with anything worth pursuing, this will be painful, and it will be ever evolving but it will be worth it.  It is my responsibility.

I am a mother and it begins with me, right now.

 

The Joy of Bread-Making (Yup I’m THAT Quarantine Girl)

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I’ve previously written about some of my quarantine ups and downs, and if the world ever goes back to normalcy there is one thing I definitely will be taking with me. Bread-making.

I’m sure you’ve seen or know someone who decided to try baking bread for the first time during self-isolation since it can be time consuming and I 100% was one of those people.

On day 1673481246 of isolation where I was just tired of being tired and having seen what I feel like was the 10th million post on Instagram about bread making, I decided to try my hand at it. We were lucky enough that for whatever reason we had a few packets of yeast in our pantry already and plenty of flour so it was just a matter of googling a quick recipe to get started. That first attempt was… not so great.

I realized I was in maybe a bit over my head. Knowing that no woman is an island, even in self-isolation, I decided to call up one of my dearest college friends who (would never say this of himself) is basically a master baker. I picked his brain and let him encourage me “You made bread! It’s not pretty, but it’s bread!” and after getting a better recipe I gave it another go.

There is something so amazingly satisfying about eating warm bread out of the oven that you made. I wanted that feeling to last forever. But wait! I only had one packet of yeast left and my husband had laid claim on it for pizza crust! If I was going to keep on this high of bread-making I was going to have to do something that scared me: make sourdough.

Making a sourdough starter honestly isn’t that hard and there are a LOT of great resources (some links below) out there to get you started. It just takes a LONG time. From the time I decided I wanted to make sourdough bread, to the time I was finally ready to bake, was almost three weeks.

And let me tell you when I finally had my first loaves out of the oven, all I could think is why haven’t I always been doing this. Sure, it takes some forethought (from the moment you decide you want bread to actually cutting into that beautiful crumb is about two days) but it is probably the easiest thing to make with littles in the house. Now I can easily say that I make about two loaves, if not more, a week. If you are thinking about trying your hand at bread-making I encourage you to go for it. There is almost nothing better than producing something for yourself and others to enjoy, and the task helps you to forget some of the troubles and woes of the day. If I can do it, you definitely can.

Resources for Sourdough:

Olaf was right about so many things

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One of the joys of parenthood is looking forward to watching a new kid’s movie with your little crew. The youngster inside of you gets excited just like she did thirty years ago, possibly someone pops some popcorn, and everyone settles in together. It fills you up with the warmest, fuzziest feelings of hygge. At least for the first time, and maybe even the next ten times (but probably not the forty-seventh or the hundred and forty-seventh time). Animations have evolved into this hybrid zone of being entertaining for both adults and kids. How fun it is when you get a belly laugh from the grown-up humor in a kid’s movie, and you look over to see your child kind of going heh heh, confusedly wondering, what did I miss that’s so funny… but mom thinks it’s funny so I do, too.

The first time I watched Frozen 2 was when it was released on Disney+. The pandemic was in its early stages, a waterfall of guidance and information led to great confusion, teleworking had just begun, and fear was rampant about the unknowns. And I was watching a talking snowman drop knowledge bombs and dish out sage advice on the screen.

“We’re calling this controlling what you can when things feel out of control.” Oh my gosh, I DO still have control of some things, I thought as I nodded vehemently over Olaf’s wise coping mechanisms.

“This will all make sense when I am older.” Yes, I hope so, I thought as I watched Olaf sing his heart out.

“My theory about advancing technologies as both our savior and our doom.” Ugh, that’s so true, I accidentally said out loud as my husband gave me a strange look, peering over his laptop wondering with whom, exactly, am I having a conversation.

“Um, turtles can breathe through their butts.”

…hearty laughter. All this sage advice, and in a pinnacle, heartbreaking moment of the animation, this little factoid is thrown in. Thank you for enlightening the world, Olaf. I needed a good laugh. But is it true? I thought you’d never ask! Well, essentially, yes. But technically, no.

Once upon a time, biologists wondered about how certain turtles could stay underwater for excessively long periods – sometimes for months at a time while trapped below thick layers of ice – without ever coming up to take a breath. There is actually more than one way that such a feat can be achieved, but certainly the most fun one to talk about is “butt breathing”. Biologists studied multiple species of turtles that seemingly had this ability and noticed currents around their turtle nether-areas. They could determine if water was moving and where it was going (yes, into the turtle butt) by using things like suspended silt or dye in the water.

One question led to another, and eventually the tissue and cells around the cloaca of these special turtles were investigated. The cloaca is similar in function to the butt in that it also expels digestive waste, but it additionally functions as a part of the urinary and reproductive tracts. It’s an all-in-one package. What scientists discovered were specialized cells of the cloaca that can extract dissolved oxygen from the water, and this was dubbed cloacal respiration. This is similar to how water passes over the gills of fish, allowing fish to extract oxygen from the water instead of breathing with lungs. It is a process of gas exchange that results in respiration. Respiration occurs inside cells and is a metabolic process that creates usable energy for an organism. Breathing, on the other hand, is a voluntary act that includes inhaling and exhaling air through the lungs. So where does this information land us on fact checking Olaf’s turtles-are-butt-breathers statement?

Basically, yes, it is butt breathing – turtles are getting the essential life force of oxygen through their butts. But technically, no, it can’t be considered breathing because lungs aren’t involved, which is why scientists dubbed it respiration.

Now that you know Olaf essentially spoke the truth about the ability of some turtles to breathe through their butts, are you also wondering if wombats really poop in squares? I think I trust Olaf’s never-ending wisdom.

My apologies if you started reading this article and thought you were about to find thoughtful ruminations on creating family togetherness during a pandemic, and instead found information about turtle butts. I hope you still turtle-y enjoyed it.

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In + Around Flagstaff

So the Fair is “Modified,” now what?

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Labor day in Flagstaff means the Coconino County Fair Or at least until this year... ya know, COVID and all. Per the latest press release,...

Hike Hunt Free Printable