How Kids Can Stay Safe Online

As a mother to many, I have worried about the kids being online, playing video games, in chat rooms, and communicating in any way to strangers on the other end. While 95% of the people they engage with online might be other kids, that leaves 5% of the remaining gamers as potential predators/threats to my child. As a blogging mother, and blogger that has a following of mothers, I thought it was time to write about the importance of your Childs safety online.

Children today are born into a world that is thriving with online access and capabilities. They use the Internet for research, play games, do school projects, and socialize with family and friends with just a click of a button.

Though this is an excellent tool for learning and connecting, children are at a high risk of becoming easy online prey. As adults, we know how dangerous the Internet can be. From online predators, scams, to cyberbullying, children are significantly susceptible to these negative traits. In order to ensure your child’s safety when they are web surfing, it is critical for parents to take the necessary precautions to avoid any detrimental outcomes. 

Educate Your Child

Education is key. First and foremost, you need to have a detailed educational session about proper Internet use before you allow your child to dive face-first into their computer screen. If they know what the red flags are and what to stay away from right in the beginning, it may deter them from going to specific sites altogether. Another preventative measure would be to introduce them to kid friendly sites in the first place, save them as bookmarks, and show them how to navigate to that pre-determined list of safe kids websites.

Parental Awareness

Another essential step is being aware of the sites they are searching for and who they are talking to. Make sure that any information being putting out there is appropriate and that your child is not sharing any essential information such as phone numbers and home addresses. You can do this by asking your child directly or investing in monitoring software.

Set Up Parental Controls

Even if you already went through Internet safety methods and monitor your child’s online activity, you can take the extra step and block individual sites that you know are dangerous. This prevents them from accessing those locations altogether, which will drastically reduce the risk of them becoming a victim. Look into your Internet service provider’s parental control options if they have them, or invest in software that blocks site access and restrict personal information from being sent online. Some platforms even offer alert settings, which will notify you instantly if your child tries to access an inappropriate or a blocked site.

Do Not Forget About Cell Phones

Chances are that if your child has a computer, they will most likely have a cellphone too that has Internet access. To cover all your basis, start monitoring their cellphone use as well. You can do this by having your child ask permission before installing new apps, set up safe search modes, and understanding their phone’s overall capabilities. There are also apps available that will monitor phone usage if you wish to take that route. 

Conclusion 

The Internet opens doors to endless knowledge and opportunities.  However, with it comes high-risk situations. With children having the ability to explore the online world, making sure they have a safe place to venture is vital. This is why taking steps to tighten up security and limit certain pages that could be harmful, and adequately educating your child will help reduce the risk and give them a much safer browsing experience. 

How to Keep Sexual Harassment Out of the Workplace

It’s a new year, and with that comes change. If you work in a space that tolerates sexual harassment, it’s time to let your voice be heard. I know too many people that put up with this kind of behavior in the office and it’s just not acceptable. So instead of going on what would normally be a rant about those experiences, the people involved, and how this should be handles, I’m going to take a more professional approach and write about how to avoid this type of harassment at work.

Business is a place for debate and opinions, but we’re almost certain that everybody would agree with the fact that sexual harassment in the workplace is never a good thing. It can destroy the confidence and lives of the victims, it can harm the reputation of the business, and it can cause lots of disruption. Keeping sexual harassment out of the workplace and creating a work space that is hassle free should be an aim for all managers and business owners, and we’re here to provide help on how to achieve this! 

Set Clear Guidelines 

Before anything else, the company needs to adopt clear principles on sexual harassment. Not only should the employee handbook explain that sexual harassment isn’t tolerated, it should lay out consequences and even the definition of harassment to prevent any confusion. 

Additionally, businesses need to address the idea of retaliation. Sadly, some employees in the past have complained about sexual harassment only to then receive further abuse. 

Develop an Appropriate Complaints System 

Over the years, one of the biggest problems with sexual harassment has been the fact that workers have been reluctant to report cases. With clear guidelines set, the next step is to develop a proper complaints process so that all workers know that they can talk and that you will listen. Sometimes, the victim needs to know that their complaint will be kept anonymous for as long as possible, so this is something else to consider. 

Lead by Example 

Although this sounds obvious, everybody at the top needs to lead by example. If a manager breaches the guidelines every single day, everybody else in the workplace will assume that this sort of behavior is acceptable. Since the business doesn’t tolerate sexual harassment, this needs to apply at all levels. 

Offer Training 

With matters as delicate as this, education is often just as important as laying down guidelines and preventing it from happening. Especially with older generations where perhaps they grew up at a time where society was very different, yearly training can once again confirm what is and isn’t acceptable in the workplace. With a good training program, your employees will learn: 

  • What qualifies as sexual harassment 
  • The importance of a workplace free from sexual harassment 
  • The complaints procedure 
  • The importance of people using the complaints procedure when necessary 

In addition to training employees who work on the ground level, I also recommend training all managers and supervisors. When people in this role haven’t really dealt with sexual harassment, they might make a simple mistake. Even by passing the information on to the wrong person, they can cause problems for the business and the individuals involved. With training, all managers and supervisors will know exactly how to deal with complaints, who needs the information, and what happens at every single step of the process. 

Set a Precedent

So far, this would be considered an amazing start, but your work’s not done. You have clear guidelines, a complaints system, the managers lead by example, and everybody receives the right training. At this stage, there’s only one thing that could bring it all down; not following the complaints procedure or sticking to your word. Just because one person is especially important to the business, they shouldn’t get special dispensation. The second that this happens, nobody will ever complain of sexual harassment again because they know there’s a lack of consequence. Also, you will lose your best staff because they won’t want to work in an environment where sexual harassment is accepted. 

If you follow my advice, and then set a precedent when somebody goes against the guidelines, this will give you the best chance of keeping the workplace free from sexual harassment…just as it should be! 

Turning Our Oklahoma Property Into An Air BnB Rental

So after our experience with the broken glass windows at the Air BnB rental, we decided to turn one of our rental properties in Oklahoma into an Air BnB rental. Here are my thoughts on this.

So we purchased a vacation rental in Oklahoma and decided to turn it into an Air BnB. The property was a small farm just outside of Edmond, Oklahoma, and it had one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. We bought it because my husband is an avid hunter and loves to go four wheeling, and Oklahoma has some fantastic off-road trails for him to drive around on.

This started as a summer property we were going to spend time at during the summer months. We quickly realized that there was potential to turn this thing into a rental during our off months. The rental property business is booming, and people are making a full-time living buying and renting a property through Air BnB.

We talked about this as an option to supplement income and decided it was the right route to take. We cleaned the place up, made an Ikea run in Houston (while visiting a friend), and had all the furniture delivered to the property the following week. Within two weeks, we had our first client renting and sleeping in our vacation home. It was a bittersweet experience. I did take out all the personal belongings, pictures of the family, and anything of value I couldn’t replace. It was still weird though, some strangers were staying in our vacation home, and I was not too fond of it at first.

Ok, time passed, and the money we started making made me get over the fact that complete strangers were staying in our little vacation home. So far, so good. The only issue with owning property out of state is managing it. If it’s rural enough, you don’t need to worry about homeowners association dues, landscaping, and other upkeep that’s expected in neighborhoods. If you buy a cabin in the woods, keeping up the landscape isn’t necessary, but there are other things to be considered like security. We installed video surveillance cameras and an alarm, and so far, we have yet to experience any problems with people tampering with our home.

Now that we don’t have to worry about those things, we just needed to find someone in Oklahoma to manage the property for us. After an Air BnB renter completes their stay, a cleaning crew needs to come in and change sheets, sweep, and mop the property. On top of that, we need someone that can manage the people coming in and out, change the combination of the door lock each time a renter checks out, and check on the property monthly for vandalism and general care. We ended up hiring a property management company in OKC to monitor the property and manage the Air BnB tenants for us.

It’s strange having people you don’t know stay in your vacation home; however, I do feel a bit of relief knowing that a great group of people is managing the property. They met us on the property, walked us through the process, and the fees were reasonable. Between the property management fees and the Air BnB fees, we are still able to make a few extra dollars each month to cover general expenses like water, electricity, Oklahoma property taxes, and repairs. Considering it’s a vacation home that we had intended to pay on ourselves, it’s nice having this side income to help pay for these extra expenses.

I’m not sure how people buy and rent homes as a full-time hustle? We thought about doing that locally here in Arizona, but housing prices here are going through the roof. It makes more sense to invest in rural properties in states like Oklahoma, where they are affordable, then to purchase and rent properties in places like Phoenix, Tempe, or Scottsdale. Another option we have considered is investing in multiple vacation homes in Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, and California. Having them spread out like that would allow us to vacation in different states, but would require a little more effort to manage. If we find property management companies in each of those states, it could work for us.

Well, investing in Realestate is rather new to us, as we continue to navigate through all the ups and downs that come with it, I will make an effort to blog more regularly and share my experiences so that you can learn from our (my husbands) mistakes. Haha!!

Broken Glass at Oklahoma Air B and B

Windows Broken at Oklahoma Air BnB

We flew out to Oklahoma as a family in the first week of December to meet with some friends that we missed over the Thanksgiving holiday. I wanted to make it out for Christmas, but it looks like we will be spending Christmas in Arizona, which is alright by me, less travel the better.

We rented an Air BnB outside of Oklahoma City in a suburb called Edmond. A beautiful place to stay in the winter, it was cold but beautiful. The home we rented was smaller, and the exterior looked as if it might have been built in the early 1900s. It was a brick foundation on a small lot of land, really cozy though, and the interior was remodeled lovely.

Sunday came along, and without a doubt, we had football on the TV because that’s what we do on Sundays. Well, the boys decided to go out in the backyard and throw the football around in the leaves. I was super excited that they were going outside, getting along, and getting exercise. This is what I always ask of them; however, there was a little twist to this Sunday’s adventure.

Broken Window

We were planning on driving into Oklahoma City on Monday, staying at a hotel, walking the downtown area, and preparing for our departure on Tuesday. Literally, as we were in the middle of planning the last stretch of our stay in Oklahoma, a football came crashing through the back window and disrupted everything. I tried not to get upset, but it was upsetting. Nothing in Edmond, Oklahoma, is open on Sunday afternoons, so there wasn’t anyone to call to fix the window. This meant that we had to scratch our plans for Monday, contact the owner of the Air BnB, and get the window replaced. We duct-taped a plastic trash bag over the window during the evening, which was concerning for safety reasons, I made the kids sleep upstairs, and we stayed the night downstairs.

Window Replacement

Monday came, and I was Googling everything in Edmond and Oklahoma City, and I couldn’t get anyone out for an emergency window repair. Then I came across Central Glass in OKC, and they had availability that afternoon to replace the broken window. It was a pretty quick swap and the homeowner swung by to check it out, they were really cool and understanding of the whole incident, so that made it more comfortable. The new window looked great, and we were out of Edmond by Monday afternoon and made it to Oklahoma City in time to get checked in to a hotel and walk around. If you know me, you know I love eating where locals eat, so we found some great spots to grub down and finished off the day with a local IPA called F5. If you are familiar with tornadoes and Oklahoma, then you know an F5 is a disastrous tornado, and I can only assume that if I had 5 of these, I might be a disaster also (haha).

Anyway, it was a fun trip! I just wanted to shout out to that beer company, the homeowner, and the glass company that made the trip from Oklahoma City to Edmond to replace the broken glass window. I guess we could have replaced the window ourselves, but I was on vacation! I’m glad to be back in AZ where it’s currently in the ’60s and the sun is shining on my face as I write this.

More family adventure stories to come this month as we attend holiday parties, visit family, and get festive as fck!

Auto Repair Peoria AZ

Arrowhead auto mechanic in Peoria, AZ. Servicing European imports.

When I do business with someone and feel they are deserving of a review, I’ll give them one. The same can be said when I deal with some scum-bag company that I have a poor experience with, if they have done me dirty, I’ll blog about it.

November 2019 NASCAR Race

So we were out in Avondale at the Phoenix International Raceway for the weekend watching some NASCAR and enjoying some downtime. I had picked up some friends in Peoria to join me and ended up staying the night there on Sunday because, well, because the beverages had been flowing good enough to justify me making a grown-up decision and not driving home. Monday was Veterans Day, and we were going to lay-low at the house for the day. I went to make a store run, and my Dodge Durango was running a little funny. I called my husband, who was back in Tempe, and he suggested that I take the car to Arrowhead Automotive in Peoria for repair. He has a Range Rover he takes there because they specialize in European Imports, but I wasn’t thrilled about making the trip. I had no choice, and off I went.

Best Auto Repair Mechanic in Peoria

Ok, so I ended up taking the Durango out there, and even though they specialize in high-end European imports, they took the Dodge without an issue. Now, I usually take it to Tempe Dodge for maintenance work and have thought all this time they were taking care of me, come to find out, and they charge way too much money. I had just gotten my A/C repaired at Tempe Dodge, and it cost me an arm and a leg. When I spoke with the lead mechanic Tommy, he treated me great, spoke in a language I could understand, and seemed legitimately concerned about resolving the issue with the Durango. I ended up grabbing a Lyft and left the Durango for repair. Based on the feedback my husband has given me, their Google Reviews, and the short period of time I spent with them, I would say these guys might be the best mechanics in AZ… well, maybe not all of AZ, but the best mechanics in Peoria.

Trust Issues With Mechanics

peoria auto mechanic

As a woman with minimal knowledge of how cars work, I have trust issues dealing with mechanics. I don’t think it’s from anything I have experienced first hand, and I think it has to do with me knowing nothing about something that often costs me a ton of money when problems surface. I felt different this time around dealing with Tommy at Arrowhead, he didn’t have that used car salesman vibe, he seemed like genuine people, and it seemed way more affordable compared to what Tempe Dodge has been charging me. I would refer my girlfriends and guy friends to them for business, and I feel they are trustworthy people, and that’s important to me. The other thing I appreciated was that it was co-operated by his wife, who was there to talk with me as they were explaining things. This was helpful and made the conversations more comfortable.

Next Time I’m in Peoria With Car Problems

I think I got lucky this time that my husband knew of an auto repair garage in Peoria, had I been in Sedona, I might have been stuck dealing with some local yahoo trying to drain me of every dollar I had. Referrals are helpful, especially when they come from family. I know very few of my readers are family, and many of you are from out of state, but for those of you that live in Arizona, and specifically if you live near Peoria, you should consider Arrowhead Imports next time your car is need of a checkup. Fortunately for me, the check engine light was a sensor issue and not an actual engine issue, still, replacing a sensor isn’t cheap, but with these guys, it was less expensive than it would have been at Tempe Dodge. From here on out, I’m going to make the trip from Tempe to Peoria for my automotive needs, and it’s worth the time and gas money for me to dee with a husband and wife owned business that seems genuinely concerned about helping you.

Braces Or Invisalign?

treating teeth with Invisalign trays

My niece is living in Oklahoma City and is about to get braces, but I suggested to her that she might want to take a shot at Invisalign. Seems like a less permanent option for anyone looking to get their teeth straightened without the long-term commitment of braces. Well, at the end of the day it’s up to her mother, but I always like to give my opinion to my niece and her mother, they both appreciate it and always seem thankful for the alternate perspective. The interesting thing about the discussion with both of them was, neither of them had even heard of Invisalign. So, I did what any awesome aunt would do, I wrote down some information and decided to share it here on my blog. Feel free to share this with anyone you might know who is considering braces and might find Invisalign is a better solution.

Invisalign is invisible and are custom made and shaped to your teeth. They are clear but still somewhat noticeable. Unlike braces, you get multiple trays customized to your teeth each time your teeth shift. Every two weeks you get a new tray. You take the trays out when you eat and brush your teeth after if you want to keep them clean. Then you just pop them back in and you’re good to go. This makes it super easy when on the go for adults and teens. They also come with a case to keep them safe and clean.

If you are interested in getting Invisalign, it would be best to schedule an appointment with your orthodontist and they will have a consult with you discussing the entire process and costs. They will also discuss if this is the best option for you or if braces will speed up the process. They want you to be comfortable and efficient with the entire process of getting your teeth how you want them.

After the consultation you will get a digital scan of your mouth so that they are able to create a treatment plan. This comes with 3-D images of your teeth, mouth and jaw. Using these 3-D images, you will get a customized plan and be able to see great before and after results.

clear braces treatment options in Arizona.

Depending on what treatment plan your doctor wants to give you, the average time is about 12 months for Invisalign to work perfectly. For teens the treatment time can vary but it all depends on the person. Some orthodontics apply bumps on the teeth to help the Invisalign grip the teeth better to ensure the teeth are moving the correct way.

Invisalign not only fixes gaps and alignment but it will also help with dental problems. Gapped teeth will leave gums more exposed to bacteria which is unhealthy. Over and underbites can cause jaw stress and overcrowded teeth increase the amount of plaque. Invisalign is able to cure all of these problems.

Invisalign is easy to wear as an everyday routine. You can go all day while wearing them and take them out as you eat. When you brush your teeth, you can clean your trays too. Your teeth are cleaner with Invisalign because you clean them as you brush your teeth. Where braces you cannot take off.

They are clear so your smile is 90% normal and make you still feel like yourself. Once you’ve finished treatment with a great smile, you will get retainers. This part of the process is the same whether you had braces or Invisalign. Retainers are a must because your teeth can easily shift, especially right after treatment. Typically, you only wear your retainer at night but maybe for the first couple days they recommend wearing it throughout the day just to get used to it since your teeth have relied on structure for so long. After that you just continue to wear your retainer and you are ready to show off your perfect smile.

Luxury Apartment Hunting In OKC

My best friend in Oklahoma had a daughter that started college this year. It was a happy, yet somewhat sad occasion. I flew out there to help move her daughter closer to the university, and our search for a luxury apartment was an interesting one, to say the least.

First, they are pretty well off, and the price wasn’t an issue. We looked around Oklahoma City for condos, duplexes, rental homes, luxury apartments, and lofts that would accommodate the needs of her princess. This was difficult due to the nature of her mother, I love her to death, but she is one picky person. If it wasn’t exterior she had issues with it was the interior. Our search lasted an entire weekend before she settled on a place to call home for the next four years. 

My initial thought was, why not just move her to campus where she can room with some classmates? Why the need to put her up into an apartment for $1,000 a month or more when there were more affordable housing options closer to campus. Well, silly me. It wasn’t about the convenience of the location as much as it was about the status of where she was staying. They ended up renting a beautiful luxury apartment in Oklahoma City at J Marshall Square. This is a premier piece of real estate where elite residence rent and her daughter fit right in.

If this was my daughter, we would’ve made a trip to Ikea, and the apartment would have been furnished with our old furniture, and some new items purchased from Ikea. Not her though, they went and bought some of the most luxurious pieces of furniture they could find. White wrap-around leather couches for the living area, oak wood kitchen table, 60 inch flat screen TV, a new desk, and kitchen supplies that would have been enough for me and my family of six. 

I’m not knocking her decision to rent a luxury apartment for her daughter, I think at the end of the day if I could afford it, I would have done the same. But there is something to be said about the struggle, and having everything handed to you doesn’t necessarily build the character that struggling does. I was long gone from my home by the time my little brother graduated from college, he was spoiled like this girl, and his work ethic is pathetic. He has never held a job, hasn’t found a job, and isn’t aggressively pursuing one. This is what I expect from her daughter post-graduation. 

Who knows though, maybe it’s a different vibe in Oklahoma City than it is here in Arizona. Perhaps these types of lessons aren’t needed in the midwest. Out here in the Southwest, you better come out of college hustling or you will get left behind real quick.

Breast Augmentation Over 35

Hey ladies, I’m back with another post for you and this one is a little personal for me. So after having and a handful of kids and breastfeeding all of them, these things aren’t as perky as they once were. I have tried buying different bras from Victoria Secret to everything else on the shelf that designed for sagging breasts. Some of them have been pretty comfortable, really living my breasts and making me feel confident about them. Then summer hit and I was in my mom bathing suit (no longer a bikini) and I could just feel them being pulled by the natural forces of gravity and I began to consider getting a boob job. My husband supports this of course, but this is something I have been thinking about for years now. I have had four kids hanging from these things sucking them dry of every last ounce of milk I had in them and they look and feel like that. I reached out to my girl in Oklahoma who recently had her breasts lifted after three kids and they looked amazing. She found a plastic surgeon in OKC that was able to reshape them as if they were never deflated by three kids. They were sculpted to perfection in my opinion, her nipples are naturally positioned, and they look extremely real. I have seen too many boob jobs that have looked like softballs implanted under the skin and have forced the nipples out to the sides like some natural tumor-like growths. Not what I’m looking as I research my options. I have seen the results she got with Dr. Sawan and am considering a trip to Oklahoma to get these things inflated. There are some amazing plastic surgeons here in Scottsdale and Phoenix that I’m sure can get the job done, but I don’t know of anyone personally that has had the procedure done here. So, I’m at a crossroads in life at 35. Is it time for some plastic surgery to get this mom-bod back in business, do I get the surgery done here in Arizona, or do I got Oklahoma and have it done and then stay at my girlfriend’s place for a week or so while I recover from the surgery? It would be nice to recover from the surgery without my husband and kids bugging me and wanting to look. I know my husband will be wanting to touch them as soon as they pull me off that operation table, but everyone will need to wait! I’ll keep you ladies posted as this develops, plus pictures ;^}

A Scout’s Guide To The Ultimate Summer Camping Trip

27 ℃. That’s the perfect temperature for summer camping according to Scouts – Canada’s youngest outdoor experts. So, go check the thermometer. It’s time to answer the call of the wilderness!

Scouts learn essential outdoor skills and how to prioritize safety in all activities from day hikes or week long portage tours. Prepare for your next camping trip – whether it’s the first of fiftieth – just like a Scout with Scouts Canada’s Ultimate Summer Camping Guide to make your adventure both memorable and safe.

Campfire Construction

For many, a campfire is a beloved tradition and the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of camping: laughing, roasting hot dogs and sharing stories around crackling flames. The best fires are made up of three things:

Tinder: Small twigs, dry leaves, needles, bark, wood shavings, paper or even dryer lint. These burn immediately and are a crucial element to spark the fire.

Kindling: Sticks as thick as fingers help to build a strong foundation.

Firewood:  Logs of wood keep the fire burning long into the night.

Collect plenty of dry wood before striking a match so the fire isn’t left unattended to gather more fuel. If the campsite has a designated fire pit, use it to keep the flames contained. If it doesn’t, build the fire away from brush, branches, and tents on a durable surface like a rock, dirt or sand to prevent scorching the earth. Always have water close by to extinguish the fire.

Animal Encounters

You’re venturing into animal territory while camping. Knowing in advance what types of wildlife reside in the area will help prepare for and avoid animal encounters. Check for reports of recent sightings and keep an eye out for signs of wildlife nearby such as tracks, fresh droppings, scratches on tree trunks, or animal homes.

Be particularly cautious to protect against ticks, tiny bugs typically found in grassy, wooded areas or along shorelines and in parks – all places campers like to go! Some ticks can be carriers of illnesses like Lyme disease.

To prevent a tick bite, wear long sleeves and pants tucked into socks so they can’t crawl in, use bug spray that has DEET, and wear light clothing so ticks are easier to spot. Before heading back to camp do a thorough check all over your body – and continue to check because ticks can stay attached for five or more days.

If you are bitten by a tick, remove it carefully with tweezers by pulling upward with steady even pressure, clean the area well, and watch for symptoms including a bulls-eye shaped rash. Seeing a doctor is recommended, as early detection is key. Symptoms of Lyme disease may not appear for weeks or even months after being bitten! Make sure to save ticks in a clean container and contact a local public health unit. As Lyme disease spreads to more ticks, it is increasingly important that ticks be identified and tested.

First Ow, First-Aid

Before heading out on any camping adventure, make sure your supplies include a fully-stocked first-aid kit. Scouts use the below checklist of items, so they’re prepared for anything!

First Aid Checklist copy 575
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Compound tincture of benzoin (bandage adhesive)
  • Assorted adhesive bandage (fabric)
  • Butterfly bandages / adhesive wound-closure strips
  • Gauze pads (various sizes)
  • Non-stick sterile pads
  • Medical adhesive tape
  • Blister treatment
  • Ibuprofen / other pain-relief medication
  • Antihistamine
  • Insect strong relief treatment
  • Tweezers (for splinters)
  • Safety pins
  • First-aid manual or information cards
  • Whistle

Scout-Recommended Adventure Activities

Adventurous activities go hand-in-hand with camping, and prioritizing safety is essential to a great trip. A few Scout favourites are:

Canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding provide stunning views of nature, but even on a clear day, safety is key. Always paddle within your capabilities, wear a life jacket, bring an emergency kit, tell someone where you’re going and stay close to land when possible. Also, there is a difference between a lifejacket and PFD (personal flotation device): a lifejacket will turn most people over to keep their faces out of the water even if they lose consciousness. A PFD will not.

Stargazing is of the most beautiful parts of going camping and a perfect opportunity to learn about constellations and the mysteries of the night sky!

Swimming is the best way to cool off on a hot sunny day. Always swim in a group, avoid rough water and strong currents, and wear a PFD if you’re not a strong swimmer. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen!

Hiking Watch out for hazardous plants like poison ivy. Remember: leaves of three, let it be! No one plans to get lost, but it can happen even on a short walk so always bring a daypack with emergency supplies including extra water, snacks, a headlamp, first aid kit and emergency blanket.

Leave No Trace

One rule Scouts always follow is Leave No Trace. This means not disturbing nature while enjoying the outdoors. Plan trips to ensure waste is packed up and disposed of properly, invasive species are not brought into the campsite, and wildlife isn’t disturbed by excessive noise, light or garbage. Leave nature exactly as you found it.

For even more camping and safety tips visit scouts.ca/safety/safety-tips or join Scouts Canada to learn firsthand! Register for your local Scouting group at scouts.ca/join. Join by June 30 and receive a $30 discount!

Starting Music Lessons In Phoenix

The Kids Are Taking Music Lessons!!

Hey ladies, it’s been a while and I know it sounds boring as hell… but I really haven’t had much to report on other than the chaos that comes with parenting 4 kids. All has been well here as we start to wrap up the school year and gear up for the hot hellish Arizona summer days that await us. I wanted to drop a quick note and get this email out to you, the kids have just started taking music lessons in the Phoenix area and I have just been so thrilled with their growth. As most of you know my husband was an audio engineer for many years, so we have many instruments laying around the house. Drums, drum machines, guitars, bass guitars, piano, and the kids school instruments that include a saxophone and a trumpet. The instruments the kids use at school are rented from Milano Music in Mesa.

 

The excitement I have felt watching them grow in school band was never really close to the excitement I feel now that they are playing instruments that I’m a fan of. Don’t get me wrong, I love the saxophone and some Louis Armstrong on trumpet in small doses, but I like traditional bands that feature drums, bass, guitar, lead guitar, keys, and some rock’n vocals. Some recent bands that I’m into include Stone Foxes and Dax Riggs. My son (for the second time) has started learning how to play drums, and my oldest daughter is back on the piano after many years off.

 

Both kids are into rap and hip-hop and listen to some pretty rough music. Although I’m not a fan of most of the language and content, I still let them listen to their own music without interfering with it. The fact that my son plays hip-hop beats on his drum kit does not bother me, at least he’s working on rhythms and timing. My daughter plays chords and riffs behind his drums that actually sound pretty cool. Seeing them play together makes me daydream about them becoming the 2020 version of Donny and Marie Osmond. I know if they knew I referenced that to them they would freak out, but you catch my drift!

 

Playing musical instruments is a mind stimulating activity. The hand I coordination, and the way the brain responds to music is so beneficial to children that it’s encouraged that they study music early in life to help prepare their brains for more complex problem solving and increased focus. This blog post wouldn’t be complete without a little shout out to Shirley Hayes, the primary music instructor at The Note Room Academy of Music where the kids study weekly and learn from a very qualified group of music teachers here in the Phoenix-Metro area.

 

 

Well, that wraps up this post ladies! I’ll be busy blogging this summer as I’ll be home more frequently with the kids. Hopefully everyone doesn’t start practicing their instruments at the same time, or I might just pull my hair out of my head. Stay safe this summer, stay cool, and make sure to have your AC unit serviced before the summer heat hits your home like a bat out of hell!