Ben’s Bells

I was so thrilled when a college friend posted to her FaceBook about spearheading a Phoenix chapter of Ben’s Bells. It’s an adorably simple concept: hang bells around town for people to find. Ask them to take the bell home and remember to practice kindness when they hear it ring.

The charity’s namesake, Ben, was a precious three year old living in Tucson. He awoke with croup like symptoms but seemed to be feeling ok. Like every mom would, his parents waited and watched his condition. In a flash, his airway swelled shut and they were unable to get him the help he needed in time. His parents began Ben’s Bells as a coping strategy that has blossomed into a beautiful tribute to his memory. And it has touched the lives of other tragedy victims including those in New Town Connecticut.

We were gifted 7 bells to distribute around town. We took them to our regular haunts and waited patiently  for them to be discovered and taken home. We realized later that people were a little confused as to whether they were supposed to take the bell, leave it for someone else or take it and then put it back out to be found by someone else. So after a few educational conversations with friends and aqaintences, all of our bells were found. We asked the friends that we knew to spread the word about the project. We’ve since bought a few more from the website as gifts and a few to leave for others to find too.

They make the cutest gifts for any occasion so order some up for you, friends and strangers: https://bensbells.org/shop

 

Leaving one at swim lessons – someone was not pleased about posing…

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I couldn’t tell that sweet little face that we weren’t allowed to “find” one, so it is hanging outside their bedroom door

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Home Grown Tomatoes

My delicious Black Cherry tomato plant got whacked by the hard freeze in January. I had it covered, but apparently without a heater, a warm quilt was no match for the three day cold snap. I sadly watched the first morning of the freeze as all the leaves on our plants took on a purple tint – a sure sign they were done.

I couldn’t find another Black Cherry, but I did find a Sweet Millions and another cherry variety at my favorite nursery. I wish I had a time lapse camera because these things grew over night. In 8 weeks, they went from seedlings to producing handfuls of fruit! And they are good. Really good. Like I don’t get any inside because I eat them as I water plants good. And our strawberries are going bonkers – it’s a good time to be hungry in the yard.

Cherries

IMG_4897Sweet Millions not quite ready yet

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I’m giving the roses credit for bringing the bees for the tomatoes

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Delicious strawberries

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Zona Zoo

When we were sophomores in college, Peter had an idea to create a student group that would rival the student groups of some of the biggest and well known colleges in the country. The University of Arizona is one of the largest universities in the country and has some of the best and most prestigious athletic programs around…so why didn’t we have a student section at basketball games?

Peter ran for the student senate that same year with the goal of creating such a student organization. He spent many hours campaigning and I spent many hours (and manicures) helping paint bed sheets with “WAND FOR SENATE” to be strung up between palm trees around campus. I have to admit, I didn’t understand why we needed a student section – more so, I didn’t know how he was going to pull it off. And like many times before then and many times after, he didn’t fail to wow me.

After winning a seat on the student senate, PW campaigned, recruited, marketed and worked his butt off to create and then get the wheels on the student organization moving. He got the support of the athletic director, funding from Pepsi and also the men’s basketball team on board. A contest was held to name the organization and with the mens basketball team’s help, the title of the Zona Zoo was selected. And thus, a legacy began.

A few years ago, we had the UofA game on. A few minutes after kickoff, I heard swear words from the living room. When I asked what was going on, Peter rewound the dvr and showed me how many students were at the football game. And right behind them, painted on the stadium wall was ZONA ZOO. He was in shock. We had no idea that the Zoo had grown so much.

This month is the tenth anniversary of the Zona Zoo and the Arizona Daily Wildcat newspaper called to interview PW about the inception of what is now one of the largest student organization in the country with 10,000+ members.

It’s an amazing legacy and one of many that I think Peter will have. Congrats PW on an amazing job well done!

http://www.wildcat.arizona.edu/article/2012/11/beginnings-zonazoo-history-110912

Archives Week

It’s Archive Week at Scottsdale Mom’s Blog! I got to pick my favorite from Angela’s (a fellow contributor) posts. Which might be the most difficult and also the easiest job ever since she write such great stuff. Angela is the “what to do and where to go” lady and she has some really fantastic ideas. The post I chose has some great places to visit with the munchkins, even in the heat! Who doesn’t need ideas of what to do with energetic munchkins in the summer?? So read, enjoy, and get out!

www.scottsdalemomsblog.com

Total Eclipse of the Mind

I love all things celestial. I like constellations, shooting stars, meteors, planets, eclipses – if it’s happening in the sky, I’m in.

Last week the news was all about the  upcoming solar eclipse. It’s the first time it’s been visible in Arizona in 18 years. And you know what? I know exactly where I was for the last one. I was 11 and it was summer. Our awesome summer babysitter, Kim, had taken Ali and I downtown to a small festival all about the eclipse. There were tons of instruments and fun eyewear that made it safe to look at the eclipse – I even remember that you could see the shadow of the moon over the sun in the small pin holes in the tent. It was awesome.

So you would think I would have at least made a post it note for the solar eclipse that happened yesterday, yes? You would be wrong. A brutal combination of baby brain and busy weekend left me totally without a reminder to look up. What’s worse is that I knew something was up. I walked out of the office and said to Peter “am I nuts or did it get dark outside in the last 5 minutes?”. Avoiding the obvious answer of “are you really asking me to confirm your sanity?” he agreed, it had gotten darker. I looked out back and concluded that some dark cloud had descended on our house…the light was just so strange. And STILL, nothing. Not even a hint of a reminder went off in my head that the totally amazing eclipse was going on.

It wasn’t until later when I saw Facebook posts about the event that I realized A. I’m an idiot B. there was no dark cloud but rather the moon passing between Earth and the sun causing a shadow on Earth and C. I blew it! I was so bummed. Especially after seeing some of the pics:

Obviously this was taken with a special lens…but STILL. Isn’t it cool?? And to think I was goofing around indoors the entire time. Arg!

T-Town Bound

We made a quick trip to Tucson this weekend and had a ball. Normally I am opposed to overnight trips – they’re just too much work. Packing up the kiddo’s stuff, bedding and “just in case” supplies is a pain in itself, but I have to find someone to check in on the BearMeister, pack myself and PW…it’s just a lot of work for 24 hours. Not to mention that this weekend we had stuff scheduled on both Saturday and Sunday so we were litterally zipping in and out of town. But to my big surprise, it all went very smooth and was a ton of fun!

We arrived with enough time before dinner to walk around campus. It was so much fun to see The Phi, Peter’s fraternity house (which is currently being occupied by another fraternity and caused PW to hold back a few swear words), buildings that we each attended classes in, our favorite resturants, our respective dorms…the list goes on. It was amazing to think back and realized how much life has changed in the last *cough* eight years since we graduated. The campus has changed so much, yet all the amazing memories are still there. It’s even more fun that PW and I were there together so it wasn’t me showing him, but rather getting to tell each other our favorite memories. At one point Baylor sighed and asked when we were going back to the “HO-teeeellll”. Apparently memory lane was not as exciting for her.

Ah The Phi. I lived in the window right above the “Alpha Phi”

Next we were off to dinner with the family I babysat for while at UofA. It’s scary to think that Madi is now graduating high school and headed off to college herself! Amazing how she’s grown and I haven’t aged a day…to say that it’s wonderful to catch up with the L family is an understatement. They are truly amazing people and even when we haven’t seen each other in years, it’s like we just talked yesterday. Dinner was at one of our collective favorites: Rosa’s. I had forgotten how amazing the refried beans are and I said a little prayer of thanks that the morning sickness has passed so I could enjoy every stinking last bite of my enchilada and tacos!

After dinner it was the UofA baseball game – PW’s reason for planning the trip. The team has moved off campus to Hi Corbett Field which turned out to be awesome. The stadium was packed, they served beer and there was a jump house, what more could you ask for? Oh yeah, a win! We got that too.

Pretty sunset

We had to teach Baylor not to cheer for the other team. She broke out her signature “dirty look” instead.

PW and BW

The Super Moon! The camera phone didn’t do it justice.

We headed back to the “ho-teelll” after it was looking promising that the Cats would pull off the win. We were impressed with The Lodge on the Desert. It was close to the hotel and campus, full remodeled and a nice price. Bay was excited to try out her new Pea Pod sleep tent and it went swimmingly. If you have any traveling to do with a toddler soon (especially one that sleeps in a crib but has out grown a pack and play) then I highly recommend the tent. It has an air mattress, is one piece that folds flat and doubles as a play area. It was perfect way to divide a room for her and us so we could do crazy stuff like brush our teeth and watch TV without waking her up!

We’re already talking about another slightly longer trip later this summer to one of the resorts. Sure there are two world famous resort just down the street, but there’s something about getting out of town, visiting places you haven’t been to in years and a long drive that make a trip even better.

 

Mom’s Night Out Giveaway

I’m so excited to announce that today I am giving away TWO TICKETS to the next Scottsdale Mom’s Blog Mom’s Night Out!!

The event is being held on Thursday, May 10 from 7:00PM to 9:00PM at the Ice Den in North Scottsdale. Each ticket is a $10 value and includes:

:: a glass of wine ::
:: delicious snacks ::
:: raffle entry & chance to win spectacular giveaways ::

If you’ve not been to a Mom’s Night Out event before, you’re in for a treat! Not only is it a great excuse to get out of the house / work early and enjoy a glass of wine with friends, but the giveaways are AMAZING. SMB draws some really fantastic sponsors like Boon, Giggle Boutique, Rodan and Fields and lots more. All you have to do is sit back, enjoy and wait to win!

 Here’s how you enter: comment below on why you need a mom’s night out. Potty training not going well? Work kicking your booty? Family making you bonkers? Tell me all about it! I’ll randomly choose a winner tonight at 10pm and announce the winner on tomorrow’s post. So get writing and good luck!

If you’re interested in purchasing tickets, send me a message and I’ll let you in on the early “friends only” link!!

It’s Coming…

Last night when I walked outside, I noticed something was….different. The air was cool, but not chilly. There was a hint of warmth in the breeze. And there was a scent of grass and tree blossoms and it was familiar. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but then it hit me – it’s time for baseball.

I remember the same sensation when I played softball as a tween. It seemed night practices were always cold and then suddenly when we had a game, it was warmer, balmy and comfortable. There was a breeze blowing through the palm trees and there was an energy that seemed to signal the end of winter and the beginnings of spring.

Obviously I’m not playing a lot of softball these days, but it’s still the same feeling. And there is a sense that something is blowing in the breeze, something coming. That something? Is spring training. The happiest season of the year where we will spend many an afternoon playing hookie from work, drinking ice-cold beers in the hot sun and watching our favorite teams from mere feet away. It is, in a word, awesome.

Pitchers and catchers report in 9 days according to mycountdown.org. But all you really need is a walk outside and take a deep breath to know that it’s time.

Scottsdale Stadium

I spent so many nights here as a kiddo watching Firebird’s games with my dad. And now we get to take Bay to see the Giants. Preferably playing the Cubs. And preferably the Cubs are winning.

Terrific Tangerine

Yesterday afternoon, B and I ventured out to a new farmer’s market with cousin Zoe and Christane. It was a great little set up with just a few booths selling local produce (at awesome prices) and a lot of vendors with jewelry, honey, hair clips, baby clothes, all kinds of thing I don’t need and yet feel the need to purchase.

One of the jewelry makers is a company called Tangerine Jewelry Shop. Even from far away the stuff was gorgeous. When I got up close, I was shocked to see how reasonably priced everything was. Some of the jewelry has real stones, which makes them a little pricier. But a lot of the stones were really colored and cut glass making for a lovely alternative for the financially challenged.

I picked up this little bauble for $30!

I’m seeing Christmas 2012 for all the ladies in the family coming together….! Check out what they have to offer on either their website, Etsy shop or at a farmer’s market. I will say, they have tons more a the markets than they do online so find out where they are going to be and bring your wallet, but don’t worry, it will still be full when you’re done.

www.tangerinejewelryshop.com

http://www.etsy.com/people/tangerinejewelryshop.com