Friday, May 29, 2015

Summer Fun Friday: The Zoo

We've had a busy first full week of vacation!  The kids are enjoying the later evenings, and tons of free play.  We are blessed to live in a community where we have kids nearby and they all travel freely between houses.  This week, they've spent a little more time over at the neighbors and it's been fun to hear them from afar...I'm sure our house will be the hang out place next week!

We have been members of the Phoenix Zoo for nearly 8 years now and really enjoy walking around.  It's changed so much in the few years we've been going and I'm always impressed at their improvements.  If you're local and not a member, you're missing out!

We realized this week that we hadn't actually gotten to the zoo since we went in November for Zoolights.  So, we thought it was time to make another trip.  This past weekend was truly our last beautiful weekend until October...those roasting triple digits came roaring back and we are all hibernating again.

The kids spent most of the time at the cavern splash pad.  The nice part about the membership is that I feel no pressure to see everything or to spend a certain amount of time there.  If we were paying full price, we'd literally spend every minute there that we could.

The central lake is quite lovely!

My little shivering Arizona babies

So far, we've crossed 3 big things off our list and will get our first camping trip in this weekend too!  I'm excited to get them back off the grid for a few days....I'll be sure to report back next week with the number of Ewoks we managed to find ;-)

Link up here:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Welcome back to Tuesday Talk!  We love having all of these linkups each week. Please be sure to grab a button over on the side and visit your hosts.  We love having you follow us along!

Becky from BYBMG,
Beth from Our Pretty Little Girls,
Whitney from The Polka Dotty Place,
Elizabeth from All Kinds of Things,
Tara from Mrs.Coach Sims,
Keri from Living In This Season,
Sarah from Abiding In Grace,
Lauren from Simply Free ,
Emily from Morning Motivated Mom,
Jessica & Katie from Sweet Little Ones,
Teressa from Teressa Jane

This is always a bittersweet time of year for any are so excited for summer, but this also means that some of your students move on...sometimes this is a very good thing, but other times, it's hard to let them go!

I was blessed with many wonderful students this year....honestly, I never thought they would turn into some of my favorites.  They were a very challenging class as freshmen...but now 4 years later, they are some of my favorite people.  I'm thrilled to have been a part of their journey and know that big things are coming from these kids.

I hope you all get to a chance to meet teenagers as awesome as these!

Happy Tuesday Talk!  Link up here:

Friday, May 22, 2015

Summer Fun Friday: Lake Pleasant

Welcome back to this week's #summerfunfriday
here at Almond Place!

I can hardly believe we have a week of summer vacation under our belts!  I don't know about you, but these first couple of weeks are always ones of transition...ones where we learn to readjust by having everyone home all the time....we've had lots of great moments together and lots of rough patches too.

One of the reasons why I LOVE making a list like this is that it gives us something to focus on.  In a couple of weeks, our boys will start a morning camp for a few weeks but everyone will be home by noon.  Rather than just have them come home and "do nothing", this list is giving us great ideas to go out and have fun together!

We kicked this first week off with a little trip to Lake Pleasant.  This was totally unintentional. We tried to get to the Pioneer Village just north of Phoenix, but we ended up having a ton of rain last weekend and they were closed due to flooding when we arrived first thing Saturday morning.  I had to do some quick thinking and knowing that hitting up the lake was on our list, I decided to head that way.

Honestly, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  I hadn't been out to this lake in well over 10 years and my original plan to get to one of the lakes here in town was to head east instead....we will still get out to that lake, but this was the next best thing.

We spent about 3 hours here...first just driving around to get some bearings....then we pulled over at an inlet and I let the kids out to check things out.  We happened to come across a group of scuba divers in training, so that was pretty cool to see them getting ready and beginning their dives.  This was a cool spot but the problem I found with Lake Pleasant is that it's not really like the lakes I'm used to.  While there was a lot of accessible shore line, there was no actual "beach" designated area.  Everything was very rocky and quite littered. The kids were eager to take their shoes off, and I initially said yes but then I had to back track when I saw how much glass, rusted metal chards, and old fishing hooks were laying around.  It was kind of a bummer and in the end was stressful for me because they were less than thrilled with having to listen to mom kill their fun!

So, we picked up and drove around a little more.  We eventually made our way to the day use area with bathrooms and several picnic tables.  This had a little hike along the ridge of the shore and the kids were super excited to take Mom on a hike down to the water.  Here again, it was super rocky, but this time the rocks were huge and we had a great time tossing rocks into the lake.  This didn't take a long time, but it was the highlight of the day....

**note to self: let kids throw rocks more often**

"Don't Touch!!!"...heard from every mom around us every 5 seconds!!

Because I had not planned on venturing to the lake, we came ill prepared with food.  Luckily, there was a restaurant down at the marina.  While taking all 3 of them by myself to eat in a restaurant is always a risk, they were stellar.  It was cool to eat right on the water and watch people drive their boats up, tie up to the dock and walk right into the restaurant.  Andrew was especially interested in how much all of the boats cost.

We headed home after lunch and all 3 kids were asleep before we made it back to the main freeway.  It was a GREAT day together!!

Link up your activities below!  I can't wait to see what you've done or hear what you've got planned!