Hiking Tonto Natural Bridge, Arizona

We love the month of March here in Arizona for so many reasons. And I declare it to be the best month for hiking and biking. It’s starting to warm up a bit, but not too much. The desert is in bloom and places that require permits (like Fossil Creek) are starting to open for spring. Since we homeschool, we have a very open schedule to hike and we even plan day trips most weeks so that we can explore other beautiful parts of Arizona. One of my very favorites is hiking Tonto Natural Bridge, Arizona. Have you been?

Tonto Natural Bridge is a state park located in central Arizona near Payson and has been one of my very favorite hikes since I was a little girl. Looking at the photos, you can see why. It’s absolutely beautiful. 

There is an entrance fee to this park (gotta keep those parks clean and well kept so that we can enjoy them) but it’s affordable and you pay in the gift shop that located in the adorable Goodfellow Lodge. Be sure to pick up a park map while you are there so that you can decide which trails you want to hike. 

For this hike, you need good shoes and a backpack of your hiking essentials. The gravel is slick, which makes this hike a little more tricky that others. If you have little ones with you, be sure you have a set of extra hands to help lift little ones over big rocks. Hiking backpacks that carry little ones would be a great help too.

Once you get to the natural bridge, there’s lots of places to explore and marvel at… my favorites being the waterfall and rainbow you catch a glimpse of.

The water, caves, algae, stalactites… even the little toads we watch hopping around. This place is just magical.

After exploring under the bridge, we decided to hike back out and explore the trails on top of the bridge. The look out spots were awesome!

The picture above is a view from the top of Natural Bridge. There’s even a hole in the top of the bridge where you can look down and see through to what’s under the bridge… where we just came from!

Pretty cool, right?! The picture below is a picture looking into/under the bridge from one of the look out points.

There’s the glimpse of the rainbow! And you can feel the mist from the waterfall right from this spot. It’s absolutely beautiful. 

If you haven’t taken the kids to hike Tonto Natural Bridge yet, I highly recommend it! It really is one of my most favorite. 

If you are looking for other awesome hikes to do with your kids in Arizona, check out Fossil Creek and Grasshopper Point too!



Hiking and Biking Backpack Essentials

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® ,  but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #CleanFaceWithEquate  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV.

Hello friends and Happy Monday! March is one of my very favorite months of the year and I can’t believe we are already here! It’s my baby’s birthday month and it’s the month that Arizona has the very best weather ever. We love spending time outside together, and March is the month to do all the hiking and biking we possibly can before the weather starts to warm up substantially. So this month I will be sharing my favorite places to hike and bike with kids in Arizona. To start off the month, I thought I would share hiking and biking backpack essentials so that you’re prepared for hiking and biking with us!

I don’t claim to be a professional hiker or biker, but we are definitely avid. I have been taking my daughter hiking since she was a baby, but especially when she turned three. Now that she is almost ten, it’s opened a whole new level of hiking and biking that we can do together. 

One thing that I am good about is being prepared. Before heading out for a hike or bike ride, you’ll want to pack up a backpack of some essentials. 

  • Sunscreen- Arizona is mostly sunny, so sunscreen is a must. We put it on before heading out and throw it into the backpack for reapplication later.
  • Water- We bring a couple of water bottles in our backpacks if we aren’t wearing a camelback. It’s so important to stay hydrated.

  • Sunglasses- Usually we are wearing these already, but I usually have an extra pair in my backpack just in case. Again, Arizona is sunny!
  • Snacks- I like to put a couple of granola bars, a baggy of mixed nuts, fruit leather, or beef jerky in the backpack for a quick and healthy snack while we are on the go.

  • Mini first aid kit- In case of bums and scrapes, we bring a travel first aid kit in the backpack too. This can include tissues (for runny noses or allergies) and essential oils (like Tea Tree oil for disinfectant) too. 

  • Chapstick- Our lips always dry out on hikes and bike rides, so this is a necessity for us! Drinking lots of water helps too.

  • Equate Fragrance Free Makeup Remover Towelettes- We are sure to pack these towelettes in our backpack! We love their convenience, ease of use, and that they are fragrance free and made with essential oils and 99% natural ingredients! They are inexpensive and versatile, so we can use them to clean our hands, face, or ‘ouchies’ while we are out hiking or biking. Not to mention I use them nightly to remove my makeup (and waterproof mascara!). 

I find Equate Beauty Fragrance Free Makeup Remover Towelettes in the cosmetic section with the other facial cleansers at my local Walmart. I usually buy 2 packages at a time because I keep one at home and one in my backpack or purse. 

Do you take a backpack filled with essentials when you take the kids hiking and biking? What else would you add to this list? I would love to know!

Thanks for stopping by, friends! We will see you soon with more hiking and biking fun! 


Out of Africa Wildlife Park

This trip was hosted by Out of Africa Wildlife Park but all opinions are 100% my own and I only share things I love and think you will love too!

This year my word and big goal is to be intentional while also having less things and more experiences. Though we are natives to Arizona, there is still much of it we have not experienced. When we decided on a trip to Camp Verde to visit Out of Africa Wildlife Park, I couldn’t be more excited. I knew my animal-loving, thrill-seeking family would absolutely love this adventure, and I know you will too! 

After we arrived, we checked out the map so that we could schedule our day accordingly. We wanted to be sure to get the most out of our trip, so we picked out some of our very favorite attractions so that we wouldn’t miss out! 

First we hopped onto the safari ride so that we could see, feed, and learn about the animals living at Out of Africa Wildlife Park. We really enjoyed Pilgrim the giraffe.

He was so fun to feed!

After the safari ride, we had a very important meeting with a guy named Bart.

That’s right… Bart is a sloth! And he was who I was most excited about meeting. We scheduled a private visit with him and learned so much about this fascinating animal. Did you know sloths are faster in water than on land? We even got to feed him and pet him! He loves carrots, apples, and sweet potatoes. You can see more of this in our video too!

And of course I had to get a selfie with my new best friend… he was just way too sweet! 

Once sadly parted ways with Bart (lol!), we decided to check out the Tiger Splash show which was so much fun! You’ll have to check out our YouTube video to see how awesome it was… but in person is always better!

After the Tiger Splash show, we walked about and checked out some of the other animals (check out that beautiful lioness!) until it was time for our zip line date with Predator Zip Lines!  We had an absolute BLAST zip lining over the park… what a view! Check out our video for more on that too.

After our zip line adventure, we finished up our day with a picnic lunch and more animal encounters around the park. 

We loved learning about Totter the otter who was rescued from a canal in downtown Phoenix (who even knew otters lived in Arizona?!). When she was found she was underweight, dehydrated, and infested with fleas and ticks. Now she’s as happy as pie and completely healthy. She was so fun to watch playing in her habitat. 

To see more of our amazing day at Out of Africa Wildlife Park, check out our video below. Be sure to visit the Out of Africa Wildlife Park for business hours, more information on the park, as well as location and deals! Would you believe you can enter the park for FREE during your birthday month?! How cool! 


I hope you put Out of Africa Wildlife Park on your must visit list! This is not a government owned zoo, therefore visitors are what keeps this animal sanctuary going. It’s such a fun day trip for the family. Let me know when you visit!

Find Your Tribe + Grasshopper Point

The other day we packed up the car and headed to Sedona, Arizona, for a day trip with our homeschool group. We decided to celebrate NOT Back to School at Grasshopper Point, a shady water hole in the red rocks surrounded by big green trees and a stream. 

When I started this blog, I was a public school teacher. I taught 1st grade and 3rd grade. I LOVED teaching. About 6 years in, I decided to take a leave and stay home with my daughter and pursue some entrepreneurial dreams. When my daughter turned preschool age, I started homeschooling her and started a preschool co-op with other mommy friends. We have some of the best memories from those days. But eventually, all of our sweet friends went off to kindergarten and we needed a new plan. It was important for us to have a community. My daughter is an only child (read more about that here), and she’s extremely social and loves her friends. We tried out lots of different homeschool groups, and although we made lots of new friends, nothing felt like ‘home.’ 

Feeling discouraged and questioning my choice to homeschool, I prayed hard for an answer. Again… it was important for us to have a community… a tribe. And a few days after I broke down crying in prayer, I met my friend Mel. She was a mom of a sweet little girl in the PreK cooking class I was teaching. She mentioned that she had decided to homeschool and wanted to know if I wanted to get together weekly with our kids. Of course I agreed (you can tell a kind soul when you see one, am I right?) and soon thereafter we met a mutual friend of a friend, Nicole, and added to our group.

Now, 5 years later, we are 8 moms strong and 21 kids deep. We are all so alike, yet all so different. And each of our differences adds to our group. We collaborate, plan, laugh, educate, meditate, play, adventure, explore, share, make memories, learn, and love on each other’s kids.

I am so thankful for this tribe. They encourage me and support me. And not only am I am better homeschooler for it, I am a better mom, wife, and friend because of them. And my daughter has built some really awesome friendships and has learned a lot of really awesome things. 

I am so thankful life brought us all together… so we could travel this journey of homeschool and motherhood and celebrate milestones together. Plus, we have A TON of FUN! 

If you’re in Arizona, I highly recommend visiting Sedona. Your kids will LOVE Grasshopper Point. Be sure to bring $8 per car for parking. It’s an easy walk down to the water but there are lots of rocks and boulders so watch your step! Once down at the water, there are lots of places to have picnics, swim, hike, and explore. If you can go during the week, it’s even better because you avoid the crowds. It’s not a pet-friendly trail, so leave your furry friends at home. Be sure to bring sunscreen, towels, water shoes, and lots of H2O. And as always, don’t forget to hike out with your trash. 

Wild and Free with a LOVE for learning. Our party in nature has me pumped for another awesome school year full of new learning experiences and adventures. Luci and I are excited for fourth grade!

Are you a parent of a fourth grader or a fourth grade teacher? If so, you must check out Every Kid in a Park! It’s a program for fourth graders enabling them and encouraging them to visit national parks by making it a free and educational program! We are all signed up and can’t wait to take advantage of it. Let us know if you do too! 

Camping at Lake Pleasant, Arizona

Hello there friends! Now that it’s summertime, I’m sure most of you are ready to get out and explore our lovely state. Typically families plan their trips and vacations in the summer due to kids being out of school. So I thought I would share some of our favorite things to do as a family around our home state. We love being outdoors and near water, so Camping at Lake Pleasant, Arizona, is a must on our summer bucketlist.

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There are a few options to pick from when planning your camping trips at your local and state lakes. Though many families go for the corporate owned facilities, we LOVE camping at our state and regional parks. And there are plenty of reasons why, which I will get to shortly.

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Lake Pleasant, Arizona, is located only 35 miles from Phoenix and is the biggest lake in the area with over 10,000 acres of water surface. It’s the perfect place for boating, water skiing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and more. It’s the perfect place for family fun and of course it’s pet friendly as well. Just keep those pets on a leash and be sure to clean up after them. 

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Lake Pleasant has 2 marinas, a restaurant, and a few options for camping. Our personal favorite is Desert Tortoise Campground. This campground is right on the water and has options for RV hook ups as well. The above photo is our view from our favorite spot.

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If you’re lucky enough, you may see a Bald Eagle or two fly overhead or even a pack of wild burros while staying at the lake. The beautiful sunsets are a backdrop to the wildlife and saguaro cacti that surround the lake. It’s really a great place to hang.

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Two of our favorite things to do when camping are to go on nature walks and cook over the campfire, both of which can be done at Lake Pleasant. Sometimes when the sun goes down, it’s even chilly enough for a light jacket.

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The next time you consider camping, check out Lake Pleasant and the state/regional campsites. The campsites and bathrooms are very clean, you are right near the water, and the view is unbeatable. Plus, the price of the site is extremely affordable and the money you spend goes back into keeping our state and regional parks clean and well kept.



Hiking Fossil Creek, Arizona

Over the last few years, I have really come to appreciate and love where I live. Born and raised in Arizona, I grew up thinking the desert was ugly and dirty and that no beauty could be found here. So happy to say that I was dead wrong. The more I get out in nature and explore the state I live in, the more I come to love it. One of my favorite things to do is explore new places… especially out in nature or near water. So when I heard about Fossil Creek, I knew that I had to check it out and after about three years, I finally made the time to get there. I also did a little bit of research on it, so I figured I’d share the knowledge with all of you, as I highly recommend this place jumping to the top of your bucketlist. Here are some great things to know about hiking Fossil Creek, Arizona, and I even included a few helpful tips.


Fossil Creek is located near Strawberry and Camp Verde, Arizona. The 14 mile creek’s water is calcium rich, laying down large deposits of travertine and encasing whatever falls into the stream. Hence forming fossil like creations, which is where the name Fossil Creek comes from. Kind of cool, right? Tons of plants and animals depend on this creek, including past Western Apache who still consider Fossil Creek part of their homeland. 


Fossil Creek does require a day permit which you can get HERE and you should definitely get it ahead of time (print it out and bring it with you!). There’s also a very bumpy 14ish mile dirt road all the way back to the permitted parking. I highly recommend a truck, SUV, jeep, or something similar for this part. It can be done in a car or van, but know that it will take you a lot longer to get back to the parking. 

Because we were hiking with kids, we decided to try out Waterfall Trail which is a non strenuous hike to the falls. It’s about one mile in and one mile out and absolutely gorgeous the entire way.


We hiked through greenery and along the creek, listening to the water and the wildlife sounds. It was absolutely peaceful and beautiful. The kids loved collecting leaves and rocks and walking sticks along the way. There were even a few cool bridges to cross over, which is always a hit with kids.


I recommend packing lots of snacks or a lunch in as well as water (we took our Camelbacks). There are plenty of places to have a picnic. You do need to pack all of your trash out, so keep that in mind as there are no trash cans. Let’s be conscience of keeping this beautiful place clean so we can visit it for years to come.


After you hike in for about a mile… that’s when you see it. And it is breathtaking, y’all!


The falls are surrounded by trees and a swimming hole and caverns to explore. We watched a few people jump from the falls into the swimming hole, which the kids thought was super exciting. The kids also spotted fish in the stream and even some tadpoles… it made for a super fun nature journal entry.


Be sure to bring a towel and shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. The kids wore their bathing suits under their clothes and that worked out well. You should also bring a camera or your phone for picture taking… trust me when I say that you will want to take pictures.


I would consider a trip to Fossil Creek a day trip, as it takes some time getting there, finding parking, hiking in, eating lunch, playing in the water, exploring, hiking back out, and driving home. I also highly recommend going during the week, as the weekend are CRAZY busy and often times people are turned away due to the parking being too full. I’m hoping that with the permits, less of that will happen.


We had the BEST day at Fossil Creek hiking Waterfall Trail. Out of all the places I’ve hiked and explored in Arizona, I would say this is one of my top favorites to date and one that I would recommend to everyone. So, put it on your summer bucketlist and get out there and explore, my friends!

Have you been to Fossil Creek yet? If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will answer as best I can.

Fashion Week Beauty Forecast

Phoenix fashion week is quickly approaching and the preparatory events are in full swing! In case you were unaware (as I was), Toni&Guy is chiefly in charge of the styling of Phoenix Fashion Week’s models and held a press event as a “preview” as to what we should be expecting to see at PFW! I was one of the lucky bloggers to get the inside peek of the Fashion Week Beauty Forecast!

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We were treated to complimentary blowouts, facials, manicures, and cookies. Basically the sampler plate for all things fabulous! All of the ladies at Tony&Guy were so super friendly… we had such a great time!

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I was privileged to meet Miss Dawn Dettloff who has been styling at Phoenix Fashion Week for years now. She has brilliant backstage stories and gets to be all chummy with the models that are in and out of her chair. How cool is that?!

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Besides that, Dawn took my tangled (maybe still wet) mop and made me feel like a Fashion Week model myself. Check out that braid, ladies!

Runway ready? For sure.


We also go to get a peek at and even converse with some of the models who will be strutting their stuff down the runway during Phoenix Fashion Week. Talk about pretty people!

If the models this year look half as lovely as I felt, they’re sure to rock it on the runway!


Do you follow Phoenix Fashion Week?


Victoria {Victori Speech}

Three Reasons to Attend Pinspiration

During the summer here in Phoenix, it’s hot. Like…triple digits HOT. We try to find things to do indoors or things involving water if we are outdoors. So when I hear of fun new places to try out around the valley, we jump at the opportunity. Over the weekend, we had the chance to visit a place where community meats creativity. A DIY studio space where people of all ages are artists! Here are Three Reasons to Attend Pinspiration… because it is a MUST. 


1. The monthly rotating Pinspiration projects.

Each month the crafts and projects at the studio change based on top pinned projects on Pinterest. How cool is that? When you first walk in, they are all on display for you to choose from. Enjoy painting, jewelry making, up-cycled decor projects, clay, children’s crafts, and more…


All materials are provided for the projects and crafts offered at Pinspiration. So there is no fuss, no mess, and no excuses. The Pinspiration team sets you up with an iPad so that you have access to the Pinterest projects… meaning the directions for the projects come from the actual blogs themselves. LOVE that!! Way to promote Crafty DIY bloggers, Pinspiration. 


2. The atmosphere and staff are top notch.

When I first walked into Pinspiration, I was blown away by the eye candy. I’m talking all the heart eyes. Beautiful inspiration (or “Pinspiration”) everywhere you look. It is absolutely beautiful inside. I’d have to say that my three favorite pieces were the hanging paint brushes, the penny counter tops, and the wine bottle water fountain. Just gorgeous.


I’ll be honest when I say that I have pretty high expectations for customer service. Probably because I worked in the industry for years, but regardless, the bar is high. The girls at Pinspiration were awesome. They were friendly, helpful, attentive, fun, and it is obvious they love their job. That speaks volumes to me. Not only were they attentive to my needs, but they made sure my daughter was taken care of as well. They spoke to her at eye level, made her giggle, complimented her crafts… really went above and beyond. I can’t tell you how much my 7 year old enjoyed herself.

3. It’s the perfect place for friends and family of all ages.

Pinspiration caters to both children and adults. There are a variety of crafts and workshops offered every month to satisfy anyone’s preferences and skill levels. Pinspiration has an open studio plus a private event room and Arizona’s first splatter room. They offer creative workshops, DIY kits, Splatter Parties, Summer Camp, birthdays, milestone events (baby showers, bachelorette parties, etc.), corporate team building, schools and community (non-profit group event, Girl Scouts, Teachers Night Out, etc.), and more. They also have a beer and wine bar where you can order drinks. 


Have I convinced you? Isn’t it awesome?! We honestly can’t wait to go back. I can see future Girl’s Nights with crafting and even homeschool group field trips in the spatter room! 

When we attended Pinspiration over the weekend, we were lucky enough to be apart of the Cheers to the Ears (Disney) workshop. I can’t even begin to tell you what an awesome time my daughter and I had. The workshop was held in the private event room and was decorated so cute with all things Mickey. No detail was skipped! The cost of the workshop was for one adult and one child and included a tea party with snacks (adorable Mickey sandwiches, popcorn, and tea), 3 crafts (Mickey/Minnie ears, a wand, and an autograph book), cupcake and cookie decorating, and a special visit from Tinkerbell herself! She even handed out Pixie Dust and gift bags and signed the kids’ autograph books. It was a super magical evening and well worth the cost. Before leaving, my daughter told me she wasn’t ready to go because she was having SO much fun. We can’t wait to go back!


Arizona friends, check out Pinspiration and sign up for their newsletter so you can stay up to date with the current workshops and projects. Let me know when you go… I may have to meet you there to get my craft on too!