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T-Minus 10 days until Spring Break. Who’s counting? I am. We need a vacation SO bad and somehow we lucked out and Russ is coming along! Typically the boys’ school break is during his busy season, so I’ll take the kids solo somewhere. This year he lined up the work on the house so he could sneak away, too! The poor guy has been putting in 15 hour days for months now and there’s no sign of stopping until the house is finished. As hard as manual labor is on a body, being a mom solo all day isn’t easy either, hence the family-wide countdown!We’re flying not too far South, to Mesa Arizona where I grew up until 2nd grade! My older boys do pretty good traveling (Raleigh is anyone’s guess) except that lately they have gotten so territorial about their games. They don’t want anyone touching their “scores” or levels, but they love the SAME GAMES and it’s caused a lot of contention. They fight a lot as it is so any easy fixes I am all over! Luckily we snagged another Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet for Christmas and that has solved all our traveling issues! In preparation for Arizona, I’ll load up their devices with new eBooks (our favorites below!) set them up with Bluetooth headphones and they pack their own backpacks with snacks and toys for the trip and I hardly hear a peep from them! When they take breaks I can catch up on my own books and shows as all my purchases sync automatically. I love how affordable the tablets are as well — there is no way I would normally get two devices, but this felt doable. They offer a 2-year guarantee, if they break, they’ll replace it! CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE?! I’ve talked about the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited service before but I know it’s been an especially hot topic of late — how do we protect our kids from mature content? I have been so impressed with the timers that shut off when it’s been played for their allotted hour, being able to set goals (read 30 minutes before you can access games or videos), and filtering any content over a certain age limit automatically, while still touting 15,000 age appropriate titles hand picked by their team. I don’t stress about what they’re accessing at all! I love that I can review what books they’ve been reading for their 30 minutes on the Parent Dashboard and Amazon provides discussion cards to help me know how to engage with them about whatever they’re reading with questions and summaries. It really is such a stellar service!
I can’t wait to get back to the warm desert air in Mesa! I have such happy memories there and the smell is unbeatable! My brother and his family live there and my dad just recently moved back there, too! I haven’t said much on this, but I haven’t seen my dad in 4 years. Whoa! He moved to New Zealand where he worked as an anesthesiologist and with new babies and just life we never made it out for a visit before he moved back. We were bummed not to see his home for the last bit, but are super happy he’s closer to us now!
We have our favorite stops in Mesa, but would love to hear from you guys! What’s new and amazing that we can take the kids to? I am all for day trips as we’ll have a car down there so don’t be shy if there’s something a couple hours away! We have strict time limits for our devices, but traveling we are loads more lenient so my boys’ are always down for road trip. Ha! We have a baseball game on the agenda, Organ Stop (nuttiest pizza place on Earth) and maybe the Scottsdale Butterfly Wonderland? I’ve also somehow seen several friends eating at Gadzooks and that place looks like some legendary Mexican food!
I know I’ve got a lot of Arizona readers and can’t wait to hear your reccs! If you’re sold on the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet you can snag it here! And as promised here’s a few of my boys’ favorites that are either free with FreeTime Unlimited, included in the free trial for Kindle Unlimited or pretty affordable either way!
Young Reader editions of Hidden Figures and Boys in the Boat for some historical knowledge at their level // Wacky Animal Facts and First Big Book of Why because my boys are all about animal facts lately! // 1500 Knock Knock Jokes, 2700 Animal Jokes and Riddles to keep them occupied and laughing.