Cruising on the Saguaro

It was a beautiful day, and we decided to go on a relaxing cruise ride on one of the nearby lakes in the area.

This trip was actually not impromptu, but brought about by a LivingSocial deal I got many months back. It was for a 90-minute narrated cruise ride on Saguaro Lake (about 30-40 minutes drive away). It’s by Desert Belle Cruises (www.desertbelle.com) and something we wanted to try a while back. The deal was great, $35 for four adults, which normally would have cost us $80, or $20 per adult. Miggz was free because he was under four years old.

Saguaro Lake’s views is different from Canyon Lake’s. On Saguaro the views are more nearby low-range mountains and desert landscapes with lots of desert flora (and fauna, if lucky). Here are some pictures from our trip…

Miggz being Miggz.

Miggz being Miggz.

Grandma and Lolo came along.

Grandma and Lolo came along.

Miggz and I.

Miggz and I…LOVE this pic of us!

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Can you spot Elephant Rock?

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Beautiful desert flora.

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Arizona’s desert landscape.

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Ripples on the lake.

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Lots of cacti abound.

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Did you know that Arizona is home to hundreds of species of birds in the winter time? Hence, the term “snow birds.” We found some of them while cruising on Saguaro Lake.

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Miggz and I.

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Miggz and Daddy.

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Me at 21 weeks pregnant.

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It was a gorgeous day in the 60’s.

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Miggz and I by the captain’s deck.

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Terrence and I overlooking the lake after the cruise.

All Photos by Terrence G. Photography | Copyright 2012 | All Rights Reserved

A Day at the Railroad Park

Yet another thing we love about living in Arizona is the abundance of parks with playgrounds in the area. Play areas for kids are planned into communities, and they are kept clean, landscaped, well-maintained, and well-lit in the evenings. You don’t have to spend a fortune to keep your kids entertained!! There are plenty of options to enjoy the great outdoors, run amuck and be free (which our little boy just LOVES!!!)

Two weeks ago we got invited to a kiddie birthday party that was held at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale. This place is not your average park! We were pleasantly surprised to see some ACTUAL classic train cars on display right in the park! There were also train rides to be enjoyed, as well as a carousel and a model train museum! A museum!! While we deeply enjoyed the birthday party (there were LOTS of food!!), even Terrence and I were excited to just roam the park and RIDE the trains.

Miggz got to enjoy a train ride with his Lolo (his grandpa). While Terrence and I waited and waited for their train to pass us by the picnic ramada so we can take their pic, we decided to hop on a different ride called Scottsdale Live Steamers. It was a miniature train ran by–as the name suggests–a LIVE steam engine. Terrence and I had a blast! Too bad we couldn’t catch Miggz and Lolo in THEIR train…they passed the ramada while we were on our ride!

The best part…we will DEFINITELY be back! Rides for kids under three are free with a paying adult, and the tickets cost a dollar each–two tix per person, for a total of ONLY $2 per ride!! There is no admission fee to get in the park itself.

Besides the super large grassy areas in this park, there are playgrounds of course–which we didn’t even get to explore while we were there. We also didn’t get to go inside the actual exhibit train cars…it would have been nice to see what’s on the inside of those trains.

Surely this place merits more than a second visit!

Here are some photos from our day at the railroad park…

While we waited for Miggz and his Lolo, Terrence and I took some pics of this "Railroad Crossing" sign...

...then we got bored and decided to ride the Scottsdale Live Steamers.

I took many pics…too many to post! Here is a slideshow…all taken using my iPhone 4s and an HDR photo effects app. Most photos were from inside the Model Train Museum, and while Terrence and I rode the miniature train.

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For more information about McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, go to therailroadpark.com.

Take your kids there! You’re sure to love it!! Across the park are some nice restaurants/shops too. It’ll make a great date–even for the grown-ups!

Living in Arizona: Canyon Lake

It’s late March.

The 90-degree weather is making its way to us early. We’re supposed to hit 90 today!! Check it out…

A day such as this makes me think of Canyon Lake…a picturesque escape just over half-an-hour away from us, where clear and cold lake water is surrounded by glorious mountains on all sides, where watersports and camping are nearby, and fishing and swimming are just steps away from picnic grounds.

A picnic trip to Canyon Lake…that sounds so good right now.

Here are some pics from our last visit to Canyon Lake, back in August of last year.

The drive to get there takes you through dizzying zig-zaggy mountains, but quite worth the trouble once you get there.

Bring some lunch–and a camera–you wouldn’t want to miss Canyon Lake’s gorgeous views.

Not to mention some poignant moments between father and son + mother and son, too!

Aloha Festival

We spent part of Sunday at the Arizona Aloha Festival in Tempe Beach Park. We’ve never been to either the festival or the Beach Park, so I thought it would be nice to do both in one visit.

I was looking forward to one thing, and one thing only…

Hawaiian Shaved Ice!!

Terrence got blueberry-watermelon and I got strawberry-mango. It was delish!! Perfect for the hot and sunny weather.

Can you tell I enjoyed it a lot??!?

I am banning myself from the use of jeans between the hours of noon and 7 p.m. It is just too hot to wear jeans now at those hours. I would have been more comfy in a skirt or short dress (and Miggz and Daddy in shorts). FYI, Sunday’s weather in our part of the world was in the upper 70’s. It had been cooler days earlier though…even up to Sunday morning, so we didn’t think too much about wearing jeans at the festival.

As you can see in the next pic, our entire party all wore jeans. Too hot!!

At the Aloha Festival, Miggz got to hang out with Auntie Anna and Uncle Jon…

Miggz tried on some Bruno Mars-type hats at the Hawaiian marketplace with Auntie Anna.

At the Beach Park (it was actually a lake), there is fishing and paddle-boating and all sorts of watercraft. Miggz and Auntie and Uncle and Daddy went canoeing…for FREE!! I passed on this activity–I did NOT want to be in the sun doing all that work! (I must remind myself to throw in the sunscreen in my purse from this moment onwards.)

They seem to have enjoyed it!

At the festival, we got to sample some Hawaiian coconut oil and body soufflés made of cocoa butter that smelled of sweet gardenia, plumeria, mango, and other scents.

Of course, we took some home!! Spring might have just started, but gardenia soufflé on my hands first thing in the morning just fast forwards everything to summer.

And if you live in our part of Arizona, summer’s not just fast-forwarded. It has begun!

Snow Day, Fun Day in Flagstaff

We’ve wanted to go on a snow trip to Flagstaff for a while. This was a short one…just a day trip to take the kids sledding.

Flagstaff greeted us with some fresh snowfall upon arrival (it was awesome to see winter again…as it should be: snow-covered pine trees, powder-soft grounds, white-capped mountain tops). Even though our target destination–Wing Mountain–ended up being closed, the day made for a quick wintry escape our whole family enjoyed.

We–along with other families who drove up hoping to play at Wing Mountain–had to settle for one of the side lots along the road leading up to Snowbowl. There was ample parking for all, but not enough hills to sled. We had to make the most of it because of our two-and-a-half hour journey. I saw that most families with their kids also did the same. All in all, we had a blast (but we are hoping for more snow on our next trip).

I purchased our sleds from Amazon. They came in a pack of three for around $36, but I see that they have gone cheaper ($32 for a three-pack as of this post).

We didn’t get to do much damage on the sleds as we were in a very modest, toddler-friendly hill most of the day. They held up even with the grown-ups having a go on the sleds. I’m glad we’ll get more use out of them on future snow trips.

Here are some photos from our fun Flagstaff day trip…

Until our next adventure…

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