fun

4th of July Events Around the Valley of the Sun

by Shea Homes Arizona on July 1, 2016

Family Fireworks
With Independence Day just days away, we have put together a list of some fun Valley events you might want to check out. Be safe and enjoy!

SCOTTSDALE

On Saturday, July 2, you’re invited to celebrate the 4th of July at WestWorld. “Be Red, White and Cool,” as you enjoy West World’s festivities under 300,000 square feet of air conditioned comfort! This is an event the entire family can enjoy with live music, a bull-riding rodeo, food and drinks, and a kids zone. Gates will open at 3pm and the fireworks take off at 9pm. Visit http://scottsdaleindependenceday.com/ for more information.

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Zoolights at the Phoenix Zoo
Phoenix ZooLights

One of the largest light shows in the country, ZooLights boasts over 3.5 million lights and more than 600 animal light sculptures, including several new 3D and 2D sculptures this season. Ticket prices vary depending on the date, and guests can save $2 per ticket by purchasing ahead of time online.

CitySkate at City Scape
CitySkate at CityScape

Craving a nice traditional holiday date night or a fun family day? Take a spin around Phoenix’s only real outdoor skating rink, CitySkate, a downtown Phoenix tradition located at CityScape Phoenix.

Phoestivus Open-Air Market
Phoestivus Open Air Market

Visit the Phoenix Public Market December 10th and 17th, 5pm- 10pm for a Phoestivus (for the rest-of-us) open-air market including a beer garden, fresh goods and produce, and food trucks. Bonus, all vendors are local Phoenix businesses!

City Lights

Grab some hot chocolate and take a drive to see lights all around the valley. AZCentral puts together a map of all the best houses and neighborhoods you won’t want to miss. Click here to see this year’s map.

Las Noches de las Luminarias
Luminarias at Desert Botanical Gardens

Truly the warmest holiday light scene in the Valley, Las Noches de las Luminarias features a beautiful display of traditional luminarias throughout the Desert Botanical Gardens. A lovely holiday date or outing with friends, this is a Southwest tradition that can’t be missed.

For information about Shea Homes’ communities across the Valley, visit our website or you can call us toll free: 1-866-696-7432. To watch our informational videos, please visit our YouTube channel. To see our pretty pictures, check out our Instagram. To find out your design style, check out our Houzz. For more information on Shea Homes and what we’re up to in Arizona, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and join us for some inspiration on Pinterest.

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6 Tips for Indoor Fun This Summer

by Shea Homes on May 29, 2015

indoor activities for summerNOAA’s National Climatic Data Center called the summer of 2014 the hottest on Earth to date, so unless you enjoy sweating like you’ve just run an ultra-marathon, you might want to prepare some indoor entertainment this year. With epic board and card games galore and quality TV at an all-time high, you can actually look forward to spending time in the comfort of your air-conditioned home. Below, we’ve shared six fun indoor activities to help you stay cool this summer:

1. Netflix Night

Between its array of movies and ever-burgeoning list of binge-worthy original programs, Netflix is on the tip of everyone’s tongues these days. Pop some popcorn (the real stuff, please, we suggest the DIY movie theater popcorn recipe below), grab your beverage of choice, cozy up to your loved ones, and binge away.


 

2. At Home Beer (or Wine) Tasting

With so many craft and microbreweries popping up all over the country, it’s a great time to gather with friends (who are of age) to taste test some of them – plus, cold beer on a hot day is always satisfying. Pick up a few new-to-you beer varieties at a specialty store and ask your guests to do the same. When everyone is over, pour small tasters (about 4oz.) for everyone to try. After everyone has tried a sip, vote on your favorites! Not a beer person? You can host a similar wine tasting event, too.  

3. Game Night

Already a tradition in many homes, resurrecting Game Night can be an absolute blast. Whether you gather the fam for a night of Monopoly or Apples to Apples or organize a more adult evening (Cards Against Humanity, anyone?), time together laughing is always a big hit. Game Night can be well-planned with dinner included, or it can be done on the fly. Don’t have any board/card games? Write down silly scenarios or topics and start an impromptu game of Charades – it’s just as fun!  

4. Arts & Crafts

If you’ve got kids who are antsy since they can’t play outside on a sweltering day, arts and crafts can be the perfect solution. Head to your local craft store and stock up on coloring books, markers, paint sets, and clay. Set down some newspaper (kids are messy creatures by nature), put on their smocks, and let ‘em go to town. Adults can do their own version, too. You’ve likely seen the Wine & Paint nights that have gotten popular across the U.S. Bring the idea to your own home with a few easels, some friends, a nice bottle of wine, and some basic art supplies. You might even discover you have Picasso potential you never knew you had (and a nice painting for your wall!).    

5. Themed Dinner Club

If you’re miserable from the summer heat, chances are your friends are, too. Start a rotating dinner club. Whether it’s a Mexican fiesta at your pad with tacos and margaritas or a down-home BBQ at a friend’s house with Mac ‘n’ Cheese and burgers, everyone gets their chance to host (and clean up!). If you need meal ideas, be sure to check out our Pinterest board.

6. Indoor Campout

Kids are often the ones who suffer from cabin fever most, so it’s important to be creative when coming up with ways to entertain them indoors during the hot summer months. An indoor campout is just the solution. Set up a tent in your living room, tell ghost stories, and make some indoor s’mores. One added bonus: indoor plumbing (not to mention the air conditioning)!

 

While all of these activities are guaranteed to bring on the fun, one guaranteed party pooper is the skyrocketing energy bill as you run the A/C all summer long. If you live in an energy-efficient Shea home, you’re lucky enough to have a home that was built with energy efficiency in mind. Either way, there are things you can do to make sure you’re making the most of your A/C. Check out these 5 tips to keep your air conditioning bill affordable:

  • Avoid the initial panic you feel about cooling off your house after it’s been locked up for a period of time. You might be tempted to set it to a really cold temperature thinking it will cool off the house faster, but this isn’t the case. Air conditioners deliver cool air at a consistent rate until it reaches the set temperature. Rather than cool your home faster, you’re more likely to leave the air on longer, resulting in a higher bill than expected. Instead, just set the temperature you’d like your home to reach.
  • Consider having an interior fan installed to help evenly spread the coolness throughout the hottest rooms in your home.
  • Set your thermostat to the highest temperature with which you are comfortable, as your bill will be lower if you keep a smaller difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures.
  • Maintain your cooling system with regular pre-season check-ups.
  • Be aware of when you need to replace your cooling system. If your energy bills are rising, it needs frequent repairs, and it’s more than 10 years old, it’s likely that you need a new one to keep monthly bills more affordable.

Do you have activities that help you stay cool when the summer months warm up? Share them with us below!

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As part of our #ReadWithYourChild campaign, book drive and raffle to develop strong, young readers who are passionate about learning, we are excited to share ten fun and interactive ways to make reading with your child an effective and enjoyable experience.

  1. Bring the characters within your favorite books to life by creating distinct voices for each of them. Use tone, volume and pace when speaking to express emotion.
  2. Take breaks from reading word-for-word to pay attention to illustrations. Ask your child questions about what is happening in the picture, who is in the picture and to share details such as colors, sizes and shapes from the image. “A picture is worth a thousand words.”- Chinese Proverb
  3. Connect what you are reading to the world around you. For example, read books about nature at the park and/or books about animals at the zoo. This will allow your child to make a connection between the book’s description of the object(s) and the physical object(s) itself.
  4. Use nonverbal communication while reading to express ideas. Hand motions and body movements act as great visuals to help your child understand and remember the story. For instance, if a character in the story is running, you and your child can hold your arms in the shape of a right angle and swing them forward and back as if you were jogging.
  5. Sing! Pick a tune from one of your child’s or your own favorite nursery rhymes and turn the story you are reading into a song; the melody and repetition will help your child learn the material and retain it.
  6. Most little ones have one book that they could read all day long and still love with all of their heart. With all of this repetition, your child is likely to have parts of the book memorized. Use this as a tool to get them involved in the reading process and to build their confidence. Start by reading the first part of the sentence and then pause at the part your child knows to let them fill in the blank.
  7. Sit down with your kiddo to read, but just listen. Let your child use their imagination to tell the story from start to finish on their own.
  8. Make reading a family affair by encouraging all members of the family to read with your kiddo(s). This will allow everyone to express their personality, share their favorite books and learn from one another.
  9. Kids are like sponges, they will soak up everything they see you say and do. Set a positive example by making time for yourself to read daily and by keeping reading material throughout the house.
  10. Engage with the community and discover new reads by attending story-time programs at your local library or bookstore.

There’s still time to donate books for our book drive and get entered into a raffle to win 1 of 6 Amazon gift cards. Click here for all the details!

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