Getting Ready for School

It’s getting to be that time of year – back to school. While some parents are anxiously anticipating getting back to a routine; others are dreading the end of long lazy summer days at home with no early morning alarm clocks and only driving to fun activities like the swimming pool or the amusement park. With the beginning of the school year, families are once again ruled by start and end times, sport schedules and homework.

There are a few things you can do to make the transition from summer fun to getting back in the classroom a bit easier on everyone.

First, create a family calendar. Keep this calendar in a central spot, like the kitchen. Older students can be responsible for posting their own events, but you’ll have to record things for your younger kiddos – like when it’s their turn to bring a snack, or when it’s pajama day.

Stock up on foods that your kids will actually eat. Do a grocery run each weekend. Cut up fruits and veggies. Stock the pantry with nutritious snacks. Then, teach your kids how to make their own lunches. If they make them the night before your mornings will go much smoother.

Set your alarm clock for 15 minutes earlier than you think you need to get up. This will allow you time for the little things that can go wrong in the morning.

Have your kids set out their clothes the night before. In fact, have them shower the night before.  And be sure that they have their backpacks and all their homework ready and waiting by the front door.

With a little advance planning you can make the transition easy on the entire family. And remember as you are driving them to school or to the bus stop, it’s a great time to talk about goals for the coming school year.

Spring Gardening in Arizona

Spring is right around the corner as we enter March. The average temperature throughout the month of March ranges from 71-84 degrees but can drop into the mid-50s at night. This favorable weather is the perfect time to start planting some vegetables outside your home. However, living in a desert means the planting season can be a little different than the typical seasons. To help, here are several vegetables you should consider planting this spring:


Cilantro is the leaf from a coriander plant. Cilantro is a very popular herb used in many Spanish cuisines. In fact, living close to the border, many of these popular dishes become household favorites. Enlighten your food by adding this powerful spice. This herb is also an excellent remedy used for medicinal purposes to remove hazardous metals from the body and is often given to cancer patients.


Arizona offered some of the most diverse plant lives for gardening. From citrus fruits to starchy vegetables, many delicious fruits and vegetables can be grown in your own backyard. Another great option to include in your home garden is potatoes. Potatoes are great starchy, hearty vegetables that go great in many food dishes. So be sure to add this American classic to your own garden this spring.


Add some color to your garden by growing some carrots. This crunchy root is another highly nutritious option to add to the garden this spring. It is a great source of potassium, antioxidants, vitamin K, and beta carotene. Carrots can be a great way to help lower your bad cholesterol and improve your eye health. 


Another great leafy green vegetable that loves the Arizona spring weather is spinach. Spinach is excellent for bone health and packed with vitamins. Plus, it goes great as a lettuce alternative for burgers or salads. When growing spinach, make sure to space your rows about a foot apart. The seeds will germinate in about a week and be ready to harvest in just under two months.

Remember, Arizona has two main growing seasons: fall and spring. Take advantage of the weather and grow the right plants and vegetables during springtime. Thanks for reading!

Best Places Throughout Arizona to Visit

Arizona is one of the sunniest states in the United States. Plus, it provides a wide variety of diverse landscapes and travel spots. In fact, exploring Arizona is one of the greatest ways to learn about the state. With so many various attractions, there is a little something for everybody. Here are some great spots in Arizona that are worth the travel:


Sedona offers a breathtaking and unique landscape. The red rocks and green vegetation make an incredibly scenic spot. Plus, Sedona has many trails and waterfront areas to explore. There are several great tourist attractions to do in-town like the Pink Jeep Tours, Scenic Lookouts, and visiting the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

Downtown Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix is a very clean and vibrant cityscape. It is trending with many great restaurants, shopping, and nightclubs. Downtown Phoenix is also a very simple town to navigate, with most of the city being grid road systems.

The Grand Canyon

Another great spot to visit is the Grand Canyon. This natural phenomenon should be on everybody’s bucket list at some point. The Grand Canyon is breathtaking, spanning over 277 miles in length and 18 miles in width. You can find numerous activities such as mule rides or helicopter tours.


Jerome is an old copper mining camp that has been referred to as the wickedest town in the west. This settlement has become a significant tourist attraction; however, today, it is loved for its legends of ghost and haunted mine stories. If you are into a spooky quest, Jerome should be at the top of your list.


While Arizona is known for its scorching hot deserts, Flagstaff has a different appeal. Flagstaff is at the top of a high mountain, which allows for snow. If you want to see a dramatic weather change in just under an hour’s drive, visit Flagstaff. Try visiting Flagstaff during the winter to enjoy the snowboarding and ski resorts as well.


Tucson is known as the City of Sunshine, with nearly 350 days of the year offering blue skies. Tucson has many great beautiful parks and outside trails to see some scenic views. Enjoy your visit to Tucson as well by stopping at the Reid Park Zoo and seeing a collection of exotic animals.

What are some of your favorite areas to visit throughout the state? We would love to hear from you! Let us know below in the comment section, and for more great spots to visit and the benefits of Arizona, make sure to subscribe.

Arizona HOV Lane and Freeway Driving

The Arizona Valley is continuously growing and flooding in with new residents. This enormous increase in population has created very dense traffic for daily commutes. To combat this, Arizona has facilitated carpool lanes on the freeways. These carpool lanes are for individuals who choose to carpool together to help decrease the amount of traffic on the highway. Many states use these carpool lanes, and each state has its own set of different laws and regulations. Knowing these rules is essential to prevent you from getting a very heavy ticket fine this holiday season.

How Does the HOV Lane Work?

Using this carpool lane can help you commute much faster. The HOV lane is on most of Arizona’s highways and loops. It runs with the freeways but can have its own exits and moves much easier during heavy traffic hours of the day. There are several rules which can allow you to use the carpool lane:

  1. Having a vehicle with two or more people in it will enable you to use the carpool lane.
  2. Motorcycles with only one individual can use the lane since their vehicle is at max capacity.
  3. Armor Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) such as military tanks and armored vehicles can also use this lane.
  4. Firetrucks, police cars, ambulances, and any emergency response vehicle.
  5. Arizona has an Energy Efficient Plate Program. These hybrid vehicles can apply to be issued an Energy Efficient license plate – only so many are allotted a year.
  6. Arizona Valley Metro buses.

HOV Lane Times and Exceptions

The HOV lane has restricted hours. These hours are Monday-Friday 6:00 am to 9:00 am and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm – this is during prime rush hour times. If you are an individual without a passenger in your vehicle, you cannot use these lanes during this time. There are no holiday exceptions nor can you use the lane to pass other vehicles during restricted hours.


Currently, Arizona’s HOV lanes are free. In some states, the HOV and carpool lanes can cost. They have been considered adding a toll booth to these lanes, yet they have not added them to date. However, if you use the HOV lane and do not have a passenger or an accepted vehicle, you may be fined a hefty toll. Arizona’s penalty for using the HOV lane can be a minimum of $400. This fine will also affect your driver’s license with points as a moving vehicle violation. 

Be safe while traveling this holiday season and from your friends at Fulton Homes, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Arizona Hiking Precautions

Arizona has one of the most beautiful landscapes this country has to offer. In fact, because of its landscape, many Arizonians love the ability to hike. With so many diverse trails and scenic views, it can be a great way to stay physically active throughout the year. However, while hiking can be fun, Arizona’s deserts have some very harsh terrain. Improperly preparing for some of these elements can set you up for failure. To help, here are three things you need to remember before hitting the trails:

Stay Hydrated

Arizona’s heat is no joke, especially during the summer! If you plan on hiking during the summer, plan on going very early morning. Arizona’s peak heat time is in the afternoon, so evening hikes can still be very hot. Bring plenty of water for the trails. Be cognitive of how much water you are drinking. When you have consumed more than half your water, you should start heading back. This way, you are paced to not run out of water deep in the desert or high up in the mountains.

Stay on the Trails

The desert is beautiful, but many animals and plants in the desert should be admired from afar. Arizona is home to many venomous snakes and insects. Scorpions, Black Widows, Rattlesnakes, Gila Monsters, Tarantula, Brown Recluse, and Desert Centipedes are among some of the few critters to be concerned. Some cacti are even called jumping cacti and can “leap” towards you in your come into close proximity. Your best bet is to stay on trails and watch where you are stepping.

Know When Sunset Is

Sunset and sunrise change throughout the year. Arizona does not have a time change, but sunset can be pretty early in the Valley. Know when sunset is so you do not get caught in the desert at night. The desert comes alive at night with coyotes and javelinas. Be cognitive of the time while you explore the trails. 

Do Not Hike Alone

Lastly, while you may be excited to go explore, do not hike alone. Having a companion with you is always smart. Know your limits and be responsible for your own safety and others.

While there are elements to be concern about, hiking is still very safe when done right. Be smart and prepare for your trails before you go out for the day. Staying hydrated and being wary of your surrounds will allow you to have the best experience when hiking the beautiful desert oasis!

Why Arizona Is Right for You 

Many individuals have recently chosen to pack up their belongings and move to Arizona. The population has seen a significant increase over the last decade, but what makes this area such an attraction? Arizona not only offers excellent weather all year round, but it is a very versatile place to live. From scenic landscapes to blue skies, this paradise is extremely inviting for all ages. Whether you are new to Arizona or about to experience this desert oasis, here are the top five reason Arizona has become so popular. 

Cost of Living 

Arizona’s cost of living is currently very competitive. While it is beginning to increase, this is still the time to buy! Arizona offers many of the amenities you would consider in one of the most expensive states like California for a fraction of the price.

Annual Climate 

Throughout the United States, many individuals dislike the harsh winters of the North. The constant shoveling of driveways and scraping ice off your windshield can quickly get old. However, you do not need to shovel sunshine! Arizona is always a perfect temperature all year round with winters being in the 70s! 

Artsy Atmosphere 

If you travel into any major city like Scottsdale or Phoenix, you will quickly recognize the passion for art used throughout the city. From beautiful architecture to extravagant landscapes, Arizona offers a very sophisticated art scene. 

Scenic Landscapes 

Arizona’s desert landscape is one of the most beautiful spectacles. From mountains to valleys, this landscape never gets old. Within a few several hour drives, you can see beautiful National Parks, canyons, craters, waterfalls, mountains, and much more! 

Arizona has many great attractions, museums, and landscapes. Many tourist and homeowners cherish having the privilege to explore the beloved state. What are your favorite features of Arizona? Let us know below in the comment section! 

Monsoon and Dust Storm Precautions 

Arizona does not have blizzards or hurricanes and very rarely experiences tornadoes or earthquakes; however, this desert terrain has its own unique natural catastrophes.  Typically, monsoons and dust storms are not life-threatening; however, being aware of them and how to handle them is key to remaining safe. Monsoon season is during the summer months, and dust storms can happen very quickly at any time. Here are several tips to staying safe if you ever catch yourself in the midst of either situation:

Dust Storms/ Dust Devils 

Dust storms can occur very suddenly as well as stop just as abruptly. These storms are typically smaller than sandstorms and are created by a gust of winds picking up dust particles. These rolling winds are rarely life-threatening but can cause visual impairment while driving. If you see a dust storm while driving, acknowledge your surroundings before pulling over. Just because you stop does not mean the traffic behind you is aware. Begin to slow down and pull off the road safely. These dust barriers will typically pass rather quickly. If you are on foot, close your eyes and place your shirt over your nasal passage to help filter nuisance dust. Air quality is extremely poor inside these storms and can cause be bad on the respiratory system. 

Monsoon/ Flash Floods 

Typically, your daily weather station can alert you when monsoons or flash floods may occur. Avoid driving through the flood areas and prepare to evacuate if one is coming. Stay on high ground. While driving, if you see barricades, never drive around them onto closed roads. While they may seem safe at the time, flash floods are very aggressive and can come at any given moment. Never attempt to drive through moving water. The littlest stream can move a heavy vehicle. Make sure to stay out of camping areas in valleys or low ground areas during monsoon season as well. 

Being cognitive of these disasters can help keep you safe. While they may seem less threatening than hurricanes or tornados, do not jeopardize driving through either. Safety is key! For more information on Arizona, make sure to subscribe

New to Arizona? Here Is What You Need to Know!

The Grand Canyon State is the hottest state in the United States. It offers a beautiful, desert landscape with some of the bluest skies in America. However, this state is full of unique features that locals have gotten used to over the years. While the state has seen a dramatic increase in population in the last fifteen years, it is definitely the hot spot (no pun intended) for travelers and families alike. Here are some of the unique Arizonan features that you will want to understand before you settle into your new home:


Arizona has an early sunrise as well as an early sunset. Typically, the sun can rise around 5:00 AM, which will allow many individuals to get an early start on their mornings. Likewise, the sunset is earlier than other, more northern states. You can expect the sun to set around 7:30 PM in the longest days of the year.


The sunrise and sunset can also affect the peak heat coming into the afternoon. Arizona has little cloud coverage, and the desert will get cooler at night; however, do not expect chilly evenings during the summer. During the summer, the nights can stay in the 90s. Expect extreme heat and a lot of direct sunlight throughout the day. If you are easily burnt, you will want to put on sunscreen daily and avoid spending long periods of time outside during the afternoon. Additionally, you will notice that playgrounds get busy after the sun has set because it allows the kids to play freely without the worry of heat exhaustion from the sun. If you plan summer activities outdoors, you may want to wait until the sun has set to enjoy the beautiful weather without the intense heat. Also, remember to encourage your little ones to stay hydrated.


Traffic into downtown can be very dense. Consider leaving your home early whenever traveling into the city. However, you will notice that traffic lightens up significantly during the summer. Many individuals are considered “snowbirds” and only live in Arizona during the winter months. When summer hits, they fly back to other states where they may reside – this will help traffic move much smoother during summer months. If you move to the Valley during the summer, anticipate thicker traffic to arrive towards the end of autumn.

Air Quality

Remember that Arizona is a desert oasis. Dust storms may occur and can often affect the air quality in the Valley. To avoid getting sick or the Valley Fever, pay attention to the air quality in your city. While this may not bother you, some individuals can be susceptible to reduced air quality. Simple apps on your phone or the news will help give you insight on the air quality in your area and help you stay healthy.

Arizona is a melting pot of culture, opportunity, and beautiful. There is so much this state has to offer. With all the beauty, it can be easy to ignore some minor inconveniences and unique quirks this state offers. However, being aware of them can help keep you safe and smart at all times.

Protect Your Pups from Arizona Heat

While living in the Valley feels like paradise, it does not take very long for locals to recognize that Arizona’s heat is no joke. The Valley is quickly growing in population, and more pet owners are becoming unaware of the dangers this heat can have on their animals’ welfare. During the hot summer months, your pet needs to be in a well-shaded area and provided with plenty of water. The heat is brutal and can take a toll on your furry friends very quickly. To prevent some of these dangers, here are several guidelines to consider:


While you may be accustomed to outdoor pets, Arizona may have you reconsider. Not all dogs can handle Arizona’s desert sun. If your property does not offer adequate shade, you may need to bring your animal inside. Do not just leave your dog in a closed garage! Though shade is provided, this can quickly turn into a hot box and severely dehydrate your animal.


Hydration is critical! During the summer, the temperature can stay as hot as 90 degrees even during the coolest parts of the night. Because of this, even when the sun goes down, dehydration can still become a concern. Always provide an outdoor water dish for your animal. Remember to keep it filled and check it daily.


Have you ever walked on blacktop pavement or even concrete in the sun barefoot? Then, you probably know how hot it can get. While dogs and cats paws are tougher than our feet, they can still get burnt. There are several companies which manufacture footsies for animals. Consider buying these for your pets to protect their feet from the scorching pavement. This little investment can make a significant impact on your dog’s well-being.

Keep your pets safe this summer and remember to keep them hydrated. Panting can be the first sign of dehydration. Pay attention if your dog becomes lethargic as well. Your animals need your help to stay safe.

Pest Control in the Valley

Arizona’s breathtaking landscape continues to allure tourists and homebuyers to this ideal paradise. With some of the most consistently blue skies in America, the Grand Canyon State has so much to offer travelers. From unbeatable rural scenic views to the friendly city dwellers, Arizona has it all. Yet, if you are new to the Valley, you may be unfamiliar with some of the challenges the desert brings with it. This rocky oasis is inviting to more than just humans. Many pest and critters enjoy Arizona as well; this means we need to be smart about our home’s pest control.

Critters to Consider

While a new home is not going to be infested, you should not wait. If you wait, you may be subject to some unwanted guests. Ants are very common in Arizona. You can be susceptible to fire ants which no one wants or carpenter ants. The carpenter ants will eat into your woods in wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens, and this can easily cause unwanted structural damage. On the outside of your homes, you could be exposed to killer bees or even wasps. While beautiful flowerbeds may attract these fellows, you do not need them nesting up near your home. Another lethal intruder is some types of spiders. While tarantulas are scary, they are not as dangerous as the Black Widow. Having your home treated to prevent termites, roaches, and rodents is a widespread Arizona protocol.

How Often Should I Spray?

Once your home has been treated, keep up on your pest control. Some of these home invaders can cause severe structural damage. Typically, having your home treated bi-monthly will prevent any infestations. It is not guaranteed that an untreated home will be infested, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. If you can act ahead, you will not have to deal with these unwanted vermin’s later in life.

Make sure any company you hire is abiding by the Arizona state laws. Termite control laws and regulations can prohibit specific procedures. Keeping your home safe and pest free is essential, but be sure to follow Arizona’s state laws to stay safe.