Monthly Archives: November 2016

A Very Hairy Javelina Holiday Review

A Very Hairy Javelina Holiday


A Very Hairy Javelina Holiday Review 

By Joy Brownlee @

Joy is a Family2Family Blog Reviewer for Childsplay Theatre. See all Joy’s published Childsplay Theatre reviews by clicking here. 

Approximate Run Time: (with Q & A, and 15 minute intermission) 1 hr 35 min

Audience: Appropriate for all ages.

Location: Tempe Center for the Arts, Performed by Childsplay Theatre.

This week we had the pleasure of viewing A Very Hairy Javelina Holiday with book and lyrics by Jenny Millinger, music by Todd Hulet, directed by Dwayne Hartford, and based on the books by Susan Lowell (

Be sure to arrive a few minutes early to participate in the craft table with themes from the play, and to obtain your complementary child booster seat. review

This culturally rich holiday story was given the gift of life through lively choreography, a bright musical score, and memorable performances. Rhetta Mykeal (Angelina) was a stand out for her voice and drama. Vinny Chavez (Jose) returned to the stage after starring in Junie B. Jones is not a Crook, and once again was a Junior Review Team family favorite of my children!  Chelsea Soto (Josefina) danced her way into our hearts and Rudy Ramirez (Juan) kept us all entertained!  Daniel Kurek (Conductor) added the gift of live music for this show and it was priceless. My kids loved seeing the orchestra pit and hearing all the instruments. product review

The set was rich with cultural elements and clever lighting illuminated the stage for a standout design. review

This play encompasses many authentic themes felt during the holidays, yet wraps them in a way that is entertaining for the whole family. Have you ever wondered where you fit in at family celebrations? How do you feel when new traditions begin replacing old ones? How do you handle disappointment or the pressure of expected roles?

The stars in this performance tackle these realistic holiday themes in an uplifting and heartfelt way that will entertain the entire family. It provides a great example of how we can all continue to shine, even when faced with “hairy” holiday situations. This show is a reminder that love is more important than perfection, family is more valuable than material things, and when we combine humor seasoned with acceptance – we can all give and receive the greatest gift there is – Love. Unwrap the priceless gift of laughter with the ones you love, by joining us for the next performance of A Very Hairy Javelina Holiday!

We will see you there!!


For up to date ticket information and show times, please see!

Joy Brownlee RN. BSN. MED. publishes family friendly reviews on culture, family, and food at, is featured in “Snacking with Joy!” at, and is a Family2Family Blogger for Childsplay Theatre at



Mesquite Wildlife Oasis

Mesquite Wildlife Oasis ~ Road School Review!

by Joy


Today’s Road School Review brings us to:

Mesquite Wildlife Oasis

10901 S 399th Ave. Tonopah, AZ 85354 

Outdoor Classroom Days can be booked ahead of time with several different hands on science objectives such as “Wildlife Biologist, Nature Walk (with a Guide), Pollinators, Aquatic Insects Hands On Activity (my kids loved this!), Mammologist Mystery Skull Experiment (another favorite!), Invasive Species, The Water Cycle, Geology, Erosion, Desert Plants, Herpetology, Ornithologist Study, and so much more!! See the Mesquite Wildlife Oasis directly for current available curriculum and availability of  outdoor classroom experiences.

My Junior Review Team and I definitely gave this Road School day 2 thumbs up!! We only publish Reviews that we have experienced, said WOW, and would recommend a friend. 

Without hesitation we publish this review and we will list our 5 top reasons why you should schedule a Mesquite Wildlife Oasis Outdoor Classroom day! 

  1. We learned outside the entire day! (8:45 am – 1:15 pm)

2. Excellent Mesquite Wildlife Educators used a cooperative learning approach that provided a safe environment for children to explore nature, make observations, work together, and truly take ownership of their learning experience. We want to say “Thank You!” to the fantastic Outdoor Classroom Educators!


3. We learned about animals outdoors, without observing animals in a caged environment. As much as possible, I avoid large mammal captivity and caged examples of animals in our Home Education, and instead look for opportunities for exploring the natural habitats first, and then rescue or sanctuary educational preserves. This was an entire day outdoors that emphasized respect for animals, plants, and native habitats. This experience was a benefit to our Multicultural Home Education philosophy.


4. ALL my children engaged in learning. The Outdoor Classroom at Mesquite Wildlife Sanctuary completely understood we were a Home Education group, and supported our multi-age learning approach. They grouped our large number of students into smaller classes to assist with activity objectives, yet continued to foster respect for learning of all ages. Here is my 3 year old listening to the Outdoor Educator and completing a worksheet. We pulled a wagon (much easier than a stroller) over the rocky desert floor.

Below is her FAVORITE part of the day: learning to respectfully handle and return the aquatic insects after observing them for a specific purpose. The students removed a bucket of water from the pond, isolated the aquatic life species and then used those species to decide if the water was fresh or if it was polluted and unsafe to drink. This can be determined even if you have nothing available to help you just by examining the species and knowing what species can survive in only fresh water. They (and I) learned SO much!


5. There are many more things about the day that we loved but I will end with this. There is SO much to learn from this Wildlife Oasis!! The structures of rotating sessions kept my children (ages 3, 6, and 9) all engaged and enjoying their learning. I won’t give away all the fun learning activities at the Mesquite Wildlife Oasis – because I know you will want to contact them today to set up an amazing Road School adventure for your own Home Education Group or Classroom! Have a great time!

Happy Road Schooling ~

Joy & the Junior Review Team @

Disclosure: No payment was received in exchange for doing this review.  We only post reviews that we have truly tried ourselves, said WOW, and would recommend a friend.

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