Our words of wisdom

It’s My Toddler’s World, We’re Just Living In It

By Ashleigh Leonard | September 21, 2021
If someone told me 18 months ago that I would be introducing my baby, Penny, into childcare after 15 months in lockdown due to a global pandemic, I would have laughed in their face and told them that they were the biggest liar I’d ever met. Well, well, well… look who’s laughing now! Spoiler alert: NOT ME. I was actually sobbing when this became my reality. Let’s set the stage for August 2021, shall we? It’s time. Penny’s Big World Adventure has arrived. As a mom three times over, I knew separating for the first time was going to be… View Article Read More

Candelen’s Call to Adventure

By Nicole Newhouse | July 6, 2021
As I sit here, mere hours after announcing our new name and brand identity, it strikes me that Candelen is embarking upon its own heroic journey. More accurately, its next heroic journey! In our history, we’ve had a few leading these Calls to Adventure. Our founder, Charlotte Hughes. The OG. Our Luke Skywalker. Our longest serving Executive Director, Susan Jacobs. Our General Leia. Over the last 45 years of existence, there were many Calls to Adventure on behalf of working families and children. In those Calls, there were lots of fits and starts, trials and failures. Many mentors and revelations…. View Article Read More

Take Me Out to the Playground

By Stacey Myers | June 15, 2021
Take a minute to stop and think of your favorite childhood game or pastime. What was it? More importantly, where did it take place? Was it an outdoor game? Was it jumping in mud puddles, skipping rocks in a creek, catching fireflies, running in the sprinklers, exploring in the woods, or learning to swim in the ocean? For many of us, it was. We see children today spending more and more time exposed to screens and technology and less and less time exposed to sunshine and nature. Personally, I think that’s sad. When they shooed us out the back door,… View Article Read More

Oops, We Did It Again

By Lindsay Murphy | May 25, 2021
I always thought that if I found out I was pregnant for a second time I would create some Pinterest worthy, heart-melting surprise to tell my husband. He would find a message at the bottom of his coffee cup or read it in a fortune cookie and be joyously overwhelmed by the miracle of life… blah, blah, blah. Time for another case of Instagram vs. Reality. I still remember the day my husband turned to me, deeply exhausted from our early days as newborn parents, and wondered how anyone might choose to have more than one kid. I couldn’t blame him. Our son didn’t eat… then didn’t… View Article Read More

The Bottle Battle

By Rebecca Cirzan | May 5, 2021
I gave birth to my third child in late February. Unlike my first two children, I felt a sense of calm and happiness taking care of my newborn. I wasn’t a first time mother anymore. I knew what to expect and I wanted to enjoy this last moment of baby joy in my life. Thank goodness I had some calm built up for my newborn, Hayden. He has colic, a cow’s milk sensitivity through my breastfeeding, and will not take a bottle. You’d think the colic and a dairy-free diet for me would be the biggest issue, but nope! I… View Article Read More

I Am Not The Right Person For This Job

By Madeleine Lovett | April 20, 2021
I held my first baby when I was 22. Seriously! I went 22 years of my life purposefully avoiding the opportunity to hold an infant. -What if “it” slipped out of my hands? -What if I was somehow cutting off circulation and had no idea? -You have to hold their heads a certain way, right? I’ve heard that the top (or back???) is still a little squishy? -What if this sweet, innocent cherub instantly turned on me and blew out the diaper? Then my brother and his wife welcomed their daughter Charlie into our lives in March 2017. I was… View Article Read More

Tips for Introducing Kids to Sustainability

By Madeleine Lovett | April 6, 2021
“Waste not, want not,” isn’t just something we tell our kids to get them to their dinner. We want them to learn the importance of sustainability. Protecting the environment and revitalizing the Earth is essential for their future. Teaching kids to protect the Earth’s resources also helps them to learn responsibility. From recycling to gardening, here are some tips for introducing kids to sustainability. Place separate bins (cans, bottles, plastics, and paper) out for recycling. Then help your children create signs and pictures with construction paper, crayons or markers, glue and glitter, and anything else you can find in your… View Article Read More

Early Life Lessons to Teach Your Kid

By Madeleine Lovett | March 16, 2021
It’s no secret that children are more receptive to learning than adults. In fact, a study from the Developmental Psychology journal notes that children tend to distribute their attention widely, unlike adults who are likely to selectively focus on information that they think is more important. Because of this, kids are better at noticing things and picking up new skills. This is why you should teach your kids valuable life lessons that they can use throughout their life while they are still young. Doing so raises your child’s chances of becoming an independent, successful, and self-sufficient adult. Below are some… View Article Read More


By Ruth Ray | February 23, 2021
I want to paint a picture of idealism vs. reality and motherhood. I know anyone who has children, whether you have one or five kids, knows that there is a big difference between what you want to do as a mom and what you actually do. Even though I consider myself a modern mother and working woman, I somehow automatically revert to June Cleaver status occasionally when it comes to how I view myself and my capabilities of being a mom. This was just as true when I envisioned having my second daughter recently. For months leading up to my… View Article Read More

Why is he different? Why am I different? Talking to Kids About Race

By Madeleine Lovett | January 22, 2021
On January 21, 2021, Candelen presented a live, open dialog centered around race and raising kids via Facebook Live. Watch the recording below to hear honest reflections from a diverse panel on how they navigate differences, racism, and privilege with their kids. This event was facilitated by Mona Qafisheh, Candelen Director of Grants and Contracts. The panel of parents included: Candida Hunter, First Things First Senior Director of Tribal Affairs Aaliyah Samuel, NWEA Executive VP of Government Affairs & Partnerships Jorge Flores, Candelen Early Childhood Trainer Dawn Henry, Candelen Director of Human Resources Lindsay Olivarez, Candelen Board Chair, contributor to… View Article Read More

Blood Fuels the Greatness of America

By Madeleine Lovett | October 7, 2020
As a young boy, I spent hours and hours trying to imagine myself as the hero, the explorer, and the adventurer of great stories. I found it very difficult because I was never introduced to examples of African Americans as courageous contributors to the great story of America. In elementary school, I received my first Social Studies book and my teacher explained with great enthusiasm that this book contained the stories of people who made America great. I tore through the book searching chapter after chapter for a story that would finally affirm my place, my presence, in America’s great… View Article Read More

Swimming Pool Safety

By Ruth Ray | June 30, 2020
Raising a six-year-old active little girl in Arizona requires a lot of time and energy to ensure I’m hitting all the marks while keeping her happy and safe, especially during these times I have had the pleasure to be a rare Arizona native, and I recognize that by mid-May the heat index can feel like 120 by 9:00 am. Arizona natives know how important it is when this time of year happens to gravitate to any source of relief, often times finding our solace sitting in a nice pool with the family. We also know that every year we have… View Article Read More

Handling Kids’ Emotions and Behaviors (Dr. Garcia)

By Madeleine Lovett | June 12, 2020
Dr. Isela Garcia, of the Alesi Group, discusses how to handle behaviors and emotions of kids with Candelen Coach Supervisor, Amy Vanderjack. Read More

To Play Date or Not Play Date Live Discussion

By Nicole Newhouse | May 15, 2020
Join Nicole Newhouse, Candelen CEO, and Trish Robinson, Candelen VP of Programs, for a live discussion on Facebook as they explore the struggle that parents are facing as the State starts to open back up. Read More

To Playdate or Not To Playdate, That is the Question

By Trish Robinson | May 11, 2020
Last week, as the announcement came for a slow re-opening of the state, parents of some of my daughter’s friends have started to text asking which families are comfortable allowing the kids to see each other, play and hang out. My first response was, ‘H*** yes!’ These kids need social interaction, and even more so now that it’s getting hot and the recharging benefits of outdoor play is limited. Plus, the opportunity to have them go somewhere else for a few hours, or even have a friend here that cancels out their need to continuously need me-or get on each… View Article Read More

Looking Back at 7 Years of Parenting

By Lindsay Olivarez | April 27, 2020
It’s April and my oldest daughter, Ellary, turns seven at the end of the month. I know it sounds corny to say, but here it is: I literally do NOT know how we hit seven. Seven sounds so old. Riding bikes in the neighborhood old. Drop-off party old.  Gaining independence old. My girl is a complicated jumble of contradictions. She can be so jealous of not being the center of attention, but, when left on her own on a Saturday morning, you’ll most likely find her reading to her baby sister. She rages and screams “you’re the worst mom ever!”… View Article Read More

Pretty Good Educator, Sub-par Mom

By Rebecca Cirzan | March 30, 2020
Yesterday, my last virtual meeting ended with me holding Clorox wipes in one hand and shouting to my three-year-old son Grayson to stand in the bathroom so no one on the screen would see that he had stripped himself down to his birthday suit. I was fortunate enough to be with other teachers, but sometimes I am not sure how my new lifestyle of work-life integration will work for others. It’s not voluntary anymore for the whole world, but the new reality of how we will be working, living, and surviving. I have always known I have wanted to be… View Article Read More

Loving the Big-ish Age Gap

By Lindsay Olivarez | March 16, 2020
My two daughters are accidentally-on-purpose 5 ½ years apart. We waited until our oldest was 3 before trying for a second, but it accidentally took 2 ½ years for her to arrive. Why? To be cliché about it, life happened. Specifically, “delay of game” orders due to Zika virus and surgery to repair a broken toe, unexpected infertility, a devastating miscarriage, and, finally, our rainbow pregnancy all happened. Our second daughter was 2 ½ years in the making but unquestionably worth the wait. Moving from one to two is hard. Moving from one to two with 5 ½ years in… View Article Read More

Co-Parenting—Lifetime Work In Progress

By Trish Robinson | March 3, 2020
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the first week of my new job and my third week in Arizona. I sat in a conference with my new team listening to a keynote talk about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). She was rattling off the nine experiences most common, then it felt like a knife went right into my stomach, “…one of the most common ACEs in all 50 states is divorce or separation.” I had heard this a million times, but this time was different. My body started shaking, eyes began to well up, and I had to… View Article Read More

Changing the Way We Think About Play

By Michelle Hixson | February 17, 2020
I can remember sitting in the living room with my two nephews as they thoughtfully put together an enchanting world for their Octonauts and I asked, “Why do you think the Octonauts live under water?” My brother-in-law pipes in, “Because they are made to look like octopi and obviously they live in the water.” I tried again, “Jack, how do you think the Octonauts communicate with one another under water?” Again from the kitchen, my brother-in-law answers for them with an exasperated tone, “They can talk like normal people. Haven’t you ever watched the show with them?” I rolled my… View Article Read More

My First Anxiety Attack

By Patti Longman | February 3, 2020
My first anxiety attack happened suddenly and unexpectedly. I was just leaving work as a preschool teacher when it happened right there in the school parking lot. My head began to spin, my heart raced, and I began to sweat. Soon after, I visited my doctor. The doctor asked, “Are you feeling stressed?” I reflected on this question… Here I am mother of two young children, husband away on a military deployment (again), preschool teacher with a few children with major behavior challenges… I said, “No, I’m not stressed.” He then assured me the attack was brought on by stress…. View Article Read More

YAAASSSSS, Queen!!! Making Over an Organization

By Nicole Newhouse | January 9, 2020
The fab 5 are back and they have enthralled my whole family! Like all of us, the hubs included. I spied my youngest (9) talking to a friend about how to put on perfume, “spray, delay, and walk away!” I mean, #gorgeous! Read More