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What your holiday photos look like when the fifth member in your family is orange

I told my pumpkin-obsessed husband we needed to have some Christmas pictures taken of our family.
[photopress:christmaspumpkin1.jpg,full,pp_image] This was his solution.

Happy holidays from all of us at Mile High Mamas!

We will be taking a blogging break over the Christmas holiday to spend time with our families and will return afresh in the New Year. Our mama-to-mama forum will remain open for you to weigh-in about the holidays and remember to enter to win our cutest holiday picture contest and be eligible to win prizes from Dad Gear, Amy Michelle totes and Baby Candy.

Stay tuned for our giveaways in 2009 that include a three-hour session with a professional organizer from Simply Put – Organization Solutions for the Home and win one of 20 passes to The Denver Art Museum’s new Create Playdate on January 14!

Peace Big and Small

A child asked at bedtime, “Mommy why is there war? Why can’t there be peace in the world?”

“Well, to have peace in the world, we need peace in our country.

“To have peace in our country, we must have peace in our city.

“To have peace in our city, we must have peace in our neighborhood.

“To have peace in our neighborhood we must have peace in our home.

“To have peace in our homes we must have peace in ourselves.” *

So, my Mile High Mama friends, rather than wishing for world peace, I wish you each peace within yourselves.

And I wish the same for me.

*vignette paraphrased from a story told to me by a very wise woman

Nesting explained in 10 easy steps

1. Get pregnant and grow for 8.5 months until your tummy can sufficiently support a bowl of chili con carne with cheese and onions.

2. Eat it while semi-reclined.

3. Notice something in a corner of the ceiling. A spiderweb? Dust? Whatever it is, your appetite is suddenly gone.

4. Take the bowl into the kitchen. Note that the area around the base of the sink has a strange tan film. Funny, you didn’t notice it yesterday. What else haven’t you noticed?

5. Sweep every room with narrowed, critical eyes. Everything is filthy-dirty. The baseboards, the light fixtures, the drapery, the backside of pictures on walls, the carpeting under the heaviest bookcase. There are ASHES in the fireplace! There is a small wad of hair on the third stair! Toothpaste in the sink! Feel the tears welling in the corners of your eyes.

6. Collapse on your bed. The comforter smells like an old book. Find someone else in the house and demand this person smell it immediately. If they fail to agree with your assessment, unleash messy sobs all over the nauseatingly stinky and offensive comforter until you remember it is dry clean only.

Fantastic Local Bargains and Enter to Win Another Great Congrats from Colorado Gift Basket (a $350 value!)

Congratulations to Lucretia Pruitt, grand prize winner of our Wii and Wii Fit! Thank you to all who entered.

In case you missed our first fabulous gift basket, we’re giving you another chance to win!

If you were to take Colorado’s trendiest and cutest mom, dad and kid items and put them in one place, where would you find them?

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Olivia Omega Logan is the PR-savvy mastermind behind Congrats from Colorado, which acts as an online portal for gift giving with a twist of Colorado chic. All of their featured products are from Colorado-based companies and include timeless classics and the latest must-have trends.

We are thrilled to offer exclusive Mile High Mamas discounts to many of these companies just in time for your Christmas shopping that can be redeemed at their individual Web sites. We also have the granddaddy of all giveaway baskets, valued at $350. The basket contains:

Bella B Maternity was founded by a Highlands Ranch pediatric nurse in 2007. They are proud to offer a maternity company that has something for the whole family. Bella B offers trendy and stylish mommy and daddy T-shirts, and baby onesies along with maternity tees with catchy sayings.

GIVEAWAY: EcoMom Mommy Tee
PROMO CODE: MHMama for 10% off

Bruz Wear pants, with their machine-washable knee pads, give children the confidence to take that next step while, of course, looking cool. The designers of Centennial received the inspiration for the funky and functional pants from their son who was diagnosed with Severe Hemophilia A, a bleeding disorder caused by a lack of clotting protein. Watching him crawl in discomfort with black and blue knees sparked the idea of a padded clothing line. Bruz Wear pants are made in Denver and a percentage of Bruz Wear profits will be donated to hemophilia research and support programs.

GIVEAWAY: Metal/Orange Pants w/ Matching T-Shirt
Click here for $10 discount

Change is Strange – Boulder’s Change is Strange is a line of personalized books that help children through tough transitions in life including getting rid of a pacifier, the first day of school, the arrival of a new sibling and moving to a new house.

Mile High Mama Product Picks!

Our mamas are always on the lookout for the coolest mom- and child-related items. That’s why we are pleased to regularly bring you product reviews from our panel of moms to help you see what’s hot…and what’s not.

This week’s reviews included:

Tosha reviewed Play and Learn Activity Kits from Little Hands Learning Company.

I LOVE the Little Hands Learning kits. I had the pleasure of meeting with Traci Geiser the owner and founder of Little Hands Learning Company. We went through all the infant learning kits and let me tell you they are so adorable!!

For the full review, go here.

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Cribtales reviewed My Magical World DVDs from Clear Gate Productions.

….I jumped at the chance to review a new DVD series promoting reading within a video series. Both of my boys also love to read, so this was a good combination, especially during the winter season! I put in the My Magical World DVD one snowy afternoon and snuggled down with the boys to watch them watch the show

For the full review, go here.

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Tosha reviewed Lotus Bèbè Bamboo Blanket.

The bamboo blanket is extremely soft and very high quality. My daughter loves soft blankets and is often rubbing them on her little chubby cheeks; she loves the cute pink Lotus Bèbè Bamboo blanket. I love it because of the unique benefits bamboo provides….

For the full review, go here.

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Samara reviewed Noggin Power2 Parenting Mini-Manuals.

Each mini-manual represents the collection of the most up-to-date information that the field of psychology, child rearing, youth development and the entire field of behavioral sciences has to offer; we then condense this knowledge into short, easy-to-read manuals for parents.

I recently had the opportunity to read the Making Friends mini-manual and found it easy to read, with practical advice for parents…

For the full review, go here.

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If you would like to have a product reviewed by one of our Mile High Mamas, please email Amber at amber@milehighmamas.com.

De-hyping Christmas

Editor’s Note: Wanna win a Wii and Wii fit? Enter here!

All I wanted for Christmas that year was the fashion show stage on which to perch my Dawn doll.

And I got it. And a ton of other stuff, too. Christmas at my childhood home was always a little out of control, and these days, it’s a veritable orgy (my parents still live in the same house and now have six grandchildren).

Which is not necessarily a good thing.

Here’s what I remember about Christmases as a child: making my list, checking it over daily, wondering if I’d asked for the things that would REALLY make me happy, and then…the Christmas day letdown.

My sisters and I would wait on the stairs until all the grownups got their coffee and my dad got the camera set up. It took five hours, I swear (or maybe just 15 minutes).

Finally, we’d scramble up the stairs and behold our loot from Santa. There were ooohs and aaaaahs as we discovered our skate board (Sheri), our Big Wheel (Tami), or our set of World Book encyclopediae (me. Yes, my dorkiness goes way back).

Then we’d go on to the wrapped presents. We had a rule that we’d all focus on one person at a time as he/she opened a present. With grandparents, parents, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins, there was a whole lotta waiting going on.

Eventually we’d have everything opened and

Twilight and Kiss Me, Creep Musings

A few weeks ago, my best friend asked me to go to see Twilight with her. I went, even though I really knew nothing about the series, because… what the heck. It was fun – and a nice girls afternoon away from life.

But then OF COURSE I was required to read all the books.

And I have to admit, they are as addicting as they are silly. So OF COURSE I keep on reading. And OF COURSE I will see the new movies as they come out. And um, OF COURSE Rob Pattinson is hot. How old is that kid anyway? Am I allowed to say that?

[photopress:KissMeCreep.jpg,full,pp_image]May I remind you I am 38 years old?

But the funnier thing is, a few months ago I was visiting my mother in Maryland – you know, my mother who keeps every single scrap of every single EVERYTHING, and I came across all the romance novels I read when I was a kid (YES. Every. single. one). Torn, tattered, sad excuses for books – both in the physical and emotional senses of the word.

How do I know? Because I brought them home and reread EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.

OH YES I DID.

Are you a Twilight fan? What were some of your favorite books as a teenager?

Enter to Win Mile High Mamas’ Wii and Wii Fit Giveaway!

[photopress:WiiFit.jpg,full,pp_image]Our Wii and Wii Fit contest is over and we are thrilled to announce Lucretia Pruitt is our winner. Thank you to all who entered!

I’ll admit it: I have never liked video games. So, when Nintendo contacted me about becoming a Wii Fit “Brand Enthusiast,” I chuckled. Me? Pimp a gaming system?

But then I threw a Wii Fit party. For the first time in my life, I hoola hooped, ski jumped and did yoga without killing myself. And I very quickly figured out what the hype is all about.

I have not missed a day since I received my Wii Fit. I can’t. My personal trainer who tracks my progress would kick my virtual butt. You see, the Wii Fit functions like a scale tracking balance, weight, BMI and lets you know how well (or not well) you’re doing. I think the word it uses is “unbalanced.”

But I could have told you that.

I am thrilled to announce we will be giving away a Wii and a Wii Fit to one lucky winner!

[photopress:Horton_DVD_Set_3D_1_.JPG,thumb,pp_image]In case you’re not the grand prize winner, we also have copies of two of the hottest DVDs of the holiday season: Horton Hears a Who and Fly Me to the Moon. I’ll probably throw in even a few more prizes because I’m nice like that.

Now, the Wii Fit contest rules:

1. To enter, comment on this post about why you would like a Wii Fit in a few sentences or less. If you include a link on your blog about this contest or include it on your facebook, twitter or other networking site, you may enter as many as five times. Please include the link. If your comment does not immediately show up, don’t worry. We will retrieve it out of the spam folder for you.

2. You must fill out your full name and email address in the comment section (your email will not be published and will not be used for any purpose other than this contest).

3. Contest will end at noon, Mountain Time, December 20, 2008.

4. United States residents only. (Yes, is breaks my heart to exclude my fellow Canucks.)

5. Fulfillment will be handled by Nintendo, so you must be willing to provide your real name, phone number and mailing address if selected as the winner.

6. Nintendo expects to ship the prize two weeks after notification of the winner’s details.

Good luck!

Mile High Mamas Product Picks!

Our mamas are always on the lookout for the coolest mom- and child-related items. That’s why we are pleased to regularly bring you product reviews from our panel of moms to help you see what’s hot…and what’s not.

This week’s reviews included:

Christi R reviewed Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker by Jakks Pacific.

[photopress:Jakks.jpg,thumb,pp_image]Easy to use kits let kids ages 8+ (or younger with some adult help) to make cupcakes right in their microwave. It comes in 4 fun flavors: Red Velvet, Chocolate, Cinnamon Sugar and Vanilla… My nieces had a blast baking, decorating and eating the cupcakes they created and I loved the bonding time with them in the kitchen.

For the full review, go here.

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Kagey reviewed Warm as a Lamb Stroller Covers.

[photopress:warmlamb.jpg,thumb,pp_image]If you’re like me, you’ve bundled up the baby, draped all sorts of blankets over the front of the stroller, and hoped he wasn’t freezing. The solution is this amazing stroller cover. He stayed warm, even sleeping on the walks to the school.I didn’t even put his coat on him, because he was so protected from the wind and cold inside this thing.

For the full review, go here.

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Kagey reviewed Beyond-A-Peanut educational flash cards.

[photopress:BeyondaPeanutFlashcardCoverart7_07_000.jpg,thumb,pp_image]When my son, then 18 months old, was first diagnosed with a peanut allergy, the answer seemed simple. Pitch all the peanuts… Now that he’s four, the challenge has changed. I don’t control his environment anymore. He’s at preschool, a friends’ house, or his grandparents’ home without me on a weekly basis. Now the challenge is to educate him and his caretakers about situations where peanuts may appear…

For the full review, go here.

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If you would like to have a product reviewed by one of our Mile High Mamas, please email Amber at amber@milehighmamas.com.

New Branches on our Family Tree

Saturday afternoon, I took Tacy and CJ to the Family Tree of Hope in south Metro Denver to drop off a box of toys, books, educational DVDs, and baby toiletries for the families living there.

A couple months ago, my friend Whitney – one half of the dynamic Rookie Moms duo – sent me two Caring Corners Mrs. Goodbee Dollhouses . One was for Tacy and CJ to keep, and one was for us to give away.

I prefer to support local charities – less overhead, more direct impact, a personal investment in the community – and when I found Family Tree, I knew they were the group I wanted to receive the other dollhouse.

From their Web site: “The mission of Family Tree is to help people overcome child abuse, domestic violence and homelessness to become safe, strong and self-reliant.” After reading their impact stories , I’d say that Family Tree is succeeding admirably.

Tacy was not pleased that I dragged her away from the brand new Wii Fit for our outing. “Tell me again, why are we doing this?” she asked.

How to explain without scaring her or making her sad?

“Well,” I began, “we are very fortunate people. We have so much at home. Not only do we have plenty of toys and books and puzzles, but we have clothes to wear and food to eat and a warm house where we can sleep each night.”

Your Daddy and I both work very hard to have enough money to take care of you and CJ and Ollie, and we plan carefully to make sure that we all have what we need.

But sometimes, even when people work hard and plan carefully, bad things happen. They get really sick, and it costs a lot of money to help them get well. And when they’re sick, they can’t work. So they run out of money.

Or kids might have a Daddy or a Mommy who can’t take care of them. Or who hurts them. And they need help.

So these families don’t have