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Win a Hot Mama Designs Personalized Necklace!

As Mother’s Day draws closer, I have been sent a number of press releases for wonderful mom-oriented products. Hot Mama Designs’ jewelry line was a stand-out because it truly celebrates the essence of being a mother and a woman. I immediately fell in love with their personalized jewelry and treasure wearing my children’s names around my neck.

This style features a single sterling disc, optional birth stone and optional birth date stamped on the back of the disc. Choose your own disc size, letter size, birth stone and birth date to make it a unique one-of-a-kind piece.

Shannon Sunderland is a wife, mom and metalsmith living in Boulder. She started making the Hot Mama Designs jewelry line in 2003 around the time she gave birth to her son. She started giving her work as gifts to her “new mama” girlfriends. Nearly every woman who received a piece of jewelry with their new baby’s name on it would cry and she realized she was onto something. She says she loves the feeling of connecting and celebrating mothers and families.

All pieces are 100 percent sterling silver and 14-karat gold. Shannon uses real semi-precious and precious stones and everything has been made by hand in her home studio. Every piece goes through a rigorous five-part process, which includes stamping, soldering, adding patina, setting stones with special hand tools and adding a lustrous brushed finish.

We are thrilled to offer one lucky mama a personalized Hot Mama Designs necklace–the perfect gift to celebrate motherhood! To enter, simply email us at with “Hot Mama” in the subject line. Be sure to include your children’s names and birth dates, as well as your mailing address. Contest deadline is May 10, 2009.

Mama’s Weekly Picks for Colorado’s Best Events (and Mother’s Day Preview)

It looks like it’s going to be another stormy weekend. I’m not one to complain (who am I kidding? I may actually have a tendency to complain), but can we not catch a break on the weekends? My son has so many soccer make-ups scheduled, he’ll be playing until the Fourth of July!

Earth Day is this week. Go, Earth! There’s an Earth Day Fair in Evergreen, and the Museum of Nature and Science is free, also. There are a couple of interesting musical/theater options, as well as Doors Open Denver, an annual event. I’ve added a list of consignment sales going on around town. Because the economy. . . it’s not doing so well. In case you haven’t heard. I’ve also added a section for Mother’s Day events, so you can start planning now for that special day dedicated just to you Mamas.

As always, please check times, admission prices, and so on before you head out. I’ve checked this stuff pretty thoroughly, but you just never know.

Upcoming Free Days:

Sunday, April 19th, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver www.dmns.orgs 303-322-7009. In celebration of Earth Day, admission to the museum is free! Don’t forget they have that awesome new Expedition Health exhibition, along with the ongoing Natural Disasters exhibit, plus several others. Expedition Health is free with admission (so, free + free = totally free), but you need to make reservations.

Community Events:

Saturday, April 18th, and Sunday, April 19th, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Doors Open Denver, 303-282-5073,

Celebrate local

Helping Feed Hungry Families with Quaker and Food Bank of the Rockies

[photopress:food_bank.gif,full,pp_image]Tuesday evening, Aimee and I had the opportunity to spend a couple hours at the Food Bank of the Rockies warehouse, packaging orders for community charities as part of the Quaker GO Project – dedicated to helping feed hungry families all over the country.

In addition to being a valuable resource for these charities, the Food Bank of the Rockies is a really neat operation. The warehouse contains pallets and pallets of boxes, categorized by their contents and organized numerically so that they’re easy to find. The boxes contain everything from paper products and personal care products to canned fruits and vegetables. There’s also a huge walk-in refrigerator and identical freezer. Items are donated primarily by grocery and supermarket chains, and the Food Bank charges a minimal per-pound fee for most items, while some items – such as bread and produce – are free.

We accompanied charity representatives, reviewing their orders and pulling the corresponding boxes. Some items were apparently in high demand, such as canned fruits and vegetables, and no boxes were left. Others, like paper products, don’t have the same contents in every box. However, each box weighs the same amount, so the cost to the charity can be calculated easily.

While sorting through some as-yet unopened boxes, looking for bread items for one representative, we found

How paranoia made my wildest dreams come true (and enter to win a copy of the dream!)

It’s a long running joke in my family that I wrote a book because I somehow convinced myself that it would save my child’s life. When I had to return back to work, the sound of my daughter’s ear piercing cries would still ring in my ears hours and hours later. I would remember how my mother and sisters and in-laws and husband and I would pass her around and around, each taking a turn at trying to get her to be comfortable, to fall asleep, all of us praying to the gods that she’d give her poor larynx and our ears just one minute of rest. Just ONE.

It was okay that she cried when it was amongst those that loved her. But when she had to go to day care, I imagined the worst happening in the company of people who were only taking care of her because it paid slightly more than minimum wage. I was always waiting for that phone call from the day care’s director, telling me that Miss Sherry was removed in a strait jacket with her ears bleeding while my child was being extricated from the bottom of a dumpster. It drove me crazy. And in my state of crazy, I convinced myself that MAYBE I could write a book and become a stay-at-home-mom if I was just diligent enough.

I went out and bought a couple of “How to write a novel” books. I eschewed the idea of sleep and dedicated at least three hours each night to my task. I made lots of promises to St. Anthony. And I told myself that, for Toni’s safety and well being, I wouldn’t give up.

Well, she’s now eleven going on TWELVE. Not only did Miss Sherry not kill my little girl, but neither did Miss Burris or Ms. Romero or Mrs. Parker or Mr. Dalton or the countless other teachers and day care providers whom I’ve entrusted with the safety and well being of my slightly high maintenance child. The payoff for all these years of diligence is that now I can say that I’ve written a novel. It’s called Rosetta Stones, and it’s now available for pre-order from Amazon. So yay for crazy!

If you are a reader who enjoys throwing your name into virtual hats to receive free stuff from bloggers, let me know in the comments. I will have my sweet daughter Toni randomly select two people to receive a free signed copy.

Win Tickets to Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women

**CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to Rachel Lucero, winner of the Girls Only tickets. Thank you to all who entered!**

I went in seeking redemption.

The last time I invited my friend, Kim, to live theater, it was to Puppetry of the Pen!s several years ago. Did you see that? It was the most awful waste of time and money (with the possible exceptions of Windows Vista and The Road to Wellville) I have ever endured. I was quite surprised that Kim agreed to see another show of my choosing.

It needed to be good.

Kim and I were guests of the Denver Center Attractions’ presentation of Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women at the Garner Galleria Theater.

My expectations were high (so was my trepidation). I’d heard great things about this show (ditto for Puppetry). Perhaps I was suffering from the theatre version of PTSD — Post Traumatic Show Disorder.

I should mention at this point the unfairer sex. While men are not proHIBited from attending (there was one lone guy sitting in front of me), there is really very little of interest to a male. Girls Only is not sexy or lurid or terribly revealing, skin-wise. And really, boys, we are NOT taking about you. Attending would be, for a man, like being a fly on the wall at a baby shower or a slumber party – better in theory than in reality.

Not to mention that BOTH restrooms are Ladies Rooms. Woohoo! Although I was a little freaked out at intermission when I ended up in a room with urinals.

On with the show. The stage is a pink girl’s bedroom, circa early 1980s, as evidenced by the Shaun Cassidy poster. As Kim and I settled into our seats 10 minutes before curtain, the actresses were already on stage. In their bras and panties (dissecting rather than evoking Victoria’s Secret catalogs). This led Kim and me to discuss just what it would take for US to get on a stage in front of other women in our undies. We lamented our bodies’ shortcomings — cellulite and pooches — not to mention the special, uh, grooming that may or may not be necessary.

“P” is for Pumpkin, Patch and Possessed

[photopress:pumpkinsnuggle_1.jpg,full,pp_image]It is officially pumpkin season.

Of course, “pumpkin season” is year-round when you are married to a man who is obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin. From the moment Jamie cut his 755-pound pumpkin from the vine last year, his thoughts turned to his new patch. He stalked Craigslist and reacted faster than Pavlov’s dog whenever anyone offered free compost. He raised worms in our garage (after my adamant protest against our basement). He built a pumpkin genetics Web site and updated his pumpkin blog, took various soil tests, and swapped seeds with growers around the world.

Like I said: a year-round obsession.

Early-March, I went into the children’s playroom in the basement and noticed a strange glow coming from the closet. In a Poltergeist-esque manner, I threw open the door, only to discover a makeshift greenhouse he called “The Grow Room.”

Law enforcement officers: I can assure you that he is only growing test pumpkins.

At least that is his claim.

Our winter has not been without its share of drama such as when

Win a $25 Applebee’s Gift Card and “Bee a Sucker for Kids” to Prevent Child Abuse

Congratulations to Jane Munroe and Karen Sagert, winners of our Applebee’s gift cards! [photopress:childabuse.jpg,thumb,pp_image]If there is any cause that tugs at my heartstrings, it is child abuse prevention. And April just happens to be National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Applebee’s just kicked off its sixth annual “Bee a Sucker for Kids!” campaign to support Tennyson Center for Children, one of the Rocky Mountain region’s leading treatment and education centers for abused, neglected and at-risk youth.

Continuing through May 3, Applebee’s guests are invited to “Bee a Sucker for Kids!” and make a donation in the amount of their choice to Tennyson Center. Donors will receive a paper cut-out in the shape of a sucker that they can write their name on and hang on a wall in the restaurant.

Applebee’s has been

Mama’s Weekly Picks for Denver’s Best Events!

[photopress:bunny.jpg,full,pp_image]Just in case you have somehow missed the onslaught of rabbits and candy at the store, the Easter Bunny is coming to town this weekend! The following is a list of some Easter weekend highlights; check with your local chamber to see if there is an Easter egg hunt near you.

April 11, Arvada Kite Festival, Robby Ferrufino Park, 74th and Carr St
Kite flying competitions, exhibitions, activities for the kids and live music. Mary Poppins comes to mind, but haven’t kites gone hi-tech these days?

April 11th, Bunny Trail EggVenture, Children’s Museum of Denver
It’s a basket making, egg dyeing Eggstravaganza! Kids can follow the Bunny Trail throughout the museum to discover “Eggs-ploration Stations,” go one-on-one with live animals and of course, what’s Easter without a photo op with the Easter Bunny himself?
Free with museum admission

April 11th, Bunny Express, Colorado Railroad Museum
The Easter Bunny has to get around somehow and this Easter celebration is powered by a Georgetown Loop Railroad diesel locomotive. Families can go for a ride on the narrow gauge train, participate in egg hunts, take a picture with the Easter Bunny and much more.
Free with museum admission

April 11th, Fish N Farm Grand Opening and Easter Celebration, Heritage Square
Heritage Square will offer all-day family fun to kick off the seasonal opening for their amusement park. Expect egg hunts, candy at every venue and meet-and-greets with the Easter Bunny. Oh, and don’t forget all the newly opened rides!
Special events free; money required for rides and shops

April 12, Copper Mountain
It’s Colorado’s largest Easter egg hunt and 50,000 eggs

How to keep your children (and yourselves) entertained at Disneyland without spending your way to the poorhouse

We went to Disneyland two weeks ago, each of us with one hand pushing a stroller and the other hand on our wallet. Disneyland may be the happiest place on Earth (and really, it was), but it’s also got the potential to set your credit cards aflame.

Fortunately, we found several ways to keep the kids happy that didn’t involve buying them more stuff at every turn. Not only were we concerned about our credit card balances, we had just one suitcase (because now it costs $15 just to check one bag) and couldn’t afford to bust the weight limit (because it costs an arm and a leg to check a bag weighing more than fifty pounds).

Keep cool when it gets hot. Don’t buy ice cream or frozen lemonade or those ridiculous Dippin’ Dots that taste like miniature hail stones. Find a water fountain and have a water fight. Take a few gulps while you’re at it.

Hotel room amusements. Stay out of the minibar. Instead, let your toddler pull out as many tissues from the dispenser as he can. At the Disney Grand Californian, the dispenser is situated at the perfect height. No, it’s not earth-friendly, but it costs less than a Toblerone from the minibar.

Rent strollers. I can’t say enough good things about stroller rental at Disneyland. Rent one even if you’ve got a kid who’s pushing five. Get the stroller, avoid the whining. Plus if the kid’s in the stroller, you can push it right past the shelves and shelves of Princess wares.

Buy mouse ears. I know I said this guide was about how to enjoy Disneyland without shopping ’til you drop, but trust me on

Top 100 Reasons to Love Blogging

Next week, Mile High Mamas will be dedicated unto the glories of blogging. We will cover the why and the how as we try to lure you, Dear Reader, into starting a blog. It is all about community…and we want you to help build ours in Colorado.

Our blogroll is growing and we hope to implement such things as Girl’s Night Out, a Blogger of the Month feature and Perfect Posts (where you nominate your favorite post written by someone on our blogroll and we republish it on MHM). Don’t even know what a blogroll is? Stay tuned!

A few months ago Annie asked her faithful readers and bloggin’ buddies to help her compile a list of 100 reasons to love blogging. The list grew steadily over the next few days. During that same time she had a “Colorado Blog Partay,” where many of them met for the first time. Bloggers from Texas, South Dakota, Washington, and Utah joined the “partay.” Their get together spanned the width of the state. It started with lunch at The Cheesecake Factory in downtown Denver and ended with a meet-and-greet with Fruita, Colorado’s most famous non-human citizen, Mike the Headless Chicken.

And so without further adieu, here are the results. (For the URL to each of the women’s blogs, checkout Annie’s original post). And don’t forget to add the reasons why you love blogging as well.

Disclaimer for my # 60 contribution. Obviously I did not know it would be used against me.