background img

Weekly Event Round-up: Heritage Square’s “Unbelievable” magic, kid’s parade and more!

Friday-Sunday. Ski season’s long gone, but Copper Mountain will be hopping for a “3 Ring Weekend.” The three-day event combines family friendly fun with an ecological message. The party starts Friday with a concert by Rojos Calientes at West Lake, followed by an outdoor screening of “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.” Saturday begins with a 10K race; meanwhile kids can join the “Primp My Ride” party and decorate their bikes in preparation for a parade. Sunday’s main events are a half-marathon and fun-run for kids. Both days also feature fireworks, a “Conscious Carnival,” free concerts, DJs and more. 6 p.m. tonight, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Copper Mountain Resort, 209 Ten Mile Circle, Copper Mountain; 866-841-2481. Admission is free.

Saturdays and Sundays. Add a dash of magic to the day with “Unbelievable” at the Amusement Park at Heritage Square. Starring magician Chad Wonder, the kid-oriented show includes all sorts of illusions and trickery. Before and after the show, there’s plenty to explore at the amusement park: rides for all ages, paddle boats, miniature golf and the brand new slick-track go-karts. Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day. Call for showtimes. The Amusement Park at Heritage Square, 18301 W. Colfax Ave., Golden; 303-727-8437. Admission to the show is free with a $25 park wristband, or two $1.25 park tickets per person. Visit for more information.

Saturday. Beat the heat with a free showing of “His Girl Friday” at the Starz FilmCenter. Presented by the Tattered Cover, free tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The 1940 comedy classic stars Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant as an ex-husband-and-wife in the newspaper business. When editor Grant discovers Russell is engaged to another man, he quickly devises a scheme to get his former wife and star reporter to cover one last story. Chaos and craziness, of course, ensue. 7 p.m. Saturday. Starz FilmCenter, 900 Auraria Parkway; 303-595-3456. Tickets are free, and will be distributed one hour before the show at the FilmCenter box office.

Sunday. Youngsters can have a 4th of July parade of their own at the Cheesman Park Independence Day Kids’ Parade. Gussy up your bikes, spruce up a scooter and paint your wagons to join in the patriotic celebration. Meet and greet Denver firefighters and mounted police along the way, too. Parade riders should meet at the pavilion on the east side of the park to line up. 9 a.m. to noon Sunday. Cheesman Park, 8th Avenue and Franklin Street. Admission is free.

Through Jan. 11, 2011. If you can’t make it to the mountains this weekend, there’s another way to experience the great outdoors: the National Geographic Crittercam at the Wildlife Experience. Learn about how the camera, worn by animals in the wild, is giving scientists a new perspective on animal behavior. Guests can see footage for themselves, too, and get a glimpse of the animals’ point of view. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. The Wildlife Experience, 10035 S. Peoria St., Parker; 720-488-3300. Admission is $10 for adults ages 13 to 64, $9 for seniors age 65 and older, $6 for children ages 3 to 12. Learn more at

-Kathleen St. John

“Eclipse” shines bright for vampire-series fans

If you are feeling a bit “once bitten, twice shy” about seeing the third installment of Stephenie Meyer’s blockbuster vampire tale come to the big screen, you can let that go.

“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” is a finer outing than 2009’s “New Moon.” Managing to be both sulky and cheesy, that second film was a sequel only fans could love.

While the new “Eclipse” remains foremost a flick for devotees, it has sturdier pleasures and takes on its emotional ambitions with renewed dedication.

Themes so deliciously part of the vampire ouvre — the anguish and longing, the hunger and thirst — are handled well by returning screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg and new director David Slade (“30 Days of Night” and “Hard Candy”). So are the tentative promise and burgeoning burdens of growing up and taking responsibility for one’s decisions.

Kristen Stewart returns as Bella, the human in love with the decent vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) and in deep friendship with the Native American werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).

When last we left the trio, a vampire high council, called the

Daily Deal: Qdoba, Disney Store, Fireworks


My name is Gretchen.  I love to get a great deal and I love even more to share it with you!  I am a Colorado Native with two kiddos (ages 9 & 10).  I would love to hear from you.  Do you like restaurant deals? Store deals? Entertainment deals?  I want to help search out the deals that will be most helpful for you to stretch your family budget, get a great deal and have some fun!   

Restaurant and Store Deals

Kids eat free at Qdoba restaurants this weekend! The weekend offer includes one free Kids Meal for children ages 12 or under with the purchase of one regular entrée.

The Disney Store is having their Twice Upon a Year sale.  There are some really great deals – depending on what you are looking for – but I found flip flops for only $2.99 and swimsuits for only $9.99!

If you are a subscriber to The Denver Post, sign up for Denver Post PerksThere are some really great deals from food to entertainment to car care and more!

Weekend Entertainment:

This is definitely the weekend to be out for free entertainment!  There are a bunch of great fireworks displays on both July 3rd and 4th

It does not matter if you like to spend your Independence Day weekend at home with friends and family close to the BBQ or viewing one of the many municipal fireworks displays, it is a time to celebrate.  Some of the celebrations include: Arvada’s Stenger Lutz Sports Complex (3 p.m.), Aurora’s Municipal Center (6 p.m.), Bandimere Speedway (July 3: 7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m), Boulder’s  Folsom Field (8 p.m.), Broomfield Commons Park (5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.), Castle Rock’s Metzler Ranch Park (6 p.m.),  Centennial, Commerce City (7 p.m.), Coors Field (July 3),

One Year After Thyroid Cancer Surgery and Divorce: One Mile High Mama’s Story

One year ago, on June 12th, I underwent a thyroidectomy (complete removal of the thyroid) surgery, and a neck dissection to remove almost all of the lymph nodes in my neck, because I had cancer. (You can read more about the surgery here, After Thyroid Cancer Surgery. I have posted some other pictures at the end of this post, I thought may be helpful to others who are facing a similar surgery.)

A lot has happened during the past year. At the time it was my biggest challenge. Cancer is a big deal. Even thyroid cancer, which most every doctor will say is the “best” cancer to have is a major, life changing event. I haven’t talked to one thyroid cancer survivor yet, who hasn’t experienced some type of problem, or issue with their recovery. For me, it was a mistake the endocrinologist’s office made, and I ended up without any thyroid replacement hormone (usually synthroid) for three months. I developed severe hypothyroidism. There were some days, I could not physically get out of bed, and I felt like I was 100 years old. I had extreme pain from the surgery still, and I was confused, exhausted, and I could barely function. A year later, the left side of my neck is numb, and I still have shoulder pain.

I receive e-mail’s weekly from other thyroid cancer survivors who are on synthroid, but the dosage is wrong, and they are experiencing hypothyroidism. It paralyzes your life, and for me, the surgery ended up being the “easy” part. When any organ is removed from your body, and a drug has take over the function, there are going to be complications. Fortunately for me, when I finally was able to take synthroid, after radioactive iodine (RAI), my dosage was correct the first time. I felt better hours after I took it. One year later, I still have not had to have an adjustment in the dosage. My doctors tell me this is extremely rare. However, I still feel like I lost three months of my life. Time with my boys, I will never get back.

Four months after my surgery, I started running. I was going to run in one 5K race- the Race for the Cure for breast cancer. I enjoyed it, and it gave me a new appreciation for my health and fitness. I think it is very important to become active as soon as you can. It helped me get out of a “cancer patient” mode, and on to the next stage, which is a new life- cancer free. Running made me strong again, physically and mentally. I could not have known at the time, how strong I was going to have to be, in the very near future.

At the time I was diagnosed with cancer,

Mile High Mamas’ Family Trip of the Month: Crested Butte

Last summer, my family embarked upon a roadtrip that highlighted the best that Colorado has to offer. We loved every single destination but Crested Butte was the one standout and is our choice for THE must-visit destination in July.

Crested Butte is a haven for outdoor summer activities including hiking, climbing, mountain biking, boating, whitewater rafting, kayaking, fly-fishing, camping and horseback riding. But let’s face it: you’ll find most of these activities at Colorado’s other mountain resorts.

There were three things that made Crested Butte one of my family’s favorite all-time vacations: the kid-friendly Crested Butte Music Festival, the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory’s Summer Camp and the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival.

Crested Butte Music Festival, July 3-August 5

Take world-class musicians, singers and dancers to one of the nation’s most stunning mountain hamlets, add children and adult programs geared to music and movement and you have a vacation your family will never forget.

For the entire family:
From July 6-10, both traditional bluegrass and “newgrass” will be showcased in a range of events: a three-day camp for kids (now sold out), workshops for adults, children’s performances and six top-level bands. For five days of foot-stomping fun, learning, and camaraderie, “Bluegrass in Paradise” will keep festival goers on their feet.

For the kids:
The FREE Divine Family Young People’s Concerts will be held Saturday mornings at 11 a.m. Designed for kids 4-12, these special programs are focused on introducing families to the Festival’s diverse

Top 10 Family-friendly Rafting Trips on Colorado’s Rivers

I love rafting but I have not been since my children were born because I assumed they were too young.

I was delighted to discover I was wrong.

Mile High Mamas has teamed up with the Colorado River Outfitters Association to bring you a guide to the Top 10 Family-friendly Rafting Trips on Colorado’s Rivers that includes age guidelines. With more than 20 rivers across eight major basins, Colorado families are discovering the world’s largest water park is right in our own backyard.

In no particular order, the top rafting opportunities for paddle-happy families are the following:

1. Ruby – Horsethief Canyons, Upper Colorado River

Providing breathtaking views of dramatic western Colorado canyons, this tranquil 25-mile stretch just west of Grand Junction is perfect for rafting, inflatable kayaking, wildlife viewing (eg., desert bighorn sheep, bald eagles, blue herons, deer and coyotes), hiking and relaxing. The Class I and II waters are gentle enough for kids, while the views and add-on activities will keep adults excited and engaged. Age 4 and up.

2. San Miguel Confluence to Gateway, Lower Dolores River

This is a little-known stretch of river that highlights the red rock canyon country few folks know exists in southwestern Colorado. The section has a remote feel, a handful of class II and III rapids and quite a bit of flat water. Rafters frequently see river otters and bears along this stretch. Dinosaur tracks, rock art, wild west characters and mining history are all compelling topics knowledgeable guides use to keep folks entertained as they float along. Age 10 and up.

3. Chicago Creek to Kermit’s Restaurant and Bar, Clear Creek

Just 30 minutes from downtown Denver and taking a few hours or less to run, this beginner stretch of Clear Creek provides

Families step into 16th-century fun at Renaissance Fair

It was a cold and rainy Saturday morning when Lady Bette Bernd waited an hour outside the palace gate for the guards to fire the cannon. She couldn’t think of anywhere else she’d rather be.

“It’s not usually cold,” said Bernd, who’s attended the Colorado Renaissance Festival for the past 15 years. Though the temperatures may have added some authenticity to the moment.

“But what is the weather in England like?” she asked.

The 34th annual family-run fair opened June 12 and runs for eight weekends. Over the course of the summer, about 200,000 people attend, said Jim Paradise, the fair’s marketing director.

The medieval theme park in Larkspur takes visitors on a tour of the 16th century, providing an opportunity for hard-core Reniassance fans and nonhistory buffs alike to experience a day-in-the-life of peasants up to kings and queens.

And it’s all done with pomp and circumstance — and a bit of comedy. The fair features jousting, comedians who have been trained in interactive theater, turkey legs, Guinness and more than 200 artisans hawking their wares.

At the sound of the cannon,

FamilyFun Craft Ideas for the 4th of July!

It’s almost time to celebrate our nation’s birth! Check out these great 4th of July activities from Disney FamilyFun magazine.

* Confetti Launcher: Fireworks happen only after dark, but this craft creates a pop of color any time of day. Kids pull back on the string to release a shower of tissue paper confetti, then gather it up and refill the launcher again…and again…and again.

* Hand-some Tee: With a design fashioned entirely from palm-and-finger prints, this tee will be the talk of eagle-eyed revelers.

* Wig and Tutu in One: Powdered wigs are so 1776. Celebrate the Fourth in 2010 sporting a crazy red, white, and blue pompadour. Or, if you prefer, wear the tulle creation as a tutu.

* Spirited Bike Spinner: Old Glory won’t be the only thing blowing in the breeze this Fourth. Made from a strategically snipped and bent plastic bottle wrapped in tape, this colorful bike accessory twirls in the air as your kids pedal.

* A Patri-botic Centerpiece: Do U need a GR8 helper 4 yours picnic on the 4th? Well, this is one can-do robot. His recycled-can head holds a hair-raising array of utensils, and a clear container belly keeps cookies safe from eager little hands until it’s time for dessert.

* A Star-spangled Welcome: This bunting-inspired paper wreath will look as snappy as a salute on your front door.

The Children’s Hospital Q & A: Growing Pains

Every month, Mile High Mamas features a Q & A from The Children’s Hospital on a different health topic. This month’s topic is all about your child’s growing pains. Find out why that tiny voice in the middle of the night keeps whispering, “Mommy, my legs hurt.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, as many as 40% of children in the U.S. ages three to five and eight to 12 have growing pains; that’s because most kids experience significant growth within these ages ranges.

How can I tell if my child is experiencing growing pains?

The following symptoms are the most common indicators of growing pains:

* Pain is concentrated in the leg muscles, particularly the front of the thighs, calves or behind the knees.
* The pain is felt in both legs.

What causes growing pains?

“We don’t know what causes growing pains, but they do seem to occur more often after children experience a physically active day,” said J. Roger Hollister, MD, Rheumatologist and Professor of Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital. “Heredity also may play a role if one or both parents experienced growing pains when they were young.”

What can I do to soothe my child’s pain?

Try these tips to help alleviate your growing child’s aches:

* Stretch before bedtime. Experts believe the sensation of growing pains may be caused, in part, by excessive activity throughout the day. Stretching the muscles before going to sleep can help.
* Massage the tender area. Gently rub your child’s muscles in the evening or when he or she complains of soreness.
* Apply heat. Taking a warm bath or applying heat pads can help ease the pain.
* Take pain medicine. Give your child ibuprofen or acetaminophen before bedtime or when pain wakes him up at night.

Could it be more serious than just growing pains?

Other signs and symptoms that may suggest a more serious medical condition include:

* Discomfort in only one leg or area
* Joint swelling, redness, rash, tenderness, or areas that are warm to the touch
* Fever
* Limping
* Stiffness in the morning
* Weakness

“Growing pains may wake a child from sleep at night, but the pain generally disappears or is significantly reduced in the morning,” said Mark Erickson, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon at Children’s. “If pain continues into the morning and throughout the day, your child could have a more serious health concern, such as pediatric arthritis. Talk to your pediatrician if your child is experiencing additional signs and symptoms.”

Learn more about The Children’s Hospital.

Changing of the Guard

I turned 40 last month. I refuse to consider myself middle-aged, but seeing as my mom turns 70 this year and I have a 7 year old son – I suppose you can think of me as middle-ish.

What’s weird about being in the middle is you start having a parental role for not only your child – but also with those who raised you, those who smacked your bottom when you were bad (back when they did such things), those who dried your tears, those who taught you pretty much everything about life starting from the birds and ending with the bees.

It’s a slow process, of course. First your mom will email and ask your opinion on something. And you will look at the screen and think, “Whoah. Did my MOM, the one who gave me her hand-me-down Chevette 20 years ago really ask me if I think this other such and such is a good deal?”

Next is a harder transition.

They get sick.

Recently my mom had major heart surgery, and if that wasn’t traumatic enough – they accidentally found lung cancer. Accidentally. Like they were spilling soup.

The good news is, she came through the surgery well, and the doctors are optimistic about the lung cancer. Although I tell ya, it feels weird to type the word optimistic and cancer in the same sentence.

Either way – our adventures of the past few months have certainly not made my mother an invalid, but in many ways – it has made her a spectator in the management of her own life. My sister has become