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Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Sure, we may be Mile High Mamas but we’re all about the Papas in our lives. Disney’s FamilyFun magazine has some great Father’s Day ideas:

A Grate Gift for Dad. This clever trio is a tasty way to honor the King of the Grill on Father’s Day. And who doesn’t love dessert (they’re cupcakes!)?

Formal Greetings. Even if the dad in your house isn’t a shirt-and-tie kind of guy, he’s sure to love this stylish Father’s Day card.

Crafty Computer Frame. We’ve all seen decorative mouse pads, but what about the computer itself? This

Let teenagers rock their room decor — within limits

One day they are 9-year-olds affixing Hannah Montana or Spider-Man posters to their walls.

Then they are teenagers.

He wants to paint his bedroom walls black. She demands a vampire-themed suite. Mom and Dad are bummed out and prepared neither to embrace nor indulge this evolving outlook.

Relax, say interior designers with experience negotiating parent/teen tensions over room decor.

Establishing independence is the very marrow of adolescence. And bedrooms are oases of autonomy. For most kids, it’s the only part of the house over which they — and nobody else — can claim sovereignty.

When it comes to children’s rooms, experts recommend giving kids some leeway. Work with — not against — them to change the space and make it feel like their own.

“I had a kid who wanted his bedroom black, and the mom was like, ‘What do I do?’ ” says Kristi Dinner, a Denver interior designer. “We compromised with a very dark chocolate brown with white trim and white built-ins. The mom was scared, but it ended up being beautiful.”

It’s just paint, Dinner adds. “There are a lot of things that would be a lot more permanent and cost a lot more money than paint.”

Another example:

Win VTech’s Brand New Touch Learning System: the MobiGo!


I have a worthwhile goal this summer: to have my children dedicate some time to schoolwork everyday. But mixing things up and keeping learning fun isn’t easy.

Hence the reason why I send my children to school for nine months out of the year.

That’s why I jumped at the chance to review VTech’s latest product: the MobiGo Touch Learning System. My children are 6 and 3 1/2. The touch-screen learning system is designed for ages 3 to 8.

It was like a match made in mom-needs-help-during-the-summer heaven.

When I showed my children the device, they were ecstatic. They navigate my iPhone like pros so figuring out MobiGo’s touch-screen technology was a no-brainer for them. They love the games. I love that they’re learning and don’t even know it.

The games and learning skills include:

Mama Drama: Food Fights

Dear Mama Drama:

My five-year-old son used to eat a wide variety of foods, but now he will only eat a handful. I am concerned about him getting adequate nutrition and that we are constantly fighting over food. This is becoming a huge power struggle and is a nightmare for all of us.

~Food Fanatic

(photo credit)

Dear Fanatic:

This is a frequent concern of many parents. Some children will eat anything and others are very finicky. Most children go through a picky phase at some point in their lives, but with time move past it. However, if your child has autism or other medical issues it will be important to consult with your medical practitioner or behavior specialist on how to handle this issue.

Food intake is one of the few things children have complete control over as adults make most decisions for them. Offering choices throughout the day is a wonderful way to empower children. They get practice at making decisions and learning about natural consequences. When children feel empowered, they are less likely to engage in power struggles over food and other issues.

When offering choices, make sure the choices are ones you can live with. Do you want to wear the red shirt or the yellow shirt? Do you want to tie your shoes by yourself or with help? Do you want to wash your face first or brush your teeth?

When extending these choices into food, again make sure the choices fit into the limits you are setting. Do you want cereal or eggs? Do want apples or pears? Do you want your noodles with butter or with red sauce? As you prepare meals, be creative with options for how you serve them. If broccoli is on the menu offer it plain, with butter, or with ranch dressing for dipping. If your son doesn’t like a particular food, try it again in a few weeks served a little differently.

Children who help prepare meals are more likely to eat them. Get your son involved in reading recipes, finding and measuring ingredients, stirring and serving the meal. There is an informative article at that discusses fun ways to involve kids of all ages in cooking.

For your own sanity, and that of your son, it is critical to remember that your job as a parent is to provide healthy choices for your child, not to force him to eat. Only serving the foods your son wants perpetuates his limited diet. Have a family meeting about changing your food perspectives and set a rule about everyone tasting everything that is served. Set a good example by trying out foods you think you don’t really like, too…and remember that if your face is all scrunched up and you are already thinking “Eeewwww!” not even chocolate pudding will taste good. 🙂

If you have ongoing concerns you will want to rule out medical issues such as allergies, celiac’s disease, and sensory processing that could be impacting your son’s willingness to eat certain foods.

How do you help your child have a balanced diet?

Motherhood is an amazing journey that can have its share of Mama Drama. The Mama Drama column runs on Fridays with everyday mothering questions from readers and answers providing strategies to tackle these daily challenges. Send your questions and challenges to, and your Mama Drama could be in next week’s column! All emails and identifying information will remain confidential.

How to Have a Fantastic Road Trip, Even with Kids!

Warmer breezes are blowing. The sun is lingering longer before slipping behind the mountains. Far off locales are tempting us with their siren songs, and even the places in our own backyard are whispering promises of a much-needed retreat.

The summer travel season is almost here!

Last year, we decided to take advantage of the last bit of the “off-season” as we could, and we took a 12-day road trip in May out to California via The Grand Canyon and back! We explored a mountain hot springs, the desert, some beaches, a theme park, a world-renowned zoo, bustling cities and quiet little mountain towns. We relaxed, hiked, camped, strolled, played and “picked shells” to our hearts’ content. Our trip was a fabulous success, sprinkled with just the right amount of challenges, and it was just what we needed to renew and recharge. We were filled to the brim with stories of our adventures and photos to share.

This year, our yearly road trip went in the opposite direction, as we headed back to the Midwest to visit relatives for a week.

Sometimes the destination is only part of the fun, and the journey from Point A to Point B can be just as exciting. When that’s the case, it’s best to skip the plane and hit the road.

Road trip!

If you haven’t figured it out already, we love to road trip. We wouldn’t have attempted The Great 12-Day Road Trip if we didn’t. Both my husband and I road trip well, and we always have. When the scenery is new, we don’t dread the drive, and that attitude has rubbed off on our daughter, Claire. She road trips well, too. We are lucky, and we know this.

We go on one or two road trips a year, and we’ve honed our skills. We’ve altered our approach over the years to accommodate our preschooler and the various challenges that arise. So, what are some tricks and tips to a tip-top trip?

Here are some of our favorites!

Weekly Event Round-up: National Get Outdoors Day, Journey to the Stars & More!

Friday. Travel through space and time with “Journey to the Stars,” the new planetarium show at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, “Journey” explores the life cycle of stars, from their earliest formation to death. Using digital imagery and real pictures from telescopes, the show lets viewers see stars up close — including a good look at Earth’s biggest neighboring star, the sun. Shows run hourly from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd.; 303-370-6000. Planetarium tickets are $16 for adults and $10 for students and seniors, and include admission to the museum. Museum members receive a discount. For more information visit

Saturday. Denver may not have an ocean, but that doesn’t mean kids have to miss out on beachy fun. Starting Saturday, the Super Sand Dome opens at the Children’s Museum of Denver. The giant, inflatable dome is filled with piles of wet sand just waiting to be sculpted. Youngsters can build sandcastles, dig and generally stomp around — beach-style. The Super Sand Dome is included with admission to the museum, so it’s possible to make it a full day of summer fun. The Sand Dome runs through Sept. 12. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, and until 7 p.m. Wednesdays. Children’s Museum of Denver, 2121 Children’s Museum Drive; 303-433-7444. Admission is $8 for guests ages 2 to 59, $6 for seniors over 60 and one-year-olds. Visit for more information.

Saturday. There’s fun for everyone at the Lafayette Family Fun Fest. Live entertainment starts early with children’s songwriters Mary Sue and Cari, then goes into the afternoon with magicians, dancers and more music. There’s plenty to do besides catching a show, too: Take a ride on a tethered hot-air balloon, watch a police K-9 unit demonstration or bounce on a bungee trampoline and bounce house. And don’t forget face-painting, balloon sculpting and gymnastics demos — it’s going to be a big day. The festival starts at 10 a.m. Saturday. Atlas Valley shopping center, 95th Street and Arapahoe Road, Lafayette. Admission is free. Learn more at

Saturday. Lakewood goes retro when Lakewood’s Heritage Center hosts a “Rockin’ Block Party.” The day starts with free admission to the Heritage Center, a collection of historic structures and thousands of artifacts. Then, from 2 to 4 p.m., give some classic block-party games a whirl, including badminton, hula hoop and croquet. After game time, lace up your saddle shoes — or just sit back and relax — for a concert of 1950s classics by a cappella group The 17th Avenue Allstars. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Lakewood’s Heritage Center, 801 S. Yarrow St.; 303-987-7850. Admission is free. Visit for more information.

Saturday. Run, walk, ride, hop, jump, skate — do whatever you must to get warmed up for the National Get Outdoors Day celebration at City Park. The event lets kids — and grownups — participate in all sorts of outdoor activities for free. Give mountain biking a try, then test out the climbing wall before hitting the dry-slope skiing area. There’s even fishing and camping demonstrations for when you need a little rest. With a focus on fitness, the main stage entertainment features music and dance from a variety of world cultures — and, of course, everyone is invited to dance along. 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. City Park, 17th Avenue and York Street. Admission is free. Learn more at

-Kathleen St. John
Photo: Sierra Club

Win Tickets to the Children’s Museum of Denver’s New Super Sand Dome!


You don’t need to go far to hit the beach this summer.

The Children’s Museum of Denver is going beyond the ordinary and making waves with the 770 sq-ft inflatable Super Sand Dome. This colossal dome is filled with piles and piles of beach-like sand (80,000 lbs of it) and will have families sculpting sand castles, making dinosaur tracks, and leaving their mark using both traditional and unique sand tools.

When: Saturday, June 12th through Sunday, September 12th

Daily Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Wednesdays: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Where: Children’s Museum of Denver’s Plaza, 2121 Children’s Museum Drive, Denver, CO 80211

Cost: Included with the price of Museum admission.

Mile High Mamas is giving away four tickets to the Children’s Museum of Denver to check out the new Super Sand Dome. Please go here to enter. Contest deadline is June 18, 2010.

Denver Deals: The Microsoft Store, Butterfly Pavilion, Wildlife Experience & More!


The Microsoft Store opens at Park Meadows on Thursday, June 10 and is offering giftbags with goodies like Xbox games, T-shirts and more. Your kids will love you for this one: The first 1,000 people in line get a FREE bag stuffed with giveaway items and two VIP tickets to an outdoor concert on Saturday, June 12 at 3 p.m. featuring Demi Lovato. The first 100 people in line also get a special access pass for an autograph from the Disney star.

Celebrate the 15th Anniversary Celebration of the Butterfly Pavilion on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 with $1.50 admission for all!

The Wildlife Experience recently announced it will participate in the Blue Star Museums program providing free admission to active military and their families between Memorial Day and Labor Day of this year.  For free museum admission, active military should present military ID at main admissions.  The Wildlife Experience is open Tuesday – Sunday 9a.m. – 5p.m.  For more information, call 720.488.3300.

Lowe’s Build and Grow Workshopis this Saturday, June 12th from 10a.m until 11a.m. at participating stores.  The kids will have a chance to make Dad a picture frame.  Next time the kids have a chance to build a monster truck on June 26th.

Michael’s has a week of events planned for Father’s Day.  Most of the crafts(except Thursday, June 17th and Saturday, June 19th) require a small purchase.  Thursday the kids can make a FREE Duct Tape Wallet and Saturday is a Father’s Day Card.

Restaurant Deals

Today, June 9th from 7a.m.-11a.m., Mimi’s Cafe will be giving away FREE 4-Packs of muffins with the purchase of a breakfast! Like them on Facebook to access the coupon. If you’re a fan of Mimi’s, sign-up for their E-Club and they will send you a coupon for a free meal when you buy one! (Thanks, Jennie!)

Quiznos is offering a hot meal deal! Use this printable coupon to grab a small sub, chips, and a regular fountain drink for only $2.99! The coupon expires on June 15th.

From June 3-15, participating Taco Bell restaurants in Denver will invite customers to give $1 to support the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens’ “Graduate to Go”initiative. Money raised will provide local grants to organizations with a track record of empowering teens, like the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. For their support, customers will receive a free taco coupon.

Sonic is running a Buy One Shake, Get One Free special until June 27th. You have the option of getting the second one free when you order or receiving a coupon to use at a later date! The regular sized shakes are priced at $2.39. So you’re only paying $1.19 per shake!


School may be out for summer but that doesn’t mean your kids should stop learning. Check out your local library for information on summer reading programs, many of which also give you freebies on Book Award Day and area activities.

Want some summer movie fun? Century Belmar 16 is will take part in the Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse program. How it works: Buy your 10-movie pass punch card in advance at the theater for just $5 or at the box office on movie day for $1 per show and also get $1 off a Movie Snack Pack. No discrimination here. Punch cards are the same price for adults and children. Movies include Aliens in the Attic, Tooth Fairy, Alvin & The Chipmunks The Squeakquel and more.

 Don’t want to miss any of Mile High Mamas’ contests and events? Be sure to sign up for our weekly email newsletter!

Strength Baby Strength

Formalities first. The phone hasn’t rung. We’ve received zero
emails. Nothing. No news. Nada. How does that make us feel? Don’t
really want to talk about it. Or think about it really. It just is. There’s nothing we can do to speed it up or force the issue. And so life as we know it goes on. Most of the time, it goes on very happily. And during the times where it’s not so happy, we gain more strength in the now.

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a pregnant woman choosing a family
to raise your child? Ever wonder what it’s like to carry a little one
for 9 months, knowing that you won’t comb her hair or brush his teeth
or walk, hand in hand, through parking lots? I never did until we met
dude’s birth mom. Until we started meeting strong people who make the
unbelievably difficult decision to let their kids be raised by some one
else. Someone they typically don’t really even know. Below is a story
from an anonymous author off a site I follow religiously. You’ll
definitely want to check her out…she finds moms from every walk of life and tells their stories. And then some. She’s Design Mom – give her a read.

Adoption Story from Anonymous:
“I didn’t want to get pregnant. A crazy night with an emotionally
physical goodbye led to what I didn’t know then would be the hardest
goodbye of my life. It was the summer of my sophomore year of college
at a very small private liberal arts college. I was working two jobs to
pay for the next semester’s tuition. I had loans for the air I breathed
and was always struggling to make ends me

Tour de Colorado: Our Picks for Colorado’s Top Destinations for Families

Exactly one year ago today, I published my intentions for my family to visit many of Colorado’s world-class destinations last summer. We enjoyed our Tour de Colorado so much that we will be doing a repeat performance at fan-favorite Crested Butte while also adding glorious Golden and others to the mix.

Did you miss Round 1? Be sure to check out our picks for Colorado’s Best-kept Secret, Best Splurge, Best Mountain Festival, Best Mountain Community, Best Dude Ranch, Best Camping and Best Front-range Destination. All of my trip reports embraced The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of family travel.

Case in point: locking our keys in the car for three hours. While it was still running.

Here is a flashback of our many great travels that I originally published last year (with 2010 updates):

BEST-KEPT SECRET: Chautauqua in Boulder

One might wonder how Boulder, an outdoorsy city just 25 miles from Denver, could hold any secrets. But I stumbled upon one when I hiked Chautauqua’s Enchanted-Mesa Trail with some friends. It was then that my love affair with Chautauqua’s 48 miles of verdant trails began.

This National Historic Landmark nestled against the Flatiron Mountains is one of Colorado’s true hidden gems. It’s an area heaped in history and very few locals know about the historic and affordable cottages for rent. The Dining Hall boasts some of the best outdoor dining in Colorado with epic mountain views. Don’t miss the silent films, concerts and children’s programs at the Auditorium that will delight old and young.

Visit the Boulder Farmer’s Market on Saturdays—a veritable cornucopia of organic food, live music, eccentricities and fun. Then take a stroll along the Boulder Creek Trail and also take a foray over to famed pedestrian mall Pearl Street Mall to shop, eat, play in the spray fountain and watch the street performers.

NOTE: Read the final Chautauqua trip report here.


This will be our first summer trip to Crested Butte after falling in love with the ski area a few years ago. Not only is this charming hamlet renowned for its