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Self-love: selfish or selfless?

I’m pondering three quotes on a day when my children are back in school, leaving me wondering time.

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.

— Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Everyone has a price, and life respects that price. But that price is not measured in dollars or in gold, it is measured in love. More than that, it is measured in self-love.

— Don Miguel Ruiz in an engagement calendar

And wuv, twu wuv, will fowow you foweva…So tweasure your wuv.

— The Impressive Clergyman in the Princess Bride

Hmmmm….do I have a light within? Often I feel like all the light in my life (which is considerable) comes from outside me. I’m surrounded by lots of shining people, really good people. Might I attract light to me because I have light in me? I must. But I don’t quite believe it. Not in my bones.

How do I love myself? I see all my flaws,

Taking on Brunswick Zone’s New Bowling Mamas League

I have a confession: I generally avoid activities at which I suck. I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that I hate losing or that I’m not having a good time if I’m not winning.

Oh wait. Is that the same thing?

Regardless, bowling is one such activity. So, when my friend Eva invited my kids and me to go bowing at Brunswick Zone in Wheat Ridge, I hesitated before deciding that socializing with friends in an air-conditioned building far outweighed any personal failures.

We had six moms juggling more than 20 kids so I did not have time to care about the game until I realized that out of the moms, I had come in dead last.

I’m pretty sure the toddlers in the bumper lanes beat me, too.

I laughed it off but have to admit, my fire was fueled just a bit. We went on to play another game and I fared a lot better, even knocking out a strike and a spare. I was still not invested until Eva announced she was one frame away from declaring victory.

Here’s the thing about

Labor Day Best Bet for Kids: Taste of Colorado’s New Line-up!

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, A Taste of Colorado will be held over Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 3 – Sept. 6, in Civic Center Park of Downtown Denver and includes FREE admission.

In addition to the always-delicious food booths, there will be plenty of music, magic, clowns and puppets on the KidzStage and the KidZone has play equipment and a great variety of free hands-on craft activities for children of all ages. Kids and adults can also enjoy Carnival Rides and Games. Here are just some of the new kid-friendly features & exciting performances at Taste this year:

* Kudzidza performs an authentic, African, interactive show Saturday on the KidzStage at 2:15 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. Unlike many available African performers who are not from Africa, the members of Kudzidza were raised singing, drumming, telling stories, dancing, and playing their native music in Africa.

* The Lukasiewicz Family Fiddler Band will perform Friday at 2 p.m. on the Country Stage. Specializing in Texas-style fiddling, bluegrass, and gospel hymns, they are a large family of mostly adopted children of varying nationalities, all home-schooled, and all taught the fiddle by their parents.

* The Boy Scouts of America is touring the country to give people an exciting, hands-on view of the organization’s 100 year history. Adventure Base 100 unfolds into 10,000-square-feet of immersive Scout-related experiences. The exhibit will include: a high-adventure ropes course for all visitors who are more than four feet tall and weigh less than 250 pounds; a multi-sensory experience that will offer visitors the sights, smells, and sounds of scouting via the IMAX-like video, “Go! Dome;” an overview about what it takes to become an Eagle Scout, the highest level of scouting; a chance to speak with members of local councils to learn more about scouting; and a traveling scouting museum featuring an overview of the Boy Scouts of America’s history, including a display of rare artifacts collected by the organization over the last 100 years.

The complete children’s lineup can be found at http://www.atasteofcolorado.com/kids.asp.

Colorado schools get $43 million in grants

Struggling Colorado schools will receive about $43 million in federal turnaround grants over three years.

Nineteen schools in six districts — Denver, Pueblo City, Mesa County District 51, Sheridan, Adams 14 and Center Consolidated School District 26JT — will receive the money, according to the Colorado Department of Education.

The grants are part of the Obama administration’s three-year, $3.5 billion initiative to improve or close 5,000 chronically low-performing schools.

Closing schools is the most politically volatile choice among the four interventions acceptable with the turnaround money.

The other options include replacing the leadership and staff, restarting the school with a charter school and “transforming” the school.

The last option is the most popular.

Legend of the Tarantula opens Labor Day weekend at the Butterfly Pavilion (win 6 tickets!)

**CONTEST CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO WINNER SUSIE NELSON!**

The Butterfly Pavilion’s famed tarantula Rosie has some competition.

Venture into the world of the tarantula at the Butterfly Pavilion during the world premiere of their new exhibit, Legend of Tarantula, starting Labor Day weekend.

Discover how these versatile arachnids go far beyond the dangerous, scary image given to them by Hollywood, and learn the true value of these eight-legged wonders. Come face-to-face with over 25 rare tarantulas from around world, including some species never before displayed at the Butterfly Pavilion.

The Victorian-themed exhibit will teach visitors about the tarantula’s anatomy, habitats, diet, behaviors and cultural significance through interactive panels and activities. Become captivated by the beauty of these extraordinary creatures while exploring the tarantula’s secret world.

Interactive activities will include building a tarantula by layering over-sized anatomy parts; discovering where tarantulas live on a life-sized world atlas map; identifying different types of tarantulas by matching specimens with descriptions; dancing to Tarantella music and much more. The exhibit will also provide quiet and active learning opportunities for younger children in the specially designed Tarantula Town. Tarantula Town will feature climbing elements such as a spider web and tarantula burrow, and a reading nook with puzzles, hand puppets and educational games.

Legend of the Tarantula opens Saturday, September 4 and runs through November 28, 2010. Entrance into the new exhibit is included with general admission. For additional information, be sure to go to www.butterflies.org.

Mile High Mamas is giving away six tickets to the Butterfly Pavilion! Please go here to enter. Contest deadline is September 12, 2010.

Mama Drama: Friendship Frustrations

Dear Mama Drama:

I have two sons who are very outgoing, but very unique. Both struggle with making lasting friendships at school and say that others seem to avoid them. They often blast in instead of joining into groups or repeat annoying behavior when they have been asked to stop. My oldest son does gross and obnoxious things and my youngest is always showing off in attempts to get attention. When they complain about how they are treated at school they seem to have no idea how their behavior is impacting others. I’m at a loss.

~ Concerned Mama

Mile High Mamas’ Back-to-school Product Picks!

I will be on KDVR-TV (FOX 31) today at 9 a.m. talking about the following must-have items for school:

1). Airbak (airbak.com) – makes school backpacks easier to carry w/ less strain on the back and protects contents w/ inflatable internal air cushions.

There are more than 15,000 school backpack related injuries every year… Airbak is a new backpack invention that uses a patented, built-in air cushion technology to prevent back stress and make wearers feel as if they are carrying half the weight or less, as well as protecting the backpack contents, such as a laptop and other valuable gear. Simply pump the air pocket to the desired level, taking only seconds, and the Airbak’s inflated air pockets surround the contents with a shield of air and allow the pack to spread the weight more evenly throughout the back than a standard backpack, with the majority of the weight distributed to the core muscles of the hips and waist and resting easily on the top of the wearer’s gluteal muscles (rear end). 49.99, airbak.com

2). Sachi Bags (amazon.com) – most stylish lunch bags on the market

A definite upgrade from the brown paper bag or plain insulated sack. Sachi Bags are the

R Baby raises money to save babies’ lives. Walk with us!

Lots of mothers will tell you their lives changed forever the day their child was born. That was true for me, too, but then just nine days later, my life changed again.

That was the day my daughter died.

I didn’t expect to get pregnant. After years of being told my husband, Dan, and I could not conceive, we’d started our family a less traditional way, by foster-adopting a beautiful baby boy. Six months later, I discovered I was pregnant.

On May 3, 2006, we welcomed Rhiannon Fay-Marie McMurray into the world. Doctors said our little girl was in picture-perfect health and sent us home.

After a little more than a week, Rhiannon began acting fussy, stopped eating and wouldn’t sleep. Worried, I took her to the doctor’s office on May 11. There, between the waiting area and the examining room, Rhiannon went into cardiac arrest.

Our “miracle” died the next morning.

An autopsy later showed that Rhiannon had contracted an undiagnosed virus sometime in her first few days of life. We’ll probably never know where or when. In older children, this virus acts like a common cold, but in a baby as young as Rhiannon, it systematically attacked her organs.

Doctors told us the virus was incredibly rare, but the next year, the Rocky Mountain region experienced an outbreak among newborns. Sadly, many of them didn’t survive.

We later learned a staggering statistic: In the United States alone, 30,000 babies born each year die before reaching their first birthday.

Weekly Event Round-up: Italian Family Circus, Chile Harvest Festival & More!

Friday-Sunday. Catch a glimpse of circus as it once was when the Zoppé Italian Family Circus sets up at Mile High Marketplace. Featuring a brand-new, one-ring tent, the Zoppés perform in a traditional style with one story binding all the performances together. Nino the Clown stars, as usual, along with Tosca the Equestrian Ballerina, acrobats, dog performers and more. 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday. Mile High Marketplace, 7007 E. 88th Ave.; 303-289-4656. Admission is $3 to enter the Marketplace, plus $10 for circus admission. Kids age 11 and younger are free with a paying adults. Go to milehighmarketplace.com for more information.

Saturday-Sunday. Prepare for cooler days to come by getting a blast of heat at the Lakewood Chile Harvest Festival. Local green chile mavens battle it out at two green chile cookoffs, one each day — Saturday’s chile is traditional, while Sunday’s theme is “Think Outside the Pepper.” Live music and dancing celebrates Hispanic heritage, including performances from Aztec dancers, a classical Spanish guitarist and Latin jazz band. Kids can keep busy with craft projects while grownups tour art demonstrations and exhibits. And of course, green chiles will be roasting all day for visitors to take home for winter warmth. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Lakewood’s Heritage Center, 801 S. Yarrow St., Lakewood. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for kids ages 3 to 12. Visit lakewood.org to learn more.

Saturday. Take to the streets for the first-ever Exempla Good Samaritan Boulder Nites Classic. The family friendly bike ride winds around Boulder, covering 9 miles total. Begin and end the race at the 29th Street Mall, where plenty of treats await riders: massages, music, food and drink. The evening cruise benefits the PLAY Boulder Foundation, the City of Boulder’s Youth Services Initiative and Boulder Parks and Recreation’s EXPAND program. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Start/Finish at the 29th Street Mall, 1710 29th Street, Boulder. Registration is $30 for adults, $25 for seniors age 60 and older, $15 for kids under 12. A family rate is available for $75. Visit bouldernitesclassic.com for more information and to register in advance.

Saturday. Celebrate Colorado’s European Americans at the third annual European Festival in Highlands Ranch. More than 20 European countries are represented at the gathering, from east to west, including Latvia, Poland, Norway, Spain and Ireland. Vendors will peddle arts and crafts, plus lots of tasty food from all over Europe. Grab a seat on the lawn and catch a variety of music and dance performances, too — Hungarian grooves from Magyarock, Scottish dance from the Rocky Mountain Highland Dancers, German party music with Tanzkapelle and more. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. Civic Green Park, 9370 Ridgeline Blvd., Highlands Ranch. Admission is free. Learn more at eurofestival.org.

Saturday. Explore Central City’s past and present at the 22nd annual Cemetery Crawl, followed by the opening of Gilpin County Arts Association’s 2010 Members Art Exhibit and Sale. The afternoon starts with guided tours of Central City’s Masonic Cemetery, compete with costumed actors portraying the real-life settlers buried there. Afterward, crawlers will gather at Washington Hall to check out works by Central City’s current residents, plus live music, food, beer and wine. Cemetery crawl: 2-4 p.m. Saturday. Art exhibit hours: 4-7 p.m. Saturday. For cemetery crawl, meet at the Central City Opera parking lot, 124 Eureka St., Central City, for a free shuttle to the Masonic Cemetery. Art exhibit located at Washington Hall, 117 Eureka St., Central City. Tickets are $12 for adults, free for kids age 12 and younger. Buy $10 advance tickets by calling the Gilpin County Historical Society at 303-582-5283.

-Kathleen St. John

Denver Deal:Sniagrab, Garbanzo’s, Michael’s Arts & Crafts

I am a magazine junkie.  I love getting a new magazine stuffed in my mail box.  It is usually something just for me – and not something unpleasant like a bill.  I subscribe to a lot of magazines but have found the site BestDealsMagazines.com where I can get national big name magazines for really cheap!  There are several great titles that are only $4.69 for a whole year!  (That is what the newsstand price for one single magazine is!) Plus, once you visit the site they often send out emails good for an additional discount! 

Sniagrab!

Last week I let you know about the SkiRex trad- in program at Colorado Ski and Golf.  This week, I’m letting you all know about Sniagrab (Bargains spelled backwards) at The Sports Authority over Labor Day weekend – starting on Sept 4th (plan ahead now).  They tout 75% off retail!  There will be doorbuster deals, prizes and bonus bucks.  And this event has been going on for 56 years! 

Garbanzo’s

One of my most favorite fast-casual restaurants, Garbanzo’s is opening a new location on Wednesday, September 1!  The newest location is a 2466 South Colorado Blvd.  Opening day there will be activities and prizes including a spin-to-win and a tote giveaway for the first 100 people on Friday. Saturday, the first 100 guests will receive a Garganzo T-shirt.

Grandparents Day Celebration!

Did you know that Grandparents Day was coming up?  (me either!)  Michael’s Arts and Craft store is ready to help you celebrate with a fun free craft.  This Saturday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. capture the kids handprints in Crayola Model Magic (while supplies last) and voila your kids win brownie points with the grandparents remembering their special day!

Lowe’s Build and Grow

If you’re feeling crafty, you can also go to Lowe’s for the Build and Grow project. Each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Lowe’s will help your kids build a wooden project (this weekend it is a school bus).  All the kids get a free apron, goggles, patch, and certification of merit when they finish the project!

Labor Day Weekend

Next week I will round up all kinds of fun for Labor Day weekend.  YAY!  I love Taste of Colorado almost as much as I love a three-day weekend – oh, wait they go together!  Email me if you know of some great deals or events.

Email me if you know of any great Denver deals! 

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You can also follow me on Twitter.  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out!