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‘Baby Einstein’ DVD creators find redemption in documents suggesting negative study was flawed

Four years, one lawsuit and relentless pestering after a headline-grabbing study slammed their iconic Baby Einstein videos as harmful, Bill Clark and Julie Aigner-Clark have forced the University of Washington to turn over original research documents they say confirm what they always suspected: The study was deeply flawed and unfairly characterized Baby Einstein products.

The university also paid $175,000 toward the couple’s legal fees.

To Bill Clark, the files turned over by the school demonstrate “troubling aspects of how it was conceived, funded and publicized.”

The university stands behind

New Safety Standards for Cribs Aim to Better Protect Children: Tips for Making Sure Your Crib Is Safe

Crib-related accidents send 26 children to U.S. emergency rooms each day and result in more than 110 deaths annually, according to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics. And for the first time in nearly 30 years, federal mandatory crib standards have been updated. Beginning June 28, 2011, anyone that manufactures or sells baby cribs will be required to meet new and improved crib safety standards approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on Dec. 15, 2010.

These mandatory standards will: 1) stop the manufacture and sale of dangerous, traditional drop-side cribs; 2) make mattress supports stronger; 3) improve slat strength; 4) make crib hardware

Tips For a Successful Fourth of July

Independence Day, or the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday celebrated in honor of our nation’s Declaration of Independence, adopted on July 4, 1776. The purpose: to declare the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Each of the Thirteen Colonies partied in style on that day decades ago, as predicted by John Adams himself in a letter to his wife. We will do it again this year give thanks on July 4th for the amazing gift of freedom our country is founded upon, and as moms, we’re going to do what we can to make it the best one ever for our families!

Event Round-Up: Colorado Symphony, Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Ice Cream Social & More!

Sunday. Independence Day gets the classical treatment when the Colorado Symphony presents its “Independence Eve” concert at Civic Center Park. The huge outdoor show features the orchestra playing al fresco under a portable bandshell. Right behind the orchestra, the Civic Center building will be lit up with a choreographed light show—and you’d better believe there will be fireworks. The musical program includes plenty of rousing, patriotic favorites under the direction of resident conductor Scott O’Neil. Arrive early with folding chairs and blankets to get the best seats, and don’t worry about dinner—food will be available onsite. Latecomers can spread out and catch the show from the steps of the state capitol building, too. 8 p.m. Sunday. Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue. Admission is free. coloradosymphony.org

Saturday-Monday. Cherry Creek North becomes an artists’ colony during the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. Stroll through the streets and ponder artworks by more than 230 visual artists, from painters to metalworkers. The performing arts get their due, too, with three stages of music performance running throughout the festival. And don’t forget the culinary artists: Watch live culinary demonstrations from top local chefs on a dedicated stage. Kids can join the fun by exploring “Artivity Avenue,” a collection of hands-on craft activities including a community mural. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday. “Festival Nights” run until 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Cherry Creek North, 2nd and 3rd avenues between Clayton and Steele streets. Admission is free. cherryarts.org

Monday. Take a trip to Colorado’s past at the Old Fashioned July 4th Festival at Four Mile Historic Park. Old-timey fun abounds: gold panning, games, ice cream and crafting, plus horse-drawn wagon rides and tours of the Four Mile House. Explore “mountain man” and Native American camps to see what life was like in the wilderness. A group of Civil War soldiers will be camped at the park, as well—they’ve got a cannon, and they will be firing it (at the top of every hour). 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday. Four Mile Historic Park, 715 S. Forest St.; 720-865-0800. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for seniors and youth ages 7 to 17, free for kids age 6 and younger and military with ID. fourmilepark.org

Saturday. Beat the heat at the 11th annual Ice Cream Social in Winter Park. Snag some free ice cream and go wandering: There’s face-painting, balloon animals, hula-hoop contests and more. Make some patriotic crafts in the KidsZone, and rock out to live music by Easy Bill and the Big Beat. Also: Go on a scenic tour of downtown Winter Park with a free horse-drawn carriage ride. 1-4 p.m. Saturday. Cooper Creek Square, 47 Cooper Creek Way, Winter Park. Admission is free. playwinterpark.com

Monday. Youngsters put on their own Fourth of July parade at Cheesman Park’s Kids’ Bike Parade. Meet up to decorate bikes at the parking lot just south of the park’s Pavilion; the parade steps off at 10 a.m. A Denver Fire Department truck, the Mile High Freedom Marching Band, Uncle Sam and members of the Denver Police Mounted Patrol will join in the march, too. Afterward, visit face-painters, a balloon artist and caricaturist for souvenirs. P.S.: You don’t have to have a bike to march in the parade—walkers are welcome. 9-11 a.m. Monday. Cheesman Park, 1599 E. 8th Ave. Admission is free. cheesmanpark.org

Kathleen St. John

Denver Urban Gardens – “growing community – one garden at a time”

For 26 years, the non-profit Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) has worked with communities to bring about positive change through gardening. DUG assists neighborhoods and schools with the planning, design, coordination and construction of community gardens, most of which are located in low- to moderate-income urban neighborhoods.

With only 3 gardens in, 1985, it’s first year of operation, the organization has grown by leaps and bounds – or rather, by blooms and fruits – to over 100 gardens today in 11 cities supporting over 32,000 people throughout the Denver Metro Area. For 2011, the organization plans to open a total of 20 new community gardens.

On June 22, DUG hosted GreenShoots2 at Root Down restaurant in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver. This annual fund raising event strives to spread awareness about urban gardening as well as raise funds to support the continuation and expansion of community gardens. Root Down focuses on local produce and suppliers to create their eclectic and visually stunning food fare. The edamame hummus was amazing: smooth, creamy and packed with flavor!

KEEN Vail Kids Adventure Race: The Coolest Kids Race on the Planet?

When I heard about the inaugural KEEN Vail Kids Adventure Race last year, I knew my 6-year-old daughter Hadley simply had to try it.

This is her year.

On Saturday, August 13, 2011, kids ages six through 12 will get a fun introduction to adventure racing. Teams of two work together to navigate a variety of sports and and problem-solving challenges, including mountain biking, hiking, tubing, archery, a low ropes course, a zip line, a climbing wall, a Tarzan swing, a giant slip-n-slide and more. Competitors will be divided into three waves based on age and will start at set intervals. An after party and awards ceremony will take place immediately following the race.

I don’t know about you but I wish they had this race for adults!

Despite the fun factor, I had fears my 6-year-old was ready to tackle it last year but my worries were in vain. While there are some kids who are serious competitors, most are out there to have a fun adventure. Parents are permitted to accompany their child throughout the race to watch the different challenges but are asked to refrain from helping them. A large fleet of volunteers is on-hand to provide assistance.

My daughter Hadley will be competing with our neighbor Sydney. While most kids are slacking off this summer, I’m thrilled they’ll be setting worthwhile training goals and having a great time achieving them. We’ve even recruited a few other friends to compete in the older divisions.

The cost is $150 per team of two. Registration includes a 2011 KEEN Vail Kids Adventure Race backpack and other goodies. Registration is limited to 100 teams of two kids. To register, download the registration form and fax to (970) 479-2281 or email it to bpappas@vailrec.com.

Go to http://www.vailrec.com/kidsadventurerace.cfm for additional information.

As long as you’re under my roof

I want the serial killer lurking in the woods to know this:

I have left the back door unlocked. I am not armed. My room is at the top of the stairs to the right. I am usually sleeping from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am, but I have kids so these hours greatly vary. If you need to sharpen your axe, look in the garage. There, you’ll find all sorts of tools. Hammer, crowbars, all-things sharp and scary. If you forgot your axe (blush) you can use what you find in the red tool box. There’s always the kitchen knives, too. Don’t let our dog worry you. She’s all bark, no bite.

I’d hate for you to get hurt. I mean, if you’re going to kill me ANYWAY, you should be as safe as possible while you are committing your crime. I am powerless. I really can’t say no because I could be stifling your style, denying your needs, making you look uncool to all your serial killer friends, or forcing you to go elsewhere. Like do your killing in a car or a park? Yuck. That’s dangerous!

And then there are hormonal teenagers. Everyone knows they are crazed sex and alcohol fiends. They may not lurk in the woods with an axe but they are just as wild-eyed and powerless against their urges.

Recently, Good Morning, America ran a story about parents who allow their kids to have sex at home. The justification is that kids will be kids and will do it anyway, so why not make sure they are safe and cozy in their bedrooms?

If this catches on, I can see parenting magazines offering advice. Imagine reading this in the dentist’s waiting room:  A nice decorating touch for a teen’s bedroom? A pretty crystal bowl to display condoms! Make sure you use freshly-scented fabric softener for your teen’s sheets and have decorative soaps in the bathroom. When your teen has a special friend over, it’s customary for you to go on a walk around the block. Give them at least 5 minutes. Arrive home in time to prepare a healthy snack for the still-growing kids. Chocolate milk is always a hit. They need the energy, especially with the big geometry test in the morning.

Parents in the Good Morning, America article cited safety as the reason they allow their teens to have sex in their homes. Safety from what? Being in a car? Then why let them drive the car? Safety is simply an excuse.

I believe the parents who have made this decision are more interested in being their kid’s friend than keeping them safe. Several of the teen girls in the article stated they wouldn’t be comfortable with permission to have sex at home because it eliminates their excuse to not have sex. The ability to blame parents for being strict is actually a refuge for certain teens.

Do teens like being painted as crazed fiends who can’t control themselves when it comes to drinking and sex and general rowdiness? Probably not.

I have high expectations for my kids while understanding they will be confronted by sex. I hope they have high expectations for me, too. That means not being the pal who gets lost when a girlfriend or boyfriend comes over. I am not a roommate, a sorority sister, a peer.

I will be the one who will make sure to keep dialogue open. I will make sure to teach our values and more importantly why we hold particular values. I will always provide arms to hug, shoulders to cry on, and legs to carry them when they can’t move another inch.

I provide the roof.

It’s number one function is shelter.

Denver Deal: Kennedy Golf, Cherry Creek Arts Fest, Salads & More!

Happy Fourth of July!  I hope you have some fantastic plans.  I know my kids and I will do all that we can to put as much fun into this weekend as we possibly can.  We may visit the Cherry Creek Arts Festival.  We will be seeing the HUGE fireworks display at the Colorado Rockies game.  We may even make it to Keystone or Frisco to see the fireworks over Lake Dillon!  Whatever you choose to do with your family enjoy the time together and remember we live in an AMAZING country.

Kennedy Golf Course

The Kennedy Golf Course, located at 10500 East Hampden Avenue,  is currently running a super deal.  Junior golfers (any golfer under 18 years old)  From June 1st- August 31st, children play free on the Par 3 course with the paid admission of a parent.

Cherry Creek Arts Festival

For three days during the July 4th holiday weekend since 1991, Colorado’s signature cultural event is presented in Denver’s Cherry Creek North. The festival is a world-class and award-winning celebration of the visual, culinary and performing arts.  Special exhibits, art and culinary demonstrations, and interactive family activities on “Artivity Avenue” complement the festival experience.

Unleash your little Picaso at the Creation Station, an art playground tailored to younger children! It features numerous, diverse and creative art activities designed to engage the mind and the whole family!

Randolph’s Restaurant inside the Warwick Denver Hotel

Let freedom ring the first weekend in July at Randolph’s Restaurant and Bar inside Warwick Denver Hotel. With $5 burgers and fries the 2nd through the 4th, and $2 Bud Light drafts throughout the weekend, there will be plenty of reasons to celebrate America’s independence. And on Monday, July 4th, stop by on the way to the fireworks and toast our founding fathers with $.76 Bud Light drafts!  Yes, you read that right, 76 cents!   Randolph’s festivities don’t end on the Fourth! Steal some time during any Rockies home game and catch a beer and brat for only $6.

Fabulous Salads

I don’t know about you but hot, heavy pasta is the last thing I’d like to eat during the summer months. That’s why The Salad Days of Summer is a welcomed addition at Noodles & Co. Two tasty backyard-inspired salads are on the menu: The Backyard Barbeque Chicken Salad features marinated pulled chicken breast with fresh-cut summer corn, ripe Roma tomatoes and chopped red cabbage served over mixed greens and tossed with a smoky coleslaw dressing. The Very Berry Spinach Salad with blue cheese and balsamic fig drizzle is a wholesome meal that includes fresh strawberries, pecans, crispy bacon and house-made croutons atop tender spinach leaves finished off with blue cheese crumbles and a balsamic fig glaze. Warning: The salads are delish and refreshing but the croutons are moderately addictive!

Free Concerts

For the past couple weeks I have been listing certain bands and happenings in area malls and parks.  If I am missing one, that you enjoy attending, please send me the information so I can include it.

Funkiphino performs this Thursday, June 30 at FlatIron Crossing as part of the FlatIron Crossing Thursday Summer Concert Series.  Plus, when you are at FlatIron Crossing be sure to visit the summer carnival – only there through July 4!

July 1, 2011 several bands will are scheduled between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. (including Jobi & Erin Riccio, Chris Fairbank, Chase ‘N The Dream Band)  as part of the Clement Park Free Summer Concert Series at Clement Park in Littleton. The bands will be followed by a fantastic fireworks display!

Contemporary funk band, Hot Lunch will be at  Southlands in Aurora on Friday, July 1.  The Southlands in Aurora also has other great kids programming this summer including the YMCA Drop and Shop.   Drop your kids off at the Southlands YMCA each Monday and Wednesday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and give yourself a break from summer break.  Cost is only $2 per child.  Each week features themed crafts and activities.  This week you can celebrate stars and stripes!

Aspen Grove shows family films each Wednesday.  Wednesday, June 29 will feature Despicable Me.  Festivities begin at 6 p.m. and show begins at dusk.  Plus, for a limited time, Qdoba will offer a free child’s meal with the purchase of a mango salad.

Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!

Don’t want to miss any of Mile High Mamas’ contests and events? Be sure to sign up for our weekly email newsletter so you can forward these great deals to your friends.

You can also follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out.

Top 10 Things to Do in Frisco, Summit County’s Hidden Gem

With laudable Summit County neighbors such as Vail, Breckenridge and Keystone, the town of Frisco often gets overlooked when, in actuality, we should be putting “Frisco: The Main Street to the Rockies” at the top of our list.

I fell in love with Frisco a couple of years ago when we stayed just a stone’s throw away from the network of bike paths that wind around crystalline Dillon Reservoir. My very best day ever was when I biked with my young kids around the reservoir and stumbled upon the town of Dillon’s charming farmer’s market (Fridays 9 a.m.-2 p.m. through September 2011).

My husband Jamie’s very worst day ever was hauling them in their bike trailer the next day 20 miles round-trip from Frisco to Breckenridge where he attested it was somehow uphill. Both ways.

We all have our moments.

10 Fabulous Things to Do in Frisco

1. The Frisco BBQ Challenge

Last weekend, we hit the Frisco BBQ Challenge. Sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, this meat-lover’s paradise draws top chefs from all over the country. Little Bode devoured a chicken leg as big as his head, Hadley inhaled chocolate-covered bacon and mini-doughnuts and Mama and Papa ate everything else (smoked brisket and pulled pork were the favorites. ) Unique offerings included mac ‘n cheese pulled pork sandwiches, barbecue nachos, a mechanical bull and pig races (our pick Lindsey Lo-HAM was a winner). If you love barbecue and a great time, start planning now for 2012.

2. Biking

My very favorite network of paved, non-motorized paths in Colorado originates in Frisco. With more than 80 miles of trails

Our Brush with Fame (and $25,000) on NBC’s The Marriage Ref

Last night, my husband Jamie and I battled it out over his pumpkins on the premiere of NBC’s The Marriage Ref .

Sadly, we didn’t win. I honestly did not go into it thinking we would but of course, I always hoped because that’s why we did the show. Bills were piling up and my knee surgery keeps getting pushed back. It’s not very often you get a 1 in 3 chance of winning $25,000.

But as the show progressed and the audience and celebrities were very pro-pumpkin, I thought, “We have a real stab at this!”

Oh, how great was our fall.

Some observations:

  • From the offset, Jamie was beloved, I was a fly on the wall and I was perfectly happy about that. I’m usually the one who has the spotlight and it was lovely to see my dear husband shine on a national stage (even if it was regarding my big, orange nemesis). Strangely enough, he talked a lot more than I did during our segment but was edited down for time.
  • Walking across the stage, sitting down and looking at legends Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais and Julianne Moore was almost an out-of-body experience. At one point I asked myself, “Is this really happening,” particularly when Jerry serenaded Jamie with ‘The Pumpkin Man” (to the tune of “The Muffin Man.”)
  • The best line of the night was when Jerry Seinfeld asked Jamie why big pumpkins were so ugly. My hilarious husband responded that it’s not a beauty contest and it’s all about the weight. Some are beautiful orange while others “look a little more British” (and he pointed to Brit Ricky Gervais), to which Ricky responded, “You did not just say that!” The audience went wild and Jamie got one of the biggest laughs of the night.
  • Jamie ended up winning our “argument” but if the celebrities hadn’t been so starstruck by The Great Pumpkin, they would have realized they were siding with me. My whole premise was moderation, not to quit growing. But I guess they thought a vote against The Great Pumpkin would be a vote against mankind.
  • (Backstage with my fellow losers)

  • After the celebrities sided with Jamie, we had a few minutes backstage to work together on Jamie’s closing argument. Our make-up crew was astounded because they’d never seen a couple come together like that before. I harbored no bitterness about the celebrities siding with Jamie–I just wanted the $25,000!
  • The other husbands and I waited just off-stage as Jamie and the two wives gave their closing arguments. The feeling was so electric, the celebrities were so pro-pumpkin that even the man who ended up winning congratulated me prior to when the audience vote was announced.
  • With a build-up like that, when we learned Jamie did not win we weren’t angry, we weren’t sad, we were just in absolute shock.
  • After the announcement, we all came back on stage to meet the celebrities and pose for pictures, something they never stayed around to do. A stage-hand had my camera, missed the group shot and took even worse pictures than I did of the entire team.
  • We drowned our sorrows by hitting Times Square that night. Though we had a good time walking around, we returned to our hotel starving because we didn’t want to pay $15 for a bowl of soup at T. G. I. Fridays. Especially since we’d just lost $25,000. 🙂
  • Even though we didn’t win, are we glad we did it?

    You betcha. I can’t tell you how many friends have contacted me, excited to see us on NBC’s promotional blitz. I’ve worked on news sets for years (I was a broadcast journalism major in college) but this was a completely different experience. The entire process was frenzied, hilarious and fascinating. Getting that kind of access was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

    Well, at least until my favorite show The Amazing Race comes calling…..

    =======

    In case you missed it:

    Battling it Out at Marriage Ref’s Auditions
    Who Was the Rightest of the Right–A behind-the-scenes glimpse at The Marriage Ref
    The Marriage Ref: In Pictures
    The Ambulance, The Woman and The Wardrobe
    The Good Ol’ Boys of Pumpkin Growing

    Also, check-out Jamie’s pumpkin blog at DenverPumpkins.com. He has named his two pumpkins Jerry and Ricky in honor of The Marriage Ref. 🙂