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Help Your Child Cope With Death: Tips From an Expert

Death. This taboo topic is too often pushed aside and disregarded but what happens when you can no longer avoid the inevitable?

My dog Dice has been a loyal family companion for many years, but we recently discovered that he has a rare form of cancer and we will soon have to put him down. Knowing that his days are numbered, I have been contemplating how I will cope with the loss of my furry friend.  Is there a right way to feel? What should I expect?

Even as an adult, I am struggling with the concept of death and this got me thinking. If death is difficult for adults to understand, how do children even begin to comprehend the enormity of death?

The loss of a pet is often a child’s first experience with death, so just how should a parent approach this tough topic?

Nothing to wear? Shop offers a designer dress good for one night

or her 26th birthday, Kellie Hernandez wanted to get all glammed up for a night on the town, but her champagne tastes — designer dresses and professionally styled hair and makeup — didn’t quite square with her modest salary as a medical assistant.

Fortunately, she had an inside line to a modern version of Cinderella’s godmother — her friend Antoinette Sotelo.

Sotelo recently opened Dollhouse Cilhouette, an upscale dress-rental boutique that also offers hair styling and professional makeup for clients. Her business strategy: Why spend $200 or more on a dress you’ll wear once or twice instead of applying that money toward renting a dozen fabulous frocks?

A slim young woman with a keen interest in fashion, Sotelo is a fan of Rent the Runway and similar websites but less enamored of gambling on a gown that might not look as good in person as it did online.

So she looked at the success of

The Best Websites Kids Are Safe To Learn And Have Fun

As the summer winds down and parents focus on enjoying every last warm day outdoors with our kids, it’s hard not to think just a bit about the fall, school and days spent mostly indoors. Internet use for children becomes more frequent during the winter months due to school research and indoor boredom. As parents, most of us are cautious about the places our children visit online. Let’s take a look at some kid-safe sites that are both fun, entertaining and educational. 

I was a free school lunch kid (and does your family qualify?)

Ever since our son Hugo was born, my husband and I talk more about how our families lived when we were young. This month, after volunteering with Lunch Box Express with my Colorado Children’s Campaign colleagues, I shared with him my experience as a child who received free and reduced school lunch, realizing that it could be a young me hanging out in the schoolyard that day eating a healthy meal delivered in an old school bus.

I remember what it feels like to eat at school with a ‘special’ meal card that is different from everyone else’s, the embarrassment of being from a poor family tempered by gratitude for a full stomach. I remember my mom’s persistence in registering us for free/reduced cost school lunch year after year, making sure all the required forms were completed and procedures followed. And now that I’m a parent, I understand how important free school lunch was for our family budget and for

Be a tourist for a day – visit the quintessentially Colorado

In the same way that Parisians may rarely visit the Louvre or New Yorkers deem the Empire State Building essential to the cityscape but rarely visiting its observation deck, far too many Rocky Mountain locals miss the attractions that helped earn our state its “Colorful Colorado” nickname.

Whether you’re a history buff, entertaining out-of- town guests, in need of educational kids activities, or you just want a change of scenery, any one of these nine nearby attractions is a must-see.

A. Denver Mint

Tours are free at this federal coin factory housed in a turn-of-the-century building and responsible for producing roughly half of the U.S. coins in circulation. Tours review the history and technology behind the minting process. Considering the waning popularity of cash over “plastic,” it may be worthwhile to see the Denver Mint before a day when coins become obsolete.

B. Four Mile Historic Park

Barb Gibson, executive director of this historic park 4 miles from downtown Denver on the banks of Cherry Creek, says roughly 50,000 people visit the site each year. They come for special events like “An Affair of the Heart,” a recent program about Franklin D. Roosevelt. They also turn up to survey the area’s oldest structure still standing on its original location, along with “Living History Days” on the second Sunday of each month, in which costumed docents sew, quilt, cook and blacksmith much in the same way they would have 150 years ago.

C. Lakewood Heritage Center

It’s easy to zip past Belmar Park coming or going on

At the Rodeo…

A strong sense of self is an essential preparation for the many obstacles our children will face in their lifetimes. It sparks the development of strong leadership skills and the ability to make a positive impact in other’s lives. I want more than anything for my children to feel abundantly loved and confident so that when they encounter others, the overflow of their hearts can pour out the goodness within.
So what does a strong sense of self have to do with a county fair? Plenty.

Goodbye Dora, Hello iCarly – Out with the Preschooler in with the Tween

My daughters are 6 and 9. They aren’t babies anymore. They aren’t even preschoolers anymore. They are both school age children.

Can you call the extra pounds baby weight when you haven’t been pregnant in this decade…?

Those baby/toddler years sometimes felt like they’d never end. My girls always needed something – a snack, a nap, chill time, a diaper change, help with the potty, a toy, a song, a hug, a snuggle, a drink. It was constant. No rest for the weary.

But now they are older: more capable. The needed snack can be handled on their own. A drink of water, the same. Hugs and snuggles are still needed but not as frequently.

“I’m fine, Mom, let me handle this.”

IKEA Must-haves For Kids

IKEA Centennial opens TODAY and even if you are not already in line, IKEA for kids may be something you want to consider.

I owned a children’s store in NYC that was largely furnished with items from IKEA, plus I lived with my child in a 600 square foot apartment so we regularly used IKEA’s small space sensibility. Here are just a few of the toys and accessories that have withstood the test of time (or at least my three year old) that you may want to check out:

The MALA Easel $14.99 (used to be $24.99)

One side chalkboard, one side dry erase. Purchase the large paper roll for $4.99. There

Make a Splash with Water Gardens on the Cheap!

The sound of water gently trickling into a pond is pure tranquility and absolute beauty. There is something so calming and peaceful about a gentle fountain of water bubbling into a pond filled with green plants and even fish! It’s something you can find only in garden centers and the homes of those with gardeners to care for it, right? Surprise! Anyone can have a water garden in short order and even on a small budget.

Zanza and her husband Harry have three water features in the yard of their Aurora yard with the most expensive and largest pond having cost about $250 in total. Neither one of them set out to have a lavish pond with it’s perceived huge amount of unkeep – especially Harry who came home to find a hole dug in the garden!

Zanza got it in her head one day that a small pond would be a beautiful addition to the garden. Not really knowing the in’s and out’s of the process but with a whole lot of determination she convenience her nephew and his friend to dig the hole. Several hours and a 7-foot deep hole later, Harry came home and knew something was amiss! He told the boys that they weren’t going home until the hole was filled. They filled and he went to Wal-Mart to buy a small pre-formed pond liner.

The pre-formed liner required a hole only a few feet deep. The liner and the pump were purchased new and was the biggest expense of the project. Pumps can be purchased for as little as $30 and go up from there depending on the size of the pond.

Event round-up: Dragon Boat Festival, Buffalo Bill Days & Miners’ Days

Saturday-Sunday. Set sail for Sloan’s Lake for the 11th annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. The celebration of Colorado’s Asian heritage has lots of new activities this year, including a Health and Wellness Village and the ImaginAsian collaborative art project. This year’s theme is “Gambare Japan,” a tribute to the Japanese people after the March earthquake and tsunami. The festival grounds will be decorated in origami cranes and Japanese red, and a Saturday performance of the traditional Obon dance will honor the victims of the March disaster. As always, the Chinese dragon boat races on the lake are a highlight, running throughout the fest. Don’t forget the food, too – in addition to the Taste of Asia vendor area, this year’s fest brings in a variety of food trucks. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Sloan’s Lake Park, 25th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard. Admission is free.

Through Sunday. Golden salutes one of its most famous former residents at Buffalo Bill Days. Anold-fashioned Western shindig, Buffalo Bill Days starts Friday with a free concert by local rockers Chris Daniels and the Kings. The fun starts early on Saturday with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Golden Fire Department at 6 a.m., followed by the Best of the West parade at 10 a.m. After that, it’s good times all weekend: Mutton bustin’, car shows, Old West demonstrations, food, rides and more. Concert begins at 5 p.m. Friday. Parfet Park, 10th Street and Washington Ave., Golden. Festival: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Downtown Golden. Admission is free.

Saturday-Sunday. Nederland celebrates its mining-town past at Miners’ Days, a weekend of contests and community spirit. The festival’s centerpiece is the Miner’s Competition, where men, women and teens test their mining skills in events like spike driving, mucking and jackleg drilling. Younger kids can participate in age-appropriate games like water-balloon throwing, burlap bag races and a gold hunt. Each day begins with a pancake breakfast, plus food vendors, a silent auction and a Saturday parade. It all wraps up with a mighty kids-versus-adults game of tug-of-war on Sunday afternoon. Approximate times: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 8:45a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

Saturday. Join the “Noizemakers” when Doctor Noize plays the Parker Mainstreet Center. Multi-instrumentalist DoctorNoize – a.k.a. Cory Cullinan – plays family friendly rock with an interactive twist: While performing, he records the show live, and invites audience members to sing along and join in the show. His fans, naturally, are the Noizemakers. Based in Lone Tree, Cullinan released his first Doctor Noize album, “The Ballad of Phineas McBoof” in 2010, and tours throughout the United States. 2 p.m. Saturday. Parker Mainstreet Center, 19650 E. Main Street, Parker; 303-805-3364.Tickets are $7.

Saturday-Sunday. Have a historic weekend in Central City during Central City Days. The two-day party combines festival fun with education and art: guided hikes, backcountry mountain biking and geocaching, plus historical tours and casual performances from Central City Opera. Foodies will flock to “foraging” tours and tastings, and a lineup of food trucks will serve up street chow. Times and locations vary; visit for a full schedule. One-day passes are $15 for adults, $10 for kids ages 4 to 12; family four-packs are $45. Two-day and VIP passes available, too. Some tours require reservations – sign up when buying a pass. For more information, call 303-292-6700.

Kathleen St. John