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Cheers to Oktoberfest

With a name like Gretchen Yoder, I’m pretty sure it is no surprise that I have gone to more than my fair share of Oktoberfest celebrations. While most people believe that these parties are for beer swelling adults, I must say that the mountain towns are doing a fantastic job of making the parties family friendly. If you are looking for something to do on your way to oooh and aaahhh over the fall foliage – check out one of these Oktoberfest celebrations. Prost!

Beaver Creek: September 3-4, 2011 Beaver Creek gives you the first “taste” of Oktoberfest beer and fun. Feel free to dance along with the oom-pah-pah band, indulge in beer and brats. Join in the fun.

Breckenridge: Breckenridge transforms into Mini-Munich September 16-18, 2011. The festivities include a main-street party, gourmet multi-course meals, oompah music, polka dancing, Bavarian dancers, and beer. There are also activities for kids to enjoy and learn more about German culture.

Denver: The festival has truly become a Denver mainstay, offering German attractions, music from national touring groups, performances by international dancers, children’s activities, heritage booths selling German goods, splendid décor, an accordion concert, traditional Biergartens and authentic cuisine. The festival goes two weekends September 16-18, 2011 and September 23-25, 2011.

Aboard the Royal Gorge Route Railroad: September 16th through October 9th, 2011 daily on our 12:30 PM departure to celebrate Oktoberfest! In addition to our regular lunch menu, we’re adding a special Oktoberfest option including traditional German meal that consists of Baby Green Salad, veal Bratwurst with Mustard Spaetzle,Braised Red Cabbage & Apples, Black Forest Cake for dessert. Choose “Oktoberfest Entree” when making your entree selection. Lunch also includes a logo pint glass

Steamboat Springs: Steamboat calls their Oktoberfest – Octoberwest. Anything you call it sounds like fun. The event features music, food, beer, games and activities for kids and adults, chef competition and much more. No German beer here, just good ol’ Rocky Mountain beer, food and festivities.

Vail:The town will toast two different celebrations – Sept. 9-11, 2011 in Lionshead and Sept. 16-18, 2011 in Vail Village. Oktoberfest 2011 will see the return of many crowd favorites like bratwurst eating contests, Beck’s Keg Bowling and the Oktoberfest Fun Run. Plus, delight in the sounds of Vail’s own Helmut Fricker playing the accordian and alpenhorn in full traditional German attire!  A crowd favorite for years and not to be missed.

Email me if you know of any great Events or Denver deals! You can also follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).

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Grandparents as Daycare – How to Maintain Your Relationship While Sharing the Care of Your Kids

Are you a mom who has a job outside the home? What do you do when you are a professional with outside responsibilities as well as a mother? If you are considering asking your parents or in-laws to help with the childcare, make sure you think it through and discuss it before taking the leap.

I made the decision to work part time and mother full time when my first was born. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I wanted to stay active in my career while also taking care of my baby. You could say I was trying to have it all.

While I was pregnant, I visited several daycare centers. One was beautiful, clean and staffed with grandmothers. Problem – it cost more than my mortgage, more than I made a month working part time. Another had a “baby room” which had cribs lined in rows. One end of the crib was cutout and filled with plexiglass so the care provider could keep an eye on the babies from the rocking chair in the back. They could only feed one at a time. There were babies crawling on the floor, babies lying in cribs. It was a scene straight out of Raising Arizona. I left in tears.

It’s Fall Festival Time! WIN 6 TICKETS TO MILE HIGH FARMS!


Surprise! Tomorrow is September! Where did the summer go? Here comes a new season and a whole lot of new fun to be had! There’s a new Fall Festival destination in town, a new place to create new traditions with all the fun of pumpkins and corn mazes and a haunted hay ride! Oh My! And you can win 6 passes!

Mile High Farms in Bennett is gearing up for its Grand Opening Saturday, September 10! Here’s your chance to win 6 free passes for your family to enjoy all the fun!

Event Round-Up: A Taste of Colorado, Mount Evans & More!

This Friday through Monday. Bring an appetite—for everything—to the 27th annual A Taste of Colorado. The summer-ending smorgasbord features dozens of styles of cuisine from nearly 60 restaurants, all peddling their wares in Civic Center Park. There’s something for every taste, from high-end treats by the Ritz-Carlton to good, old-fashioned barbecue. Choose your own culinary adventure: Do a “tasting menu” of sorts and try sample-size bites, or fill your belly with full-sized portions. Budding gourmands can pick up tips from top local chefs, too, in the Culinary Showcase tent. Food isn’t the only attraction at the Taste, of course. Four stages of live music will keep the park rockin’ all day long—just like the food, there’s a little something for everyone. Mainstage acts include Asia featuring John Payne, The Neville Brothers, Herman’s Hermits, David Nail, Boyz II Men and Blood Sweat and Tears. Side stages add even more variety with country, jazz, blues, rock, taiko drumming, Latino musicians and dancers, too. With bellies full and music accompanying, shoppers can stroll a vendor marketplace and kids can get their kicks in the carnival area. A special “KidzStage” will present lots of family entertainment, as well: magicians, clowns, puppets and even a pizza-tossing demonstration. 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. today, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday. Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue. Admission is free. Food and activities are on a ticket system; strips of 15 tickets are $10.

Saturday-Monday. The sky above Colorado Springs will be especially colorful during the Colorado Balloon Classic. The 35th annual festival attracts hot-air balloon fanatics from all over the Rocky Mountain region for three days of fun. Each morning begins with a mass ascension of balloons, complete with live music and concessions. In the evening, the balloonists gather again for more food, music and a “BalloonGlo”: The balloons are inflated on the ground, with their colors illuminated in the darkness. 6-9:30 a.m. and 5-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 6-9:30 a.m. Monday. Memorial Community Park, 1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave., Colorado Springs. Admission is free.

Until Tuesday. Labor Day weekend marks the last chance to reach the peak of Mount Evans—the top portion of the road is scheduled to close in the early morning hours on Tuesday. The highest paved road in North America winds its way up to 14,230 feet above sea level, with lots of spectacular scenery along the way. After Tuesday morning the uppermost portion of the drive, from Summit Lake to the actual summit, will be closed for the winter. The rest of the road from Summit Lake down will remain open until the first snowfall, or Oct. 1, whichever comes first. Admission is $10 per vehicle, with higher rates for vehicles with 13 or more passengers. Motorcycles, bicycles and hikers are $3. Call the Clear Creek Forest Service station at 303-567-3000 for more details.

Sunday. Say a fond farewell to summer with a blast of fireworks at Elitch’s season-end fireworks display. The park promises “the biggest and brightest display in the park’s arsenal” for its final “IGNIGHT” show. This weekend also marks the end of Elitch’s summer season—from now through the park’s closing on Oct. 31, it’s only open on weekends (with a few exceptions). The water park is closed for the year after Monday, too. Next up for fall: The Halloween-themed Fright Fest, beginning Oct. 1. 9 p.m. Sunday. Elitch Gardens, 2000 Elitch Circle; 303-595-4FUN. Fireworks show included with park admission: $42.95 for adults 48 inches and taller; $29.99 for seniors and kids under 48 inches. Save money by buying online at

Kathleen St. John

8 Quirks of the New Kindergartner

It doesn’t matter if your kindergartner goes to school half-days or full days. It doesn’t matter if they went to preschool for 2 years or it’s their first school experience. The transition can be difficult, baffling, but fun. Our sixth child, Beatrix, just started kindergarten two weeks ago. Thankfully, I know some of the issues that are cropping up are normal and not surprising.

1. Extreme Talkativeness: Your kindy kiddo might come home bursting with the news of the day. From the moment he enters the classroom to when he exits the building for the day, amazing things are happening. Letting him talk it out is the best way to help them process everything new. And it will lead to…

2. Serious Fatigue: Beatrix hasn’t been this tired since she was a toddler. Kindergarten 2011 is busy and more demanding than our kindergarten experiences. I went to half-day, she goes all day. I spent my days playing in an indoor sandbox or with the classroom dollhouse. She tackles subjects I didn’t until 1st grade. The good news is that within a few weeks, fatigue starts to fade.

3. Extra Clinginess: Most kindergartners are fine

How your children’s stuffed animals can provide comfort to traumatized kids around the world

One day before a 7.0 earthquake laid waste to Haiti last year, a shipment of humanitarian aid, including 450 stuffed animals, cleared customs in Port-au-Prince.

Pure coincidence, but the timing couldn’t have been better, says Wendy Clark, the Littleton woman who founded Loving Hugs Inc., the Colorado nonprofit organization that sent the toys.

During the earthquake’s aftermath, as adult attention focused on food, shelter and clean water, members of the U.S. military and aid workers handed out the toys to frightened children.

As Clark knows, there is some measure of comfort in a

Denver Deal: SkiRex, Sniagrab, Consignment Sales, Taste of Colorado & more

From sales to events this weekend is packed full with fun stuff going on in the Mile High City. Visit the Taste of Colorado, see a concert at Red Rocks (will I see you at Zac Brown Band?), take one last summer trip to the mountains, shop until you drop at the Mile High Marketplace or the many consignment sales. Regardless of what makes you really happy, there are enough deals out there you are sure to find something to enjoy.

Ski Sales

The annual sales for ski and snowboard equipment at Sniagrab (at Sports Authority) and Ski Rex (at Colorado Ski & Golf) are sure to have enough great deals to get you and the family (maybe even the whole neighborhood) ready for the snow. Not only can you snag a great deal on equipment but you can also get a great deal on passes as well (Echo Mountain is only $159 – for the whole season!).

SNIAGRAB (bargains spelled backwards) is considered the world’s largest ski and snow sale with deals on the best equipment and apparel at 75% off original prices. The unique event started in Denver over 57 years ago and has grown larger and more popular every year since. This year, they are planning on the biggest and best event in our history with additional family events, exciting giveaways and unbelievable prizes.

Ski Rex

What are your plans for Labor Day weekend?  Ski Rex at the Colorado Ski & Golf Aurora location will be in full swing with great deals.  SKI REX is also the place for parents to snag the single best deal anywhere in Colorado for equipment for kids ages 4-18 with the Junior Trade-In program.  This budget-friendly ski/board exchange program has been available for more than 25 years and was created to insure that children’s ski equipment remains affordable as they grow up—even for families on a tight budget.  A complete set of used equipment is available for $99.99 and includes skis, boots, bindings and a safety binding check.  Equipment can be returned the following year by March 31 and parents can refit their kids into a different set of used equipment for the next season.  The net cost per child after the first year is $49.99 per year!  The Junior Trade-In is also offered on new equipment with setups starting at $199.99. If the equipment is returned by March 31 the following year, a 50 percent discount is given for the next year’s equipment–$99.99/year after the first year!  If the kids don’t grow that much or love their current equipment, they can keep it for two years and return it for a 30 percent discount after two seasons.  A similar deal is available for snowboarders with a slightly higher rate for used equipment–$99.99 for a full snowboard setup that includes boots and deck.

Goodness Knows
Both the kids and I love these little squares of deliciousness!  They are kind of like a granola bar – only much better. They have tangy fruits, crunchy nuts, toasty grains, and deep chocolate! Plus, Denver is the first in the whole country to have them right now! I love to be on the cutting edge. Krista Sutter, from the Bachlorette will be at Belly Bliss (300 Josephine Street) as a promotion with Goodness Knows on Aug 31 from 12p-1p along with a nutritional chat!
Papa Murphy’s
Papa Murphy’s is celebrating Customer Appreciation Days August 29-31 with $4 large pepperoni pizza’s. No coupon required!
Denver Art Museum
Denver Art Museum free day, September 3 presents Marvelous Mud exploring clay around the world.
Ringling Bros.  and Barnum &  Bailey presents Fully Charged! at the Coliseum Sept 29-October 9. KIDS TICKETS ONLY $10 for all performances! (Excludes VIP seating. Kids 2-12. Limit 4 kids’ tickets per 1 Adult ticket.).Enter the code: FFAKID at: to get kids’ tickets for only $10. (Valid on all performances; excludes VIP seating; additional fees may apply. Limit 4 kids tickets per 1 adult ticket.). Plus, your ticket is also your entry to the Ringling Bros. Animal Open House SM 90 minutes before show time and the FREE All Access Pre-show 60 minutes before the show where you can meet the stars of The Greatest Show On Earth®.
Consignment Sales
It is that time of year again for great consignment sales. If you know of one shoot us a line.Children’s Consignment Sales. Thousands of shoppers find bargains on kids’ clothing for newborn-preteen, toys, strollers, furniture, baby equipment, books, shoes, maternity items and more…all at 50-90% below retail.
  • Twice as Nice Kids (10050 Ralston Road #G, Arvada, Colorado 80004 (62nd & Kipling) 303-425-KIDS (5437) is having a Labor Day weekend sale. Summer clothes are 75% off and some clothes as little as 50 cents!
  • Sept 2-5
    Just Between Friends of Douglas County. Friday 9a–6p.; Saturday 9a–5p, Sunday 10a-5p (25% off day) ,
    Monday 9a-3p (Half Price Sale). $2 admission all days at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock.

 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.

Why I was blamed when my child went missing

On Friday, my 7-year-old daughter did not come home on the bus as expected.

In a frenzy, I tore over to her school and was terrified when the staff was unable to locate her. “Haddie’s teacher said she got on a bus but we’re not sure which one,” they assured me.

As I was conjuring up every worse-case scenario in the book, they located her on the same bus she rides in the morning, which is different than her afternoon bus. Call me crazy but switching up the route…and bus number…is confusing for young kids.

And mortified parents.

I posted my angst to my friends on Facebook and while most were sympathetic, some of my closer friends blamed me,

Disney goes Hawaiian at New Beachside Resort

Aloha, Disney! The Walt Disney Co.’s new upscale, beachside Hawaiian resort Aulani opens Monday, thousands of miles from the nearest Disney theme park. And while Mickey Mouse​ and friends can be found on the property, Hawaii’s culture, history and natural beauty are the biggest stars.

“The resort is not a replication of any of our theme parks. We know if guests want to go to Disneyland, they’ll go to Disneyland,” said Djuan Rivers, a Disney vice president who oversees the resort. “Our guests are coming here first and foremost for Hawaii and everything Hawaii has to offer.” Joe Rohde, head of Aulani’s creative team, grew up in Honolulu and said “we made a choice early on to really, really focus on Hawaiian culture as a defining element of Aulani.” Aulani is located on the west side of Oahu, about an hour’s drive from Waikiki. The sprawling 840-unit resort is the first major Disney property to offer a mix of regular hotel rooms and Disney Vacation Club time shares away from a theme park.

How Homebound Services Could Help Your Child

Life sometimes gets in the way, as I’m sure most of you are aware of. But when it comes to a child’s education, removing roadblocks is a necessity.

When my 6-year-old brother Simon was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on June 16, 2011, our family had to adjust to a new “normal.” With countless doses of chemotherapy and a steady stream of medications, Simon’s life, as well our families lives, changed drastically in a short period of time.

Due to Simon’s recent medical issues, he was not able to start school as scheduled. For Simon, school was one of his favorite times of day, and this year he was set to start 1st grade.