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Is Proposition 103 Good Enough for Your Kids? (And Why You Should Care)

This November, Colorado voters will have the chance to stop additional cuts to Colorado’s schools and to start reinvesting in our kids. Proposition 103 is a simple proposal that offers a five-year time out from school cuts by going back to the sales and income tax rates that Colorado had throughout the 1990s. All new revenue – about $536 million a year – would be directed to preschool, K-12 education and higher education. And, after five years, the tax rates would return to current levels.

Asking families to increase their taxes during a recession seems like a bad idea. I know most of my friends and neighbors are already struggling to make ends meet as it is. However, allowing drastic education cuts to continue and asking kids to bear the burden of our current budget problems is a much worse idea. Colorado already ranks 49th in the nation in state spending on K-12 education and spends, on average, $2,079 less per pupil than the national average.

Through community outreach with

Denver’s Live Theater and Music Performances Your Family Will Love

Fall has arrived and Halloween is right around the corner. But did you know that this time of year is also prime time for children’s theater and music? My husband and I fell in love with live theater the year we lived in New York, and we feel so fortunate to have an abundance of opportunities to share this with our children. One of our favorite venues is Heritage Square Music Hall in Golden.

Heritage Square Music Hall has been entertaining audiences for more than 20 years. Children’s productions are geared toward kids as young as 3 years old. The shows are performed by professional adult actors and generally last about an hour. Each production is highly interactive with lots of audience participation, and children are often invited onstage to play certain roles. From now through November 5, Alice in Wonderland is the featured children’s show. My boys and I attended in September and we all thoroughly enjoyed the silliness of the show!

Performances take place each Saturday at 1:30 PM, with an occasional additional performance at 3:00. Tickets are just $6 per person, and seating is reserved.

Heritage Square Music Hall also offers year-round dinner melodrama theater featuring an extensive buffet (a new chef arrived a couple of years ago and the food is delicious!) and a family-friendly comedy followed by a musical and comedy revue. Dinner and a show can last four hours or more. Now showing is a comic adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Here’s a list of some other

Elitch Gardens’ Fright Fest Happenings (and win tickets for your family!)


As Denver’s largest Halloween event, Elitch Gardens’ Fright Fest is both family-friendly by day and terrifying at night.

October 1-31, Elitch Gardens transforms from theme park to “scream” park. New this year are haunted residences that are unlikely to appear on
Denver’s Parade of Homes.

Unless it’s the haunted kind.

For the little boos, “Family by Day”

Event round-up: Cider Days, Ringling Bros. & More!

Saturday-Sunday. Guzzle down some fall fun at the 36th annual Lakewood Cider Days at Lakewood’s Heritage Center. Apples and apple cider are the stars of the day, of course: Apple presses will be everywhere to convert apples into sweet cider—bring your own or purchase apples onsite. The fest is full of autumn amusements, too, like hayrides, a vintage tractor pull, an apple bake-off and arts and crafts booths. Take a tour of the Heritage Center’s historic buildings, too, and jam out to live music. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Lakewood’s Heritage Center, 801 S. Yarrow St., Lakewood. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for children.

Through Sunday. This weekend’s the last chance to get dirty at the Denver Art Museum—the museum’s family friendly Mud Studio closes after Sunday. The activity area is a holdover from the summer’s “Marvelous Mud” exhibit, and lets kids try creating with clay: see artist demonstrations, try out a pottery wheel and make clay crafts with your hands. As an added bonus, museum admission is free on Saturday for Colorado residents. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Avenue Pkwy.; 720-865-5000. Admission is $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, $5 for youth ages 6 to 18. Colorado residents receive a discount.

Saturday. The town of Penrose, west of Pueblo, celebrates the apple harvest with Apple Day, a 75-year annual tradition. The day starts with breakfasts served by the local VFW and Volunteer Fire Department, followed by a full schedule of activities. Sign up for a fun run at Penrose Elementary, pick out a prime spot for the 11 a.m. parade or browse the library book fair—and that’s just before noon. There’s also live music, an antique show, a craft fair and lots of tasty food. Stop by the pie tent after the apple pie contest for a free slice of pie. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Downtown Penrose. Admission is free.

Through Oct. 9. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus is amped up in its latest show, “Fully Charged,” at the Denver Coliseum. The emphasis is on big thrills this time around, featuring a full lineup of daredevils and death-defying stunts. Watch out for “The Human Fuse,” a duo of Ukrainian strongmen, Tabayara the tiger tamer and the flying Fernandez Brothers. Early birds can get a sneak peek behind the scenes at the “Power Up” preshow party and animal open house, too—both events are free to ticketholders. 7 p.m. tonight; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Future times vary. Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt St.; 720-865-2475. Tickets are $15.50-$80.50 for adults, $10-$80.50 for kids. Buy tickets at or call 800-745-3000.

Through Oct. 31. Starting Saturday, Elitch Gardens transforms into a giant haunted house for Fright Fest. During daylight hours on Saturdays and Sundays the park’s thrills will be at kid-friendly levels, with a lights-on haunted house, costume contests, trick-or-treating and a special “Gross Out!” show. After dark, Fridays through Sundays, things turn sinister: “Fright By Night” takes over the park, featuring four full-on haunted houses, including “Brutal Planet,” “Blood Bath” and “Grind House.” Elitch’s rides will continue operating throughout Fright Fest. 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 9 p.m. Sundays. Elitch Gardens, 2000 Elitch Circle; 303-595-4FUN. Admission is $37.99 for guests 48 inches tall and over, $27.99 for guests under 48 inches or over 62 years old. Kids age 3 and younger are free.

Kathleen St. John

Bubbling, Burping Halloween Science – Win an Ultimate Dry Ice Kit

It’s almost October and my favorite time of year is just around the corner…Halloween. I can do without the gore, the tombstones, the skeletons, but I love making bubbling, smoky concoctions. That makes me the most popular room mom in the school.

If you are looking for the perfect Halloween kit to share with your kids’ teachers and bring into the classroom, the new Ultimate Dry Ice Kit is for you.

This kit will teach the different phases of water, carbon dioxide, chemistry and a little bit about sublimation.

Zzzz. Are you bored? This kit will get the kids excited and begging to get up close. I’ve experienced shouts of, “Me too! do it to me!” and “Can I do it again and again?”

How Do You Teach Your Child About Disabilities?

I have had a rough year. Health-wise.

I was in danger of losing my eyesight in January. I broke my finger in July. But, most of all, this year has been eclipsed by a strain of bacteria that invaded my ear during SXSW Interactive in March. Invasive Group A Streptococcus to be specific. The bacteria that killed Jim Henson, and without sounding too dramatic about it, almost killed me.

I spent 5 days in the hospital in Austin, had surgery there to avoid my ear from exploding into my brain. (I am not joking about this. I wish I were.) Feel behind your ear. There is a bone there that is a honeycomb called the mastoid process, which ventilates the ear and is very fragile. A strong infection like Strep A can bust though that like paper.

Lucky for me,

Denver Deal: Kids Ski Deals, Halloween Happenings & Refuge Day

Do you have some great suggestions on where to get a Halloween costume and not pay a ton for it? We are already seeing some fun events for Halloween. If you know of any please send them our direction. And if you are looking for something fun to do for the next few weeks – keep reading!

Denver Art Museum Free Day

The Denver Art Museum is offer a free day on October 1, 2011 as part of the Scientific Cultural and Facilities District.

Colorado Ski Country 5th and 6th Grade Passport

Every child who lives in Colorado has the opportunity to learn how to ski or snowboard with the  Colorado Ski Country USA 5th & 6th Grade Passport program! The 5th Grade Passport is FREE! It includes 3 days of skiing/boarding at each of the 21 member resorts (INCLUDING Echo Mountain, Winter Park, Steamboat Springs, Crested Butte, Araphahoe Basin, Aspen, Eldora more!) The 6th Grade Passport is just $99 (they get an extra day at each resort)! Plus, many of the resorts include great deals for parents and other family who might be interested in joining their child on the slopes.
School of Shred
Vail Resorts offers their own version of the 5th grade passport with the School of Shred. The 11/12 School of Shred program provides 4 FREE days of skiing or riding at each of the state’s top-ranked resorts Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin for all Colorado fifth and sixth grade students who register by November 6, 2011. Returning this year, the School of Shred pass included one complimentary first-timer ski lesson and rental equipment for pass holders (Arapahoe Basin excluded). Lessons and rentals were provided from 11/28/11-12/18/11, as well as during the entire month of January as a part of “Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month”.

Halloween Activities

I am all for the kids getting full use of the costumes I pay so much for – so it is great when we can find Halloween Happenings that go on all month long! The annual fun at the Corn Maze at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield (8500 Deer Creek Road) is always a fun place to get lost. (And yes, it took me what felt like a whole day to get out last year!)  Set your “ghost-radar app” on your iPhone for fun at the Brown Palace Ghost Tour. Take the kids on a historical adventure that talks about the storied guests (including the Stock Show Steer that takes up residence in the lobby). Reinke Bros Haunted Mansion opens on Oct 3 with the Annual Zombie Crawl through downtown Littleton. The Four Mile Historic Park hosts the Pumpkin Harvest Festival on October 1 & 2 with county fair, pumpkin patch, old time music and more. For other great Halloween events visit

IHOP (International House of Pancakes) is celebrating Halloween all month with Pumpkin pancakes, Funny Face Pancake turns scary with “design-your-own” Scary Face Pancake for kids 12 and under (Count Spatula) and then on October 28 kids will be treated to a FREE Scary Face pancake!

Lesson Up

We have all seen the Groupons and Living Social deals. But here is perhaps one of the best ones I have seen for parents. It’s called Lesson Up.  Where all those enrichment and lessons for kids are at a discounted rate!


Kids are not the only one who need a bit of “enrichment”. I have discovered a fantastic new website that will help me grow as a parent, professional and as a person as a whole! allows you to help define and develop the parts of your life that are most important to you – and it all feels like a game! Check it out and let me know what you think!

Refuge Day

Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge at its free, annual Refuge Day celebration on October 15, 2011, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The day will feature activities, tours and exhibits, scavenger hunt, as well as arts and crafts. The Refuge is is located at 6550 Gateway Road.


Are you looking for a fun date night deal or information about clinics and information sessions just for parents? We are happy to share a couple great things going on in the next few weeks!

Rodizio Grill

As part of a “tweet up” I was lucky enought to try chicken hearts, wild boar, yak and rattlesnake! You can try them too at the Rodizio Grill for a limited time!

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.

Could delaying kindergarten be a detriment to your child?

Last year, I wrote about the kindergarten dilemma. Mainly, whether I should enroll my son on time or hold him back a year so he would be one of the oldest vs. youngest in class. It was one of our most highly-debated posts ever.

In the end, I enrolled him.

I have not regretted my decision. While it is still early in the school year, I am thrilled with how well he has adapted. He enjoys his peers, is reading at an advanced level and his writing/fine motor skills are growing leaps and bounds every day (which was my main concern). Much to my relief, I feel confident I made the correct decision for him because he is thriving.

I always felt unsettled about holding him back because his preschool teachers confirmed what I already knew: he was socially, emotionally and academically ready. While I understand parents wanting their child to be the oldest, biggest and smartest, for me it felt like an unfair (and unnecessary) advantage and that I would be doing him a disservice by delaying him a year.

Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt published an article at The New York Times alleging this strategy of “redshirting” (delaying school) is actually counterproductive.

Boo-tiful places to buy Halloween costumes in Denver

Does last year’s Halloween costume in your child’s closet seem wasted? Finding the right costume is crucial to your child’s trick-or-treating experience. Most of us would love to buy new but why not help the environment and go green this Halloween (and save some green!) Here are several different options to buy gently-used or new Halloween costumes in the Denver area.


  • Don’t be scared by the high price of costumes. Be sure to take part in the 1st Annual Costume Swap in Broomfield October 5-7. Go to their Web site for drop-off and sale details.
  • Whether you’re
  • Car seat 101: Everything you should know from birth to age 12

    According to NHTSA, three out of four car seats aren’t installed and used correctly. As a Child Child Passenger Safety Technician at Stan’s Automotive in Lafayette, I work with parents every day helping them choose the right seat for their child, and install it properly.

    So how DO you know which car seat to choose? The answer is simple: the very best car seat for your child is the one that fits your child, fits your vehicle, and is easy to use correctly every single time. Getting to that particular seat can be a little more challenging, though!

    From birth until about age 12, kids go through these four stages in the vehicle: