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Denver Offers Fantastic Family Fun in 2012

This is the year Denver tourism goes big. Spurred by solid gains in the past two tough years, the city is busting out in 2012, with celebrations of art, history, animals, presidential contenders, cyclists and collegiate athletes joining the city’s perennial exaltation of beer, snow and sports.

At least a quarter-billion dollars of tourism-friendly projects are unfurling in 2012, led by the $110 million History Colorado Center, the $29 million Clyfford Still Museum and the $50 million Toyota Elephant Passage at the Denver Zoo.

Take the tour. Visit the area’s newest attractions, some brand-new and others improved.

History Colorado Center

Do Tablets and Smartphones Help Kids Learn?

Those of you who love all things tech will know that this week CES International 2012 took place. I was thrilled to be able to attend. Let me just say there are a whole lot of exciting products launching for kids (and moms and dads, too)! I’m still processing all the amazing gadgets I got to try out and learn about, so I’m going to hold off until the next post to give you a thorough look at the hot technology you should know about.

The hidden risks of humidifiers

If you’re like lots of moms, you might put a humidifier in your child’s bedroom with good intentions, like to help him or her breathe easier. However, when used incorrectly, humidifiers may pose a risk to your child’s health.

What are the pros and cons of humidifiers?
Humidifiers can help add moisture to dry living spaces, which can be uncomfortable for children. However, “white dust,” a substance left behind by ultrasonic (or “cool mist”) humidifiers, has been linked to inhalation lung damage in children. This is according to a study by Robin Deterding, MD, professor of pediatrics and Director of the Breathing Institute at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

What does “white dust” do?

Feds: Colorado medical-marijuana dispensaries within 1,000 feet of a school must close

Federal prosecutors announced Thursday a crackdown on medical-marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, the most aggressive law-enforcement action yet against the businesses in the state.

The U.S. Attorney’s office today sent letters to 23 dispensaries located within 1,000 feet of a school. The dispensaries were told they have 45 days to close or face criminal prosecution and forfeiture of property.

“When the voters of Colorado passed the limited medical marijuana amendment in 2000, they could not have anticipated that their vote would be used to justify large marijuana stores located within blocks of our schools,” Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh said in a statement announcing the crackdown.

Colorado law specifies that dispensaries must be at least 1,000 feet from schools but also allows

Our First Temper Tantrum

Oh, the ever-changing world of toddlerhood.

One minute, you think you’ve finally grasped the complexities, and the next minute, everything changes.

Yesterday was not a fun day. We were at the park on a playdate with our friends, and suddenly, I started feeling really sick to my stomach. I mumbled a few words and headed to the car, calmly talking to my toddler to avoid a meltdown.

On average: How often do you brush your teeth, change your sheets, talk to your parents?

From brushing teeth to changing the sheets to washing the car, we all have varying frequencies for the necessities in life.

This week, we took a look at the norm for some of life’s “musts.”

The percentages listed are based on the results of an unofficial online poll on the On the Edge blog on Timesunion.com.

How often do you brush your teeth?

Twice a day — morning and night (66 percent)

Once a day — the morning is more than sufficient (27 percent)

Every time I eat (7 percent)

Fact: Nationally, the average is 1.1 times/day, according Dr. Harold Katz, founder of The California Breath Clinics who has done extensive research into oral hygiene.

How often do you change the sheets on your bed?

Life-Insurance: Do You Know the Value…of YOU?

How many of you, when it comes to talking about life-insurance with your spouse, have said one of the following statements?

It’ll never happen to us. 

We’re too young!

We take care of ourselves…heck we run every day!

We’ll sign up for it later.  There’s no rush.

Kid’s Winter Gear Roundup…WIN Obermeyer Ski Coat/Pants & Name Bubbles!

Whether you’re hitting the slopes this winter or building snowmen in your backyard, you are going to want to bundle up – and with these top winter gear picks, your kids will be properly protected AND in great style!

Obermeyer  – Clothes That Grow!

(photo: Sheer Bliss Coat in Anthracite)

Obermeyer’s novel “I-Grow” System allows for your children’s winter wardrobe to grow right along with them. It is one of the most brilliant l ideas I have come across in my search for epic winter wear. Simply snip the colored thread at the wrists and ankles to extend the length up to two inches, allowing for an extra season (or two!). High waters will be a thing of the past with this original design. Another ingenious devise by Obermeyer – the “goodie pocket,” perfect for a healthy snack when you are too busy having fun to take a break…a favorite pick at our house: organic Wacky Apple fruit leather.

Event round-up: Stock Show, Oatmeal Festival & More!

Through Jan. 22. Get on your boots: The second weekend of the National Western Stock Show begins today. After hitting its second-highest-ever opening day attendance figures on Jan. 7, the Stock Show lures spectators with rodeos aplenty in the coming week. Daily ProRodeo events with matinee and evening showtimes keep the action coming, including lots of mutton-bustin’ for courageous youngsters. Monday also brings the Martin Luther King, Jr. African-American Heritage Rodeo of Champions, starring black cowboys and cowgirls in a variety of contests. Fans of traditional English riding aren’t left out, either: Tonight, the Gambler’s Choice Open Jumper Stake features show jumpers in a “rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere,” followed by the jumpers’ Grand Prix on Monday. The “Wild West Show,” on Saturday and Sunday, and “Evening of Dancing Horses” performances Wednesday and Thursday round out the equestrian excitement. The 9News Super Dogs shows, on Monday and Tuesday, are kid-friendly displays of dog agility, with pooches of all different breeds and sizes jumping, scampering and showing off for the crowd. Of course, part of the fun at the Stock Show is wandering through the exhibit halls and taking it all in: the livestock on display and in competition, the vendors peddling their wares, the Coors Western Art Exhibit and Sale. Kids can join in fun activities, too, like going backstage with a rodeo clown, petting cute critters and riding in stick-horse rodeos. Daily through Jan. 22. National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt St.; 303-297-1166. Grounds admission is $8-$14 for adults, $2-$3 for children ages 3 to 11. Prices vary by day. Separate tickets are required for special events. Tickets are available at the door, at nationalwestern.com, by phone at 888-551-5004, or at King Soopers locations.

Through Sunday. Can’t make it to the Stock Show? Get a fix of horse-y fun at the Big Thunder Draft Horse Show in Loveland. The annual festival of huge horses includes three days of contests, with national and local teams rumbling through Budweiser Events Center. Percherons, Clydesdales, Belgians, Shires—the big breeds will be in attendance, competing in different classes and hitches. Serious fans can purchase three-day passes for $30. 6:30 p.m. tonight, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Budweiser Events Center, 5290 Arena Circle, Loveland; 970-619-4100. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for children. Buy tickets in advance by calling the BEC; tickets will also be available at the door. bigthundershow.com

Through Monday. Cold weather is no reason to stay inside. Celebrate the season at the Estes Park Winter Festival. The party starts tonight with a free Ceilidh Barn Dance inside the pavilion at Stanley Park. Pronounced “kay-lee,” the Ceilidh is a Celtic hoedown with music, storytelling, snacks and more. On Saturday and Sunday, revelers can gather in Stanley Park for live music, shopping, a chili cookoff and an interactive ice castle complete with an ice maze, slide and other frozen fun. As part of Winter Trails Day, the Winter Festival also includes free snowshoe demos on Saturday in Rocky Mountain National Park—which is waiving entrance fees for the Martin Luther King Day weekend. Times and locations of activities vary; visit estesparkwinterfestival.com for details. Admission to Saturday and Sunday’s events at Stanley Park is $5, with fees for some additional activities, like wine tastings and carriage rides.

Saturday. Oatmeal is a longtime breakfast favorite, and the city of Lafayette wants to throw it a party. The 16th annual Lafayette Quaker Oatmeal Festival is a full-on fiesta for the early-morning staple, with a morning’s worth of activities dedicated to the stuff. The highlight is a huge oatmeal breakfast that features a massive toppings bar for the ultimate, customized bowl of oatmeal. Other events include a health fair, the “Quicker Quaker” 5K walk/run and, most deliciously, an oatmeal-themed baking contest. 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Breakfast served at Pioneer Elementary School, 101 E. Baseline Road, Lafayette. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for youth ages 3 to 12 and seniors age 60 and older. Visit lafayettecolorado.com for a full list of event times and locations.

Kathleen St. John

Loveland girl’s heart pounded “a million miles an hour” when she met Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow

A letter to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow’s Wish 15 program pushed a 16-year-old Loveland girl to the front of a long line of young women whose hearts flutter at the idea of spending a little time with the star player.

On Thursday, Bailey Knaub learned she’d get to spend time with Tebow and his family before and after the AFC wild-card playoff game Sunday.

“He’s been my favorite since he was in college. He’s such an inspiration, such a strong Christian,” said Bailey. “I was very nervous. My heart was going a million miles an hour. I was trying not to to squeal like a little fan girl.”

Tebow mentioned Bailey, a junior at Thompson Valley High School in Loveland, during his post-game remarks Sunday night, noting that the big overtime win against the Pittsburgh Steelers​ paled in significance when compared to the health struggles she has faced.