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Halloween recipes: Edible swamp, bones and mud

Party food should to be easy. You are, after all, having a party to have a good time, right?

That’s why we assembled these easy Halloween party dishes. Not only are they simple to assemble, they also require little planning and help keep the mood light and festive.

We started off with the dip. It’s nice if not everything on Halloween revolves around sugar. Equally at home with a platter of vegetables or chips and pretzels, this avocado and cream cheese-based dip will appeal to kids and adults. Plus, Halloween is one of the few times of the year where food doesn’t need to look pretty.

For something bready, we went with frozen puff pastry formed into “bones.” Puff pastry is a cinch to work with. You’ll find it in the grocer’s freezer section. Each package contains two sheets. Simply thaw according to package directions, then unfold, slice, season and bake. And feel free to play around with the spices we suggest, swapping in Italian seasoning, chili powder or even curry powder for the Old Bay seasoning.

For a sweet touch, we went with pots of dirt. Or rather, peanut butter and hot fudge blended with a few other tasty ingredients to resemble dirt.

Halloween Recipes

Toms Urban 24: Larimer Square’s Newest, Hippest 24-hour Restaurant

While the rest of the world is focusing on trick-or-treating, Denver’s newest, coolest eaterie Toms Urban 24 is opening at Larimer Square today. I was recently invited for a preview breakfast so I forwarded the invitation to my husband, Jamie. His response: “YESYESYESYSYEYSEYSEYSEYSEYSEYES.”

But then I realized the time conflicted with dropping off my daughter for school so the event coordinator instead invited us for lunch from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Hadley gets out of school at 1:30 p.m. on Fridays.

That girl is wreaking havoc on my foodie fixes.

We made it work and I’m so glad we went because we got a sampling of what is assuredly to become one of Denver’s hippest restaurants, which offers modern comfort food with an urban twist. What really sets it apart from other great eateries is

Parents on high alert this Halloween after Jessica Ridgeway murder (and tips for a safe Halloween)

On Halloween, hyper-vigilance will be as abundant as candy and costumes in the aftermath of the abduction and slaying of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.

Relief followed the arrest of 17-year-old Austin Sigg in connection with her death, but most adults — parents and community leaders — remain on high alert as Oct. 31 approaches. Along with fears of copycat crime and stranger danger, there is new awareness that even trusted neighborhood kids may be masking dark and twisted urges.

As the annual fright fest rolls around, schools and churches are beefing up security or Halloween festivals, adding police presence and better lighting or moving activities from outdoors to indoors. Some parents will no longer let their kids trick-or-treat after dark. Others are trying new things, such as progressive parties among neighborhood families.

Denver Deal: Denver Arts Week, Halloween Meals & Ski Expo

I’m so very excited that Keystone will open the slopes for the season this weekend! I love getting going to the slopes – but, I am frugal. I don’t always love to spend the money on snacks on the mountain. (And honestly, much of it is not necessarily all that healthy). So my secret weapon is that I stuff my pockets (and my kids pockets) with Goodness Knows Bars. The bars are so yummy. With just a touch of chocolate, I have managed to talk my kids into believing that they are “good candy.”

Free Days

You may have spent all your energy and money on Halloween – so you need something to do this weekend? It is a great time to take in some of those FREE Museums with the Denver Arts Week (which really is more than a week), November 2-10, 2012. Kicking off the week, Denver’s best museums are open late and admission is FREE between 5 and 10 p.m. Friday, November 2. Museums include: Molly Brown House, Denver Art Museum, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Children’s Museum, Botanic Gardens, and History Colorado Center.

Kids Eat FREE

Many places are touting a kids eat free program on Halloween Night, this coming Wednesday.
  • Cici’s Pizza  –  free pizza to kids in costume.
  • Outback – kids in costume eat free with paid adult entree
  • Country Buffet – kids in costume eat free with each paid adult
  • Chipotle – kids eat free with paid adult
  • Sonic – 50 cent corn dogs all day.
  • Chipotle – kids (and adults) in costume after 4 p.m will get a BOO-rito for just $2
  • Olive Garden – kids in costume eat free with paid adult entree
  • Caribou Coffee – Buy One Get One Free all day
  • California Pizza Kitchen – Kids 10 and under will eat free with each $10 adult purchase
  • Johnny Carino’s kid eat free with paid adult entree through Friday

Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo

I typically try to keep the ski and snowboard deals to a separate page as I understand not everyone that lives here loves to ski – but the Ski & Snowboard Expo is so much more. While the central theme and fun is all about those winter sports, it is not all. The Expo at the Colorado Convention Center this weekend, November 2-4, 2012 has much fun in store including: deals on ski and outdoor winter gear, lodging and lift ticket deals, Gibbon Slacklines, Mountain board demos, climbing wall, Aerial Trampoline, Kids slope, bouncy castles and Colorado Curling Club (yes, that Olympic sport). $12 for adults – kids are free.

Colorado Fencing Academy

I sort of think I’m an adrenaline junkie. I also like to be open to trying new and different ways to stay healthy. So when I saw that the first class is free – I though I will be up for at least one (I have to figure out when I’m going to go)…I’m going to try FENCING! As the weather cools, come inside & play! Beginning sabre classes in Arvada & Longmont 1st class FREE 303-463-2911

SkiDeals

SNOW! SNOW! SNOW! Arapahoe Basin is open! Grab your “E”Book or Entertainment book (these are two different books) to get some serious ski lift ticket deals or plan on visiting the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Expo . If you have a 5th or 6th grader…take advantage of the two different free ski programs – School of Shred and 5th and 6th Grade Passport! Plus, Keystone Resort recently announced that kids under 12 ski free all season long (no black out dates – which is super unusual) when you stay two or more nights at a Keystone owned resort. More deals are coming in as the season is ready to get underway.

Larkburger Movember

Larkburger is participating in “Movember”, raising funds for men’s health issues. Diners can join the “Larkburger Mo Bros and Mo Sistas” team. When they do they will receive a Burger on Us card, free stickers and are entered into weekly raffles for gift cards. The team member who raises the most will win Larkburger for a Year (a lot of burgers and fries). Plus, they’re holding “Milk(shake) Mustache” on Saturday, November 17, offering $2 Boulder Ice Cream shakes all day. Best ‘stache wins a gift card.
Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!

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

A warning to parents everywhere regarding Halloween candy “taxes”

I have some bad news for parents who claim a “candy tax” by taking a portion of their kids’ Halloween candy: THEY ARE ONTO US.

On Saturday night, we went to our church’s Halloween party and my kids came home with bucket loads of treats. For the most part, I let them have at it but started putting on the brakes the next day. After all, they have to save their gluttony for The Main Event on Wednesday.

I made a healthy dinner with the one thing my 8-year-old daughter abhors most: eggs. She usually chokes them down but we are entering the tween moody stage (hurray!) and she suddenly thinks she should have a say.

I don’t know when she started thinking this was a democracy, not a dictatorship.

What’s on your kids’ Walmart Wish List this Christmas? Win a $50 Gift Card!

**CONTEST CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO WINNER ANGELA WILSON!**

Alright, friends. It’s almost The Most Wonderful Time of the Year and if you’re like me, you have already started your shopping.

When my kids were younger, I could snag pretty much any toy and they’d be happy. Now that my daughter is entering the tween years, I have to be more strategic with my purchases.

That’s a nice way of saying she’s really picky.

Walmart has listed the hottest toys for 2012 on their website and divided them into four categories: Baby, Preschool & Toddler, Ages 5-7 and Ages 8-11. From FURBY and the Leapfrog LeapPad 2 to Power Wheels Dune Racer Ride-On and the Monster High High School Playset, this is a great place to get started.

Got an elevated learner? Attend the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Convention in Denver

In just a few weeks, thousands classroom teachers, gifted/talented coordinators, school administrators, researchers, parents, college and university faculty, and more, will descend on Denver for the 59th Annual National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Convention, November 15-18, 2012.

You’re invited to join us to elevate learning, and ensure that our nation’s brightest learners are challenged as they reach their personal best in the classroom and beyond. Centered around the theme “Educating with Altitude: Reaching Beyond the Summit”, the pre-convention events, concurrent sessions, poster sessions, exhibit hall, general sessions, and networking events (both formal and informal!) will harness the power of diverse viewpoints – from the field and from the classroom.

Ready to register now? Go here.

In addition, limited space is still available for exhibitors. Numerous activities are scheduled for the exhibit hall, from Exhibitor Workshops, Student Entertainment, Student Art and Posters to the opening reception on Thursday and morning and afternoon coffee breaks each day. The exhibit dates are Thursday, November 15 through Saturday, November 17 at the Colorado Convention Center. Click Here for the Exhibit Brochure.

Murder Suspect’s Father Released a Statement

Austin Sigg’s father Robert Sigg released a statement on Thursday afternoon.

“Dear Denver-area press, I am Rob Sigg, the father of Austin Sigg. I have issued this statement today.

“First, I would ask for your prayers and support for the Ridgeway family. There are no words to express the sorrow that I and my family feel for their pain they are suffering. We are devastated by the knowledge that my son, Austin Sigg, has been arrested and will be charged with the murder of their beautiful daughter Jessica. This horrible event is a tragedy for both the families, as well as the community. I ask also for your prayers and support for Austin’s mother, whose courageous act … unimaginably painful for any parent … has put this tragedy on the path to resolution. I am hopeful that as the legal process unfolds, the Ridgeway family may come to know peace.”

Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo: Exclusive Ski Deals, Interactive Exhibits & Curling?

Nothing gets us more in the mood for winter and ski season than when the snow finally flies.

Next week, the 21st annual Colorado Ski and Snowboard Expo opens for business on Nov. 2-4, 2012 in downtown Denver at the Colorado Convention Center in Hall F. As much a part of the early season ritual as opening day on the slopes, the gigantic sale is a magnet for shoppers on the prowl for skis, snowboards, boots, outdoor clothing, and essential accessories such as helmets, hats, goggles, and gloves. The reason: prices on last season’s inventory are marked down 40-75 percent. New this year, a section of the retail space will be dedicated to summer outdoor gear with everything from hiking boots to camping gear.

For information junkies, 24 of Colorado’s resorts will be manning booths with Expo-only specials on everything from

Are You Feeling Baby Name Regret?

Would you regret giving your baby a common name? So much so that you would change it? Regret for common names and names that don’t suit are, reportedly, on the rise. Too common a name can be just, well, common. On the other hand will an unusual, unique name create some big shoes to fill? Sure anyone can be named Jennifer or Michael or Mary or Robert and so many babies have received those names that they rank at the top of the baby names list for the last 100 years, according to the Social Security Administration’s list of top baby names.

For those parents who later find their child is one among a sea of children with the same name in the same class at school, would you regret the name enough to change it to something more unique?

On a morning TV show, I overheard just a snippet saying baby name regret is on the rise.