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Colorado schools, with help, are teaching students personal finance

School districts in Colorado have long had the discretion to include personal-finance topics in their curriculum, but many didn’t or only gave them minimal attention.

The shortcomings of the state’s decentralized approach became painfully evident last decade, when Colorado led the nation in foreclosure activity for several months in 2006.

Not only did families suffer, but so did many school districts, which saw their budgets shrink along with property values and tax revenues.

As part of a larger overhaul of educational standards, the Colorado legislature in 2008 mandated that personal-finance lessons be woven into the curriculum at every grade level, making the state among a handful to do so.

In the Still of the Night: Motherhood’s Powerful Secret Society

Shrouded in darkness, I go about my business. I speak in hushed tones and whispers as I perform the sacred rituals. I belong to the most powerful secret society in the universe:


As I snuggle this tiny person against my chest and sway back and forth in our special chair, I think about this vast sisterhood that I belong to. All across this darkened portion of the planet, thousands and thousands of mothers are doing exactly what I’m doing: wiping tears, calming fears, tending to the sick and the helpless. There are no cameras, no award ceremonies, no worldly glory for our labors. We are never thanked and rarely acknowledged. We work a 24-hour shift every day.

In the glaring light of day, I look frazzled. I’m overworked and overweight.

Denver Deal:Spirit, Halloween Deals and Free Days

If you are like me you might be a procrastinator (although I usually couch it as “waiting for a good deal”), Spirit Halloween store is your lifesaver! I was not going to do anything for Halloween. But the kids and I had such a great time at the Spirit store the house is now decked out in screaming things, tombstones, spider webs, pumpkins, and I’m ready with a cauldron looking candy bin. My kids are excited about their costumes this year. There were TONS to chose from – and they were not out of what my kids wanted to be!

Halloween Deals (valid only on Halloween Day):

  • Krispy Kreme – free donut for anyone in costume.
  • Chipotle – $3 burrito, bowl or salad from 4 p.m to close for those in costume.
  • Sonic Drive-in – 50 cent corn dogs all day.
  • Sweet Tomatoes – Kids eat free with paid adult (valid Oct 28-31).
  • IHOP – Free Scary Face Pancake all day to kids 12 & under.

Candy Buy-Back

LiveWell Colorado and Bellco are hosting two candy swaps – November 7 (11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Downtown Bellco Branch) and November 9 (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Englewood Bellco Branch). Kids can trade candy for healthy treats, prizes and even a chance to win tickets to see Selena Gomez in concert!


Symphony Discount

Mile High Mamas readers can now receive a discount rated ticket for any of the Colorado Symphony shows through the entire season! Super Group Discount will give you 20% Discount for Masterworks (Friday/Sunday ONLY), Pops (No Holiday), Family, and ITS. To purchase tickets use Code: MILEHIGHMAMAS. Group tickets are also available for your group (school/church etc). For more details contact Harrison at 303-308-2462.

Sesame Street Live! “Elmo Makes Music”

Mark your calendar for monsters becoming musicians in Sesame Street Live “Elmo Makes Music” on Friday, Nov. 22 – Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013 at the Bellco Theater. Save $3 per ticket! Use the code ERNIE online at (Offer excludes Gold Circle, Sunny Seats & Opening Night.  Cannot be combined with other offers or used on previously purchased tickets.)

Community Feel-Good:
Aveda Institute downtown is hosting Pink: A Hair and Makeup Show to benefit breast cancer. Event takes place November 9th at 7 p.m . at the Aveda Institute Denver (700 16th st. Denver, CO 80202). Ticketss VIP 1st Row $35 / VIP 2nd Row $25 / Standing $15. For more details on purchasing tickets and location information, please call 303.567.7500.
Spirit of Children program at Spirit Halloween stores, hosts nearly 100 Halloween events for hospitalized children across the country. Spirit of Children has supported Children’s Hospital Colorado – which has funded a variety of resources  including music and art therapy programs, aid in purchasing games and toys, and assistance in funding additional services. They take donations at Spirit Halloween stores or online at

Visit Panera Bread and purchase Pink Ribbon Bagel.  Twenty-five cents from each PRB sale will be donated to Rocky Mountain Cancer Assistance to support Breast Cancer Patients in our community. Don’t forget to also purchase a Pink Ribbon Bagel Coffee Tumbler for $10 (net proceeds will also be donated to RMCA).  Not only will you have a great looking tumbler, but you will also receive FREE BREWED COFFEE thru Oct. 31st! Coffee tumbler quantities are limited!


It’s that time of year again – now is the time to get all your ski deals! If you plan on skiing/snowboarding this year look at all the great deals that we have rounded up already.

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.

If you’re a twit follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out.

Family Events: Last weekend for fall festivals, Denver Arts Week and more

Denver Arts Week. Nov. 1-9, gather family and friends to enjoy the sixth annual celebration of the city’s vibrant, eclectic arts and cultural scene!  Don’t miss this week-long celebration of Denver’s thriving arts scene with special events, concerts, art shows, theatre, dance, special deals and discounts. Try something new and explore more than a dozen museums, 40 performing arts groups, eight neighborhood arts districts and 100 art galleries.
 Anderson Farms Fall Festival. Colorado’s Longest-Running Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch is open daily through November 2nd. With the Zombie Paintball Hunt, Terror in the Corn, gem mining, hayrides, animal acres, pumpkin launching, mine cars, Barnyard 500 Pedal Karts, a Barrel Train, Kiddie Coral and mountain of tires, there is plenty to do. $10-12.

Autumn Sky Tour. On Friday, November 1 at 7 p.m. view through historic & modern telescopes Pine Valley Ranch Open Space Park. Astronomy team members will discuss the spectacular objects to be found in Autumn skies. Ages 10 – adult. Be sure to register.

Preschool Nature Nuts: Turkeys. Saturday, November 2 and November 7 at 10:15 or 11:15 a.m. Lookout Mountain Nature Center. What is the most famous bird in November? The turkey, of course. Enjoy a hike and make a craft as you gobble away. Kids ages 3-5 must be accompanied by an adult. Be sure to register.

Bootown at Heritage Square. Younger kids ready for some spooky, not too scary Halloween adventures can visit the Bootown attraction at Heritage Square every weekend in October and through Nov. 3 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays for $8 per person. The bi-level Miner’s Maze has been transformed into the friendly Bootown haunted house that with its spooky decorations and 3D glasses, brings Halloween scenes to life inside the maze. Besides Bootown, the entire Miner’s Maze Adventureland is also open with activities that celebrate fall fun for the whole family.  An all day, unlimited combination pass for all the attractions in the Adventureland and Heritage Square Amusement Park is $39 and includes go karts, boats, mini golf, zip line, and the Adventureland’s newest attraction, the high ropes course that looks down into the maze. Little ghosts, goblins and witches and every other costume wearing child can decorate their own customized pumpkin in Bootown’s giant pumpkin patch where they can select and decorate their own pumpkin for an additional $4. For older kids and teenagers, the After Dark Maze Craze Insanity is open Oct. 11-Nov. 2 on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7-11 p.m.

Have You Seen My Dinosaur Production. ANIMALOOZA has teamed with Rocky Mountain PBS and the Denver Zoo to present it’s first-ever live show — “Have You Seen My Dinosaur” — Nov. 2 at the Boulder Theater. Local Emmy Award-winning producer and children’s author Shane DeRolf has created ANIMALOOZA a FUN-Dimensional Learning Company. Through its monthly book series, digital media experiences  and live-events, ANIMALOOZA creatively introduces kids to a wonderful cast of animated characters from around the world through books, videos, songs and dances with just the right amount of age-appropriate environmental awareness.  For information about tickets and show times, please visit:

Day of the Dead Family Celebration.  On Nov. 2, the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center presents Colorado’s largest Day of the Dead celebration features live entertainment, sugar skull decorating, traditional food, community altars, new exhibit displays, paper flower making, Día de los Muertos face painting, and Lady Catrina. 400 Quail Road, Longmont.
Special Screening of Girl Rising. It might be the most important documentary you’ll ever watch. On Wednesday, Nov. 6th, the non-profit Water For People Presents Girl Rising: A Celebration and Screening.  As we continue to address the challenges of the water crisis, both in Colorado and across the developing world, there is an ongoing need to empower women and girls.  This will be a great local event to begin that conversation not only around how girls are affected by the water crisis (and poverty) but also around what we can do to make an impact. Be sure to view the Girl Rising trailer here. Popcorn will be provided for the screening; light appetizers will be available at the cocktail hour, as well as a cash bar with wine, beer, and cocktails. Tickets are $10. 6-9 p.m. at  Galvanize, 1062 Delaware St, Denver. RSVP:
Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s MythBusters. The Discovery Channel’s Emmy-nominated series comes to life to uncover truths behind popular myths by mixing scientific method with gleeful curiosity and old-fashioned ingenuity in MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition, at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  The exhibition creates hands-on, interactive experiences for guests of all ages by combining popular scientific facts with innovative, family-friendly displays. On the TV show MythBusters, co-hosts Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, Tory Belleci, Kari Byron, and Grant Imahara take scientific investigation to exciting new levels by proving or exploding myths using their highly experimental approach and extensive backgrounds in special effects. Tickets are available at General visitors pay $22 adult, $16 junior/student (ages 3–18 or with a student ID), and $18 senior (age 65+). Ticket includes admission to both the exhibition and the museum. Timed tickets will be required and advance reservations are strongly encouraged; the Museum anticipates that popular times will sell out.
Colorado Ski and Snowboard Expo. This three-day bonanza Nov. 8-10 of shopping, beer tasting, resort information gathering and family activities will be at Hall A of the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. This annual sale is the last chance for skiers and riders to make their pre-season gear purchases at deeply discounted prices. The Mountain Activity Center presented by Monarch Mountain is back with a full line up of attractions where kids can participate and test their skills. The fast-paced Eliteam Training Center offers a timed obstacle course that measures basic fitness and flexibility skills—and kids love competing against the clock and each other. For first-time, just-thinking-about-it little skiers, the gently-sloped Winter Park Kid’s Slope with an artificial surface offers an easy introduction to skiing. Burton’s Riglet Park offers the same kind of easy introduction to snowboarding. A 25-foot Climbing Wall and Keystone’s Kidtopia Play Park with their bouncy castle are two additional play zones where kids can burn some excess energy while working on strength and balance. Expo-only admission is $12 for adults or $10 with a discount coupon available in The Denver Post or at any Colorado Ski & Golf or Colorado Ski & Sports store.
Like to plan ahead? Visit Denver has these 10 highlights of Thanksgiving Weekend in Denver.

Ooh and Ah at the Grand Illumination of Downtown Denver

November 29

The Grand Illumination event lights up downtown Denver with nearly 600,000 lights from Union Station to the City and County Building. The festivities begin at 6 p.m. at Union Station with carolers, food, drink, and family friendly activities.

Experience a Holiday Classic at the Denver Center for Performing Arts – A Christmas Carol

November 29-December 29

Denver’s holiday tradition returns! Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, this joyous and opulent musical adaptation traces Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season and is a beloved tradition for many families.

Let Someone Else Do The Cooking On Thanksgiving

November 28

Not in the mood to baste that turkey? Take the night off and hit the town! Some of Denver’s best restaurants want to cook you a delicious Thanksgiving Dinner this year.

Take a Trip to the Art World of Paris

Through February 9, 2014

Take a trip to Paris, without leaving The Mile High City. This holiday season, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) presents Passport to Paris, a suite of three French-themed exhibitions, featuring masterpieces by Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, and will feature more Monet in Denver than ever before! Skip the lines and take advantage of great hotel packages with VIP tickets at

Uncover the Truth with The MythBusters

Through January 5, 2014

Uncover the truth behind some of science’s popular myths! Just like the dynamic TV series, the fully interactive Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition mixes scientific method with gleeful curiosity and old-fashioned ingenuity to create a hands-on – and yes, explosive – experience for guests of all ages.

Get Your Holiday Shopping Done Early

Cross some loved ones off your holiday gift list early this year! Cherry Creek North’s 16 blocks are filled with holiday lights and décor and the region’s largest collection of independently owned boutiques. Browse 160 upscale shops at Cherry Creek Shopping Center. Other options include Denver Pavilions and Larimer Square, Belmar Shopping + Dining District, IKEA, and Park Meadows Retail Resort.

Warm to the Glow of Blossoms of Light

December 1, 2013-January 1, 2014

Embrace the holiday season at Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens. More than one million colorful lights draped in elegant designs highlight the Gardens’ winter beauty. Romantic and popular kissing spots will return, as well as the always-anticipated HoloSpex glasses. Warm drinks and tasty treats will also be available.

Take a Spin on the Ice – for FREE – at the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park

November 30, 2013-February 17, 2014

Skyline Park is the place to be this holiday season! Southwest Airlines and the Downtown Denver Partnership invite you to grab your family and friends and head to 16th and Arapahoe in Downtown Denver to the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park! Skating is free with your own skates, or rentals are available for just $2.

Celebrate the Season With Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

November 30-December 1

Two nights only! Mannheim Steamroller Christmas has been America’s favorite holiday celebration for more than 25 years. Grammy Award winner Chip Davis has created a show that features beloved Christmas music along with dazzling multimedia effects performed in the Buell Theatre’s intimate setting.

Visit The Old World at the Denver Christkindl Market

November 22- December 21

Relive a centuries old German tradition at the annual Denver Christkindl. The sights, sounds and flavors of the holiday season with a German flair arrive on the 16th Street Mall. Music, holiday lights and typical vendor cabins will fill Skyline Park area across from the Daniels & Fisher Clock Tower.


Nature Programs

Also, don’t miss these events from Jeffco parks. LMNC programs are FREE and registration is required unless otherwise noted. Register online or by calling 720-497-7600. Looking for a program for your class, scout troop, or other group? Visit their website or call to learn about group programs.

GO Club: Who’s Still Awake?
Saturday, November 9
1:00 PM Mount Falcon Park West
Get Outdoors and Explore Club programs are unstructured, playful nature excursions that feature activities for parents to help their children connect with the natural world. All ages.

Junior Naturalists: Being a Turkey
Sunday, November 10
1:00 PM Lookout Mountain Nature Center
Learn about the bird that almost became the symbol of our nation! From finding food to getting a good night sleep, discover what it takes for these birds to survive. Kids ages 6-10 with an adult.

Fall Stories
Sunday, November 17
2:00 PM Lookout Mountain Nature Center
Take a short walk to discover what is interesting in the pine woods on that day, then come inside for a story about nature and place. Ages 6-adult.

Toddler Nature Nuts: Turkeys
Thursday, November 7
10:15 or 11:15 AM Lookout Mountain Nature Center
What is the most famous bird in November? The turkey, of course. Enjoy a hike and make a craft as you gobble away. Kids 2 years-old with an adult.

40th Anniversary Exhibit   
March 19 to November 17 (Hiwan Homestead Museum)
Come celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Jefferson County Historical Society and Jefferson County Open Space, which was voted into existence in 1972 and began receiving funds in 1973. Displays will center on important points in history, interesting facts about the development of Open Space and a variety of memorabilia.

Building on 44 years of “Sesame Street,” new generation of kids’ TV grows up, educates

Peg has a cat. Peg likes songs. And Peg uses math to get herself out of jams.

If that sounds like the napkin sketch for a kiddie show, it is. “Peg + Cat,” which debuted on PBS last week, is the best-reviewed new children’s television show of the season, combining spare but stylish animation and a strong sense of humor to teach kids mathematics.

“I was looking for a math show and I knew that it had to be the funniest thing I’d ever made,” said Linda Simensky, vice president of children’s programming at PBS and a veteran of Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. “It’s a little bit of alchemy when all those intangible qualities come together to make something work. To me it represents all these years of learning that we’ve been doing in the industry.”

The fact that “Peg + Cat” overtly targets kids’ brains is relatively rare these days. But its kudos aren’t just a culmination of Simensky’s kid-TV lessons.

They’re more proof that entertainment can still provide a pathway to learning. And in an industry where tiny viewers are measured in the millions — and shows increasingly leak from TVs into mobile devices, video games and touring stage productions — it’s also a lesson some children’s shows have left behind in their drive to dominate the market.

Katy Perry at Lakewood High School: Students, faculty get private concert

With cheers and smartphones rising from the audience, pop star Katy Perry took the makeshift stage in the raucous Lakewood High School gym before sunrise Friday morning.

One part pep rally, another part arena pop concert, the show drew howls of excitement from Lakewood High students as the singer ran through a paper banner and onto an enormous stage decked out in tiger stripes in honor of the school mascot.

Lighting rigs and camera crews and a sea of students filled the gym. It could have been the Pepsi Center if not for the Lakewood High School banner hanging from the scaffolding.

“It was so exciting, and to be honest, I cried twice because I was happy that everyone was so happy,” said Lakewood sophomore Jessica Jennett.

Don’t have a cow, man (or least don’t win one)

Raffles. Anyone who’s lived in a town of less than 10,000 people knows that they are to rural communities as witch costumes are to Halloween. In other words, everywhere you look. I’ve bought raffle tickets that promised me a chance to win everything from a handmade afghan blanket to $200 worth of decoys from Cabela’s. As usual, I bought the ticket, not so much because I needed a blanket or faux mallards, but because I couldn’t say no to a Boy Scout or the admin assistant’s granddaughter, the one trying to raise money to pay for her Chess Club’s championship tournament in Albuquerque.

My most recent raffle ticket cost me five dollars and bought me a chance to win a) a cow b) a rifle or c) 20 bucks worth of goodies from Wal-Mart. I never win stuff. I just don’t. I especially don’t win raffle tickets. In fact, I’ve often wondered if they’re for real as I can’t think of anyone from my small communities that has actually won a raffle anything. So I had NO PROBLEM going, “Yeah, yeah, sure. I’ll take a ticket for a cow. Here’s your five bucks.”


I won. OF COURSE I would win when the item being offered is a living, breathing animal that needs approximately 30 pounds of feed and 25 gallons of water per day. To be fair, it’s not actually a COW. It’s a STEER. It weighs about 900 pounds, and it enjoys licking salt, chewing on its cud, and scratching up against fence posts.

I received the call that I had won last week buy a guy who wanted to know when I was gonna pick it up. “Pick it up?? You mean… the steaks and stuff?”

“No, ma’am,” he said. “No, the butchering is on you. So when can you pick up your steer?”

Taking care of moms is taking care of kids

My husband and I recently decided we’re ready for kid #2, which means I’ve been trying to relearn all the dos and don’ts of preconception health and pregnancy. Since I’m actively trying to get pregnant, I’ve decided I am “pre-pregnant” and, thus, have been following most of the nutrition, exercise and environmental guidelines that help to ensure a healthy start for my future child. (An added bonus is that “pre-pregnancy” gets me out of cleaning the cat litter, which just might mean I’ll be pre-pregnant for the rest of my life.)

Most moms know that it’s never too early to ensure kids get a healthy start in life. That’s why we hear advice to take prenatal vitamins, to avoid alcohol and cigarettes and to exercise regularly.

The Birthday Gift Dilemma: How Much Do You Spend and More Questions Answered

Although we all know it is impossible that everyone has babies in October and April, why does it always seem that we are suddenly swamped with birthday parties then? There is festivity in the air now with the leaves changing colors, Halloween celebrations at school and more birthday cupcakes and sugar rushes than any of us would ever wish on a teacher.

With that slew of birthdays comes the tricky navigation of birthday gifts: how much to spend, what girls like at that age if you are a parent of boys, is his mom going to shun me if I get her son a toy gun, a drum or a video game?

Those are the easy questions. Go with your gut. Don’t overspend.

These days, the tough ones are:
• When the invitation says no gifts, what do you do?
• When the invitation says, “Johnnie would prefer a donation to his favorite charity,” what should you do?
• Are gift cards tacky?

Balance, Shmalance: A Denver Doctor Mom’s Funny Take on Having it All

It’s not often that I quote Ashton Kutcher…well, I never have.  But a quotation from a speech he gave at some awards ceremony went viral on the web and I kind of like it.  He said:  “I believe opportunity looks a lot like hard work.”  I really like that.

I also believe in the sister principal:  “Balance looks a lot like chaos.” (That’s my version)

As a doctor, wife, and mother, sometimes I get asked, how do I do it all?  All I can think is: don’t look down, I accidentally put on 2 different shoes this morning.