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It’s no wonder they don’t want to leave those play structures!

When my daughter was young, one of our favorite places to play is a local play-area at a Rec Center near us. The indoor play-structure was built with a tree house theme in mind, and all of the tunnels stretch out above the room, like the branches of a tree. It’s great because the parents can stand or sit down below and chat while their kiddos crawl through miles and miles of tubing above. There are many different compartments, most all with windows overlooking the room below. There are different slides throughout so that you can easily get down…only to run around like a crazy person on the squishy floor of the play area and climb the spiral stairs up again.

Claire and I went there many times. Our Moms’ Club et there on occasion (more now, in colder weather, since meeting at a park to play is so nice-weather-dependent). It was great to meet my friends and chat while Claire played with the friends she knew in the group and meet new friends who happened to be playing there that day as well.

But, it wasn’t always like that.

At first, Claire didn’t want anything to do with the looming structure. The stairs were too enclosed, and the tunnels too confining, and she’d get three steps up and start crying for me. The whole thing turned into more of a stressor than a playful relaxing time, so I opted not to go to the playdates at the center. Our group had so many activities during the week that it was fine to pick and choose.

Eventually, we started going again. Claire started getting more and more comfortable with going up the stairs into the structure by herself, and the more she did it, the more confident she became. Sometimes she’d venture out on her own, and sometimes all it took was an older or more confident explorer to say, “Hey! Come play with me!” and off they’d go.

And, then, we reached a new level….

Denver Deal: Denver Art Museum, Avalanche Tickets, Redbox, AMF and More

Every year, I make what I call my family yearbook for my kids. It is not really a Christmas present so much as a reminder of all the great things that we did the previous year. I have used several different services for these yearbooks (; WalMart Photo, and As you look forward to what your plans are for next year – and setting any kind of New Year’s Resolutions, do you look back and see what great times the previous year held? Do you do anything with all those photos in your camera (or do you just post them on social media sites)?

Noon Years Eve. The Children’s Museum of Denver hosts their annual Noon Year’s Eve complete with ball drops every half hour. The event has proven so successful – they are hosting the event at the Butterfly Pavillion. Events are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit: 

New Years Eve RTD is free. If you are planning to go downtown (or to other parts of town) to see fireworks or for a party. The Light Rail ( service is free from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. (not that I think you will be out with your kiddos at 6 a.m.) or you can call a cab and Sawaya Law Firm will reimburse the cost of the cab ride. (

Redbox. Maybe you are staying in like my family is planning. We will get a few movies from Redbox and sit down with our popcorn. We learned that if you rent your movies from a Redbox at KingSoopers you can get one for free by using the promo code FAMILY. (We also hear HAPPYNEWYEAR works as well). 

Denver Art Museum. The Denver Art Museum gives your little ones something to do this holiday break. They can participate in jewelry making and other family fun as their admission to the museum is FREE now through January 4, 2015. 

Avalanche Family Pack. Family Night at the Colorado Avalanche means you can socre four tickets, four meals (chicken tenders, pizza, hot dog or nachos) and four Pepsi’s for just $119. The next one will be January 4, 2015. (Information can be found at

AMF Dollar Mania. At AMF Bowling lanes Mondays are only $1. Games are only $1 and shoe rental only $1 from 8 p.m. to close. My family has an AMF Bowling center near our house and the kids love it when I let them stay up late during school breaks (my daughter is a total night-owl).

 Monogram/Name Necklace. I love those necklaces that have a name on them and when it comes to fine monogrammed and name jewelry, is in the top of its class — from silver and gold necklaces shaped into first names to cufflinks etched with initials. But that’s not all the gift-focused website is about – its huge selection of monogram-ready wares include, but are not limited to, iPhone cases, kitchenware, to sporting goods. There is something for everyone! 45% off store wide – use code BLOG45

A 1st Choice Cleaning. A 1st Choice Cleaning llc would like to thank you all for such a good year and give you a cleaning free great start to next year at their lowest prices of the year. Get four hours of cleaning for  just  $65.00 per clean. Never expires, can purchase up to 3 cleans and two gifts (tell them that Gretchen referred you). 


Free days this week

Jan. 2: Four Mile Historic Park, noon-4 p.m.,

Jan. 3: Denver Art Museum,;

Jan. 5: Denver Museum of Nature & Science,

Expand your family

There are just three days left for the Dumb Friends League’s “A Home for the Holidays” adoption special continuing through Dec. 31. All cats and dogs one year and older are $10 for cats and $50 off for dogs. Adoption fees for horses at the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center are 50 percent off. Initial vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, a microchip and free visit to a participating veterinarian are included in the cost. Visit shelters at 2080 S. Quebec St. in Denver and 4556 Castleton Ct. in Castle Rock. The equine center is in Franktown at 5540 E. Highway 86. Select PetSmart and Petco locations also house available cats. Call or visit the website for more details. 303-751-5772,

 Shop for next year

Any remaining holiday items are discounted 50 percent at the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art. Ornaments, wrapping paper and holiday cards are included. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. 1311 Pearl St., 303-832-8576,


Though you may get a bit misty-eyed at the thought of taking down your Christmas tree, all live ones must eventually be tossed. The good news is most Colorado communities sponsor free or low-cost recycling programs that turn your timber into garden mulch. Some offer curb-side pick-up, while others designate a drop-off site. Before recycling, be sure to read your program’s rules for tree preparation. Remove ornaments, lights, tinsel, nails, wire, garlands and stands. And note, many recyclers can’t accept flocked trees. A good rule of thumb — leave your tree for recycling in the same condition as you would find it naturally in the forest.

Fare Deal

If you ring in the New Year with a bit of bubbly, you should not get behind the wheel. Thanks to two community-wide options, getting home safely is easy and free. All RTD services (, including light rail, are free from 7 p.m. on Dec. 31 until 6 a.m. on Jan. 1. If public transportation doesn’t suit you, the Sawaya Law Firm offers a free cab ride through New Year’s Day. It’s simple, just take a cab ride home, pay and get a receipt. They’ll cover the cost up to $35. The deal is only valid for a one-way ride to your residence and the trip must be within the metro area. For reimbursement instructions, visit

Reel movies

True cinephiles can dig deep into the movie world for just $1 during the Tattered Cover Film Series. The first Sunday of every month film critic Howie Movshovitz hosts the screening and discussion of a silver-screen classic, culled from the world’s finest filmmakers. This month’s selection on Jan. 4 is John Houston’s “Wise Blood.” Screenings are in the Sie FilmCenter (2510 E. Colfax Ave., Denver) and start at 2 p.m.

Laura Daily and Bryan K. Chavez



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Kids Eat Free Mile High Mamas has rounded up a huge listing of local restaurants where kids eat free or for a discount with a paying adult.


Denver-area Wild Animal Sanctuary a wild adventure!

The elevated walkway ascends from the Wild Animal Sanctuary gift shop and orientation point. We step up the inclined path, passing above lazing leopards, tigers and mountain lions below, then continue past a green arrow pointing to the Bolivian Lion Complex.

The walkway is wide and sturdy and varies between 20 and 40 feet above the enclosures below, where 350 large carnivores roam this little-known, fenced-in Serengeti of the West, only 30 miles northeast of Denver. The height of the walkway is “so the animals don’t feel their territory or personal space is threatened,” explains my guide, Kent Drotar, who has been working at the Wild Animal Sanctuary for six of the 10 years it has been open to the public. This makes the creatures less stressed and more likely to act naturally, even though most were born in captivity and have only their instincts to follow.

We continue above a pack of sleeping timberwolves, a black bear eating a pumpkin, a distant prancing ostrich and a pride of African lions, perfectly camouflaged with the tan landscape of the plains. But more impressive than my proximity to these magnificent megafauna are the stories of how they each got here. Some were confiscated by law-enforcement officials from failing zoos or criminals; others were surrendered by people who could no longer care for their exotic pets.

This is how seven of the 155 bears arrived in Keenesburg:

“When the owner of a roadside attraction passed away,” reads the Wild Animal Sanctuary’s website, which catalogs all the stories, “his family no longer wanted to keep the animals. Chocolate, Heather, Hercules, Hillbilly, Megan, Smokey and Winnie were living together in a 30×50 enclosure before being rescued by The Wild Animal Sanctuary, but now they’re enjoying the kind of life they really deserve in their 15-acre habitat.” (The entire facility is currently 720 acres.)

As the winter cold hits, the bears will creep through concrete culverts into underground bunkers to sleep the winter away, a behavior most were never allowed to experience before coming to Colorado.

When we arrive at the lion house, Kent points over yonder to the enormous new visitor center they are constructing, along with another half-mile of walkway over more enclosures. The new features should open to the public in the spring, he says. Then we turn around and head back. The wind is picking up, but the animals below look warm and unfazed.

If you go

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is located at 1946 County Road 53, Keenesburg. It is open until sunset nearly every day of the year. Be prepared for slightly more extreme weather up on that exposed walkway. For more info, call 303-536-0118 or go to Adults – $15; Children, ages 3 to 12 – $7.50

Joshua Berman




Movie Review: “Into the Woods”

Oh, they may not have trucked in superheroes but they had more than their share of flawed protagonists, villains, and, better still, complicated life lessons to impart.

The oral folk tales collected and put to paper by the Brothers Grimm weren’t merely enthralling (if chiding), they were road maps for navigating existentially dark forests.

Of course, you already know all this. Yet, it’s wonderfully satisfying that in a year that saw X-Men and Avengers and even Guardians, 2014 ends with an ensemble of old-school misadventurers and a few troublesome baddies in “Into the Woods.”

Cinderella, the Baker and his wife, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack of Beanstalk fame and Rapunzel make director Rob Marshall’s adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine Broadway musical “Into the Woods” a dark, exquisitely enchanting pleasure.

The 1987 musical assembled quite the collection of fairy-tale all-stars. Then it sent them on their merry — or not — ways singing of wishes for princes, infants and a respite from a hardscrabble life.

Marshall’s ensemble is nearly as impressive CLICK TO KEEP READING


Family-friendly New Year’s Eve Celebrations in Denver 2014

Evergreen’s Annual Skate the Lake Winter Festival has been a New Year’s Eve tradition since 1996. Winter Festival offers ice-skating, fireworks, fire barrel bonfires, sleigh rides, food, music and ice games such as pick-up hockey and broom-stick hockey along with games/ activities (face painting), food vendors, music and dancing all on firm ground!  Ice skate rentals are available from the Lake House for $7.00, but quantities are limited. Also, at high noon on New Year’s Day at Evergreen Lake, snow or shine, you too can jump into the cool waters for an invigorating winter plunge.  29612 Upper Bear Creek Road Evergreen, CO. Tickets $20; kids 8 and under are free.

The Children’s Museum of Denver is under construction but the party must go on. This year, Noon Year’s Eve will be held at the Butterfly Pavilion with the same famous ball drops, bubble wrap and confetti-filled fun. The event is from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and the ball drops every half hour from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (15 total).  Children’s Museum members are FREE; Adults (ages 13 – 64) $9.50, Children (ages 2 – 12) $6.50, Seniors (ages 65+) $7.50. Space is limited and reservation times will fill up fast.  Butterfly Pavilion: 6252 W. 104th Ave., Westminster, CO 80020.      

New Year’s Eve Fireworks in Downtown Denver. The sky will once again sparkle over the 16th Street Mall at the close of 2014 with the New Year’s Eve Fireworks Downtown. The two spectacular fireworks shows will occur at 9 p.m. and midnight. For the best viewpoints, stand along the 16th Street Mall. Costumed entertainers will interact with crowds between shows, including magicians, mascots, balloon artists, stilt walkers, comedians and more. Please note, between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m., RTD Light Rail trains will not cross the 16th Street Mall and mall ride shuttles will stop temporarily during the two fireworks shows.

Zoo Year’s Eve. Enjoy a perfect New Year’s Eve celebration for the entire family at the Denver Zoo. With a special New Year’s Eve countdown at 9 p.m. your little ones will be able to enjoy the holiday, but still get home for bed. Activities are included with Zoo Lights admission. Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St.

WOW! Children’s Museum’s New Year’s Eve Party is back on Dec. 31 from 10 a.m. to noon with noisemaker crafts, face painting and airbrush tattoos with Happy Faces Face Painting, musical performance by Kristin McLean of FamilySong Music, snacks from Happy Family foods and Bobo’s Oat Bars and countdown to the New Year at 11:30am! Tickets: $12 per child; $6 for WOW! Members and free for adults. 110 N Harrison Ave, Lafayette, CO. To purchase tickets visit:

Comedy Works. Ring in the new year with some laughs at the Comedy Works Landmark. Headliner Keith Alberstadt is funny and relatable and will help you usher in the year with his unique brand of observational stand-up. The Comedy Works offers a 5 p.m. show for ages 13+ with two 21+ shows that start at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Tickets to the 5 p.m. show are $25, so take the kiddos for an affordable and fun evening for all. Ticket prices go up for the 7:30 ($35) and 10 ($55) p.m. shows. 5345 Landmark Place
Greenwood Village, CO 80111. (720) 274-6800.


Favorite Picture Books of 2014

It’s that time of year again when adults everywhere ask the age-old question: How many shopping days are left?

Well, I am here to help with a list of my favorite children’s picture books of 2014. From beautifully written and illustrated to just plain silly, there’s a book for everyone to enjoy this holiday season and beyond.

DRAW! by Raul Colon


Based on his own childhood, beloved and award-winning artist Raúl Colón’s wordless book is about the limitless nature of creativity and imagination.

A boy alone in his room.
Sketchbook in hand.
What would it be like to go on safari?

A boy named Leonardo begins to imagine and then draw a world afar—first a rhinoceros, and then he meets some monkeys, and he always has a friendly elephant at his side. Soon he finds himself in the jungle and carried away by the sheer power of his imagination, seeing the world through his own eyes and making friends along the way.




You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except . . . here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say . . .
Even if the words are a preposterous song about eating ants for breakfast, or just a list of astonishingly goofy sounds like BLAGGITY BLAGGITY and GLIBBITY GLOBBITY.
Cleverly irreverent and irresistibly silly, The Book with No Pictures is one that kids will beg to hear again and again. (And parents will be happy to oblige.)


TAKE AWAY THE A by Michael Escoffier


Take Away the A is a fun, imaginative romp through the alphabet. The idea behind the book is that within every language there are words that change and become a different word through the simple subtraction of a single letter. In other words, without the “A,” the Beast is Best. Or, without the “M,” a chomp becomes a chop—though it could be that this particular play on words didn’t even make it into the book, there are so many! I certainly don’t want to give too much away. . . . Now, take a look and find some more! Discovering all of the words in the book is a lot of fun, and then there’s the wild, exciting adventure that follows, of trying to find more!




The Pigeon really needs a bath! Except, the Pigeon’s not so sure about that. Besides, he took a bath last month! Maybe. It’s going to take some serious convincing to try and get the Pigeon to take the plunge.


FOUND by Salina Yoon


One day, Bear found something in the forest.

When Bear finds a lost stuffed toy bunny in the forest, he begins to worry. After all, the stuffed bunny must feel lonely and want to return safely to its owner and home! But as Bear diligently searches for the bunny’s owner, posting notices high and low, he begins to grow attached to his newfound friend. What will happen when the bunny’s owner finally comes forward? Was Bear meant to find Bunny all along? Prolific author/illustrator Salina Yoon’s spare text and bright, energetic illustrations bring to life this endearing story celebrating love and friendship in many forms, reminding us that nothing is lost that is not meant to be found.




Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born in France in 1900, when airplanes were just being invented. Antoine dreamed of flying and grew up to be a pilot—and that was when his adventures began. He found a job delivering mail by plane, which had never been done before. He and his fellow pilots traveled to faraway places and discovered new ways of getting from one place to the next. Antoine flew over mountains and deserts. He battled winds and storms. He tried to break aviation records, and sometimes he even crashed. From his plane, Antoine looked down on the earth and was inspired to write about his life and his pilot-hero friends in memoirs and in fiction. Peter Sís’s remarkable biography celebrates the author of The Little Prince, one of the most beloved books in the world.




For shy young Peter Mark Roget, books were the best companions — and it wasn’t long before Peter began writing his own book. But he didn’t write stories; he wrote lists. Peter took his love for words and turned it to organizing ideas and finding exactly the right word to express just what he thought. His lists grew and grew, eventually turning into one of the most important reference books of all time.

Readers of all ages will marvel at Roget’s life, depicted through lyrical text and brilliantly detailed illustrations. This elegant book celebrates the joy of learning and the power of words.

Happy Holidays & Happy Reading!

 Barbara is a Librarian at the Evergreen Library and writes for the Jeffco Library Kids Blog.

He’s been a good boy; I’ve just been a bad mom

I’ve got a Christmas confession to make: I’m not sure there’s going to be anything under the tree for my baby boy to unwrap.

No, there’s not a budget shortfall. No, I don’t love his older sisters more than I love him. No, there haven’t been any major toy recalls (that I know about, anyway).

Really, it’s just that he’s got everything he needs. And even if we weren’t in the midst of trying economic times, I’d still be loathe to spend aimlessly.

He doesn’t need any toys or books or stuffed animals. He’s got plenty of sleepers and strollers already. What the kid needs is diapers and wipes, but that would probably rank just above coal in the stocking.

Oh [bleep]. I don’t have a stocking for him either.

Besides diapers and wipes, he could use a toy box and a bookshelf. But neither of those are exactly easy to wrap (and then unwrap), and they’d look pretty lame sitting empty on Christmas morning.

He does have several

Denver deals: NORAD, Denver Art Museum, restaurants and more!

I Spy Santa

The team at North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, keeps track of a sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer every December. Before computers, curious kids had to telephone in to find out Santa’s whereabouts. Nowadays, kids everywhere can now track online the big, jolly guy’s route around the world on Christmas Eve, as well as receive updates directly from the North Pole. Even before the big night, children can explore a digital Santa’s Village, play games and watch movies. The command center’s tracking techniques are top-secret, but we’ve learned Rudolph’s glowing red nose gives off an infrared signal that can be detected by satellites. If this doesn’t convince the kids that Santa is on his way, nothing will.

Eat up Christmas

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, you can cross a stress-free meal off your Christmas wish list. We found some low-cost restaurants open on Christmas Day. Among the options: Denny’s (, Perkins Restaurant & Bakery (, Village Inn (, IHOP ( and Waffle House ( are open all day. Country Buffet ( dishes up an all-you-can-eat holiday menu from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at participating locations. Select Boston Market ( restaurants offer a Christmas Day meal with ham, turkey or chicken, two sides, cornbread and a slice of pie for $11.99. As always, check first to confirm your favorite eatery is open and its operating hours.

Paper or plastic?

It’s hard to believe but not everyone loves a gift card, especially if it’s not from a favorite retailer. If you receive an unwanted gift card this year, don’t let it go to waste sitting in a desk drawer. Instead, on Dec. 26, join Gift Card Exchange Day and sell it. This promotion makes it quick and easy to “exchange” a gift card. All that’s required is the merchant name and gift card amount (minimum $25). Then, offers from companies who want to buy your card are instantly generated. Nearly every unwanted gift card can find a home and you can pocket some extra cash.

letsmakeArt break

The forecast for winter break is full of creativity and fun, thanks to the Denver Art Museum. Through Jan. 4, students 18 and under get free general admission to the museum. To celebrate the exhibition “Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century,” this year’s theme is “Winter Break: All That Glitters.” Jewelry-inspired activities include artist demos, hands-on time in the Jewelry Studio, storytelling and other sparkling surprises. In addition, Create-n-Takes, Family Activity Carts and the Just for Fun Center will be open every day. No reservations needed.  Also, Let’s Make Something ($4.65) is a new children’s activity book focused on the collections at Denver Art Museum (DAM) with 15 fun children’s activities featured in our new book.  For more information about DAM, call 720-865-5000.

-Laura Daily and Bryan K. Chavez


Children channel their opinions about toys onto YouTube

A snaggletooth 8-year-old. A middle schooler with a punk rocker bob cut and big earrings. Tween siblings with a penchant for playing.

These are among the young power brokers who will determine the toys that will be under Christmas trees this year.

At a time when toy sales have stagnated for years at $22 billion, children who review toys on YouTube are wielding increasing influence. Toymakers are courting them for their ability to connect with a generation that views the online video-sharing service as baby boomers do HBO.

“Kids trust other kids more so than they would an adult,” says Marc Rosenberg, a Chicago-based toy marketing consultant.

Leading the pack of pint-sized YouTube personalities is Evan, 8, who has dimples and a few front teeth missing. With more than 1 billion views between his three channels, he’s YouTube’s most popular kid. He gets more than 800 million views from EvanTubeHD, where he reviews the toys.

EvanTubeHD — which features special effects thanks to his dad, Jared, who runs a video production company full time — is known for telling kids how to play with toys. Evan speaks directly to them, with occasional cameos from his little sister and mom.

In a review of Angry Birds Space Softee Dough playset, Evan apologizes for a noticeable lisp: “Sorry if I’m talking a little funny today because I just lost my tooth.” Later, after trying to bite an apple to which he attached toy “face pieces” and called “Angry Bird Fruit,” he quips: “It’s too hard to bite without a tooth.”

Behind Evan are a few other young YouTube phenoms. Most of the children are identified by first name because their parents don’t want to risk their safety:

• Siblings Noah, 14, Jonah, 12, and Emma, 11 star in KittiesMama, which has nearly 400 million views. KittiesMama is a reality show that chronicles the kids’ daily lives, including birthday parties. They also review toys, and Emma shows kids how to look like characters from toy lines such as My Little Pony.

• Gracie Hunter, 11, pairs up with her mother, Melissa, in “Mommy and Gracie,” which has close to 90 million views. Gracie, a redhead who sometimes sports black glasses with rhinestones, searches for hard-to-find dolls with her mom. They’ve even traveled to Canada from their New Jersey home to find a Monster High doll.

• RadioJH Audrey has over 60 million views. Audrey, 11, speaks to tweens, frequently saying “cool” and “awesome.” She also streaks her bobbed hair in a rainbow of colors and wears big jewelry and studded T-shirts. Audrey’s trademark: reviewing mystery toy bags sold at places such as Toys “R” Us.

Julie Krueger, industry director of retail at Google, which owns YouTube, says the channels have “huge followings of fans.”

Toymakers — from Mattel to smaller ones — have noticed. In fact, Spin Master says Evan’s reviews helped boost sales of its Spy Gear toys 65 percent this year. The private company declined to disclose sales numbers.

“It gives the item more widespread exposure,” says Jim Silver, editor in chief and CEO of Time To Play magazine.

Toymakers regularly send the young reviewers products. And some sign paid marketing deals with them and their parents.

Spin Master hired Evan to appear in a TV ad for its latest Spy Gear toys. Anki, which makes robotic toy cars, teamed up with Evan and KittiesMama for reviews on a race car. WowWee is working with “Mommy and Gracie” on promotional videos for Elektrokidz collectible dolls.

The parents and companies declined to disclose financial terms. Most of the parents, who also declined to say how much ad revenue the channels make, have quit their jobs to focus on the businesses.

Rosenberg says kids “risk crossing the line of trust” with their audience when deals are made with toymakers.

For their part, toymakers say they’re careful to preserve the kids’ voices. Spin Master’s chief marketing officer, Krista DiBeradino, says it tries to maintain “the authenticity intended with each relationship.”

Parents also say they try to maintain authenticity. Jason, the father behind RadioJH, says the channel is doing so well with ad revenue that he doesn’t focus on partnerships. Jennifer, the mother behind KittiesMamma, says she’d only partner with brands that her kids enjoy. And Melissa Hunter of “Mommy and Gracie” says her family will only accept deals to benefit children’s charities.

“We aren’t just faces for hire,” she says.

Evan’s dad, Jared, says he works with partners that resonate with the audience. Evan’s deals came after Jared hired Maker Studios, a promotions and advertising production company whose sales staff also sell advertising on Evan’s channels.

Jared, who says he invests the money the channels make toward his children’s futures, says the success was unexpected. “It’s kind of surreal,” says Jared, who started the channel with Evan in 2011.

Evan agrees: “I didn’t think it would turn out like this when I first made the channel. I thought I would just get four views.”

By Anne D’Innocenzio
The Associated Press

Last-minute Gift Guide for Denver Moms

If you are a busy mom-on-the-go, which more than likely you are, there may be a few things still left on your holiday checklist. Just admit it—you haven’t quite finished shopping. Do not fear, Colorado is packed with local, one-of-a-kind gifts that are sure to make your loved ones swoon. Most of these gifts can be shipped to arrive last minute, and those that can’t, no worries. Simply get an envelope, write a lovely note and explain that the recipient of this note will get something very special in the New Year. Today we present to you a  “Last Minute Gift Guide” perfectly picked for the Rocky Mountain Mama. 


A rug manufacturer that takes children’s artwork and creates an heirloom from the precious pieces, how stinking adorable is that? 4Favorites takes your original design and weaves it into an extremely high quality, 100% chemical-free, Tibetan wool rug. These are one-of-a-kind rugs that will be made once, and only for you. Though you won’t be able to get it by Christmas, this is still an opportunity to give a gift that lasts a lifetime. Find out more about this process by contacting 4Favorites today. Use holiday promo code MHM and get two rugs for $600. They can arrive in time for Valentine’s Day. Talk about intimate and creative!

4Favorites Cat

Denver Playgrounds and Parks Book

The Denver area boasts one of the largest urban park systems in the nation. In his brand-new guide book “Denver Playgrounds & Parks,” local author Chris Sekirnjak reviews 521 public playgrounds in the metro area. From Lakewood to Aurora and Thornton to Littleton, the book provides all the information you will need to plan your next park or play area visit: locations, facilities, equipment, photos, and ratings. Available on Amazon for $11.99, as well as on the Apple app store (free download). This book is the perfect stocking stuffer! For more information, go to


Mamas rejoice, Rowve has created a bag that not only looks great, but can handle the dirt, accidents, and moisture that sometimes (OK, often) wreak havoc on our lives and smells on cars, houses, etc. This bag is for the yogi who quickly throws her damp clothes and equipment in whatever she can find before picking the kids up at school. Rowve can handle the craziness of your day-to-day life, and best yet, is easy to clean. For the girlfriend you admire or maybe even a gift for yourself, this is great last minute pick. It’s waterproof, so think smelly ski clothes, hockey gear, ice skating essentials and everything else unpleasant this season. A mother and daughter run this company in Denver, making it even more darling. Use code MHM on the site to get 25% off.


Beeyond the Hive

Not only is this the oldest Colorado honey company, but it also holds one of the cleverest names we came across this season. If you are looking to give a cute and corky gift, Beeyond the Hive is one-stop-shop for everything silly and sweet. Products we recommend include the Raw Wildflower Honey and the entire line of Beeswax Melts. We also adore their lip balms, which make great stocking stuffers for your little ones, significant others, school teachers, you name it. Who doesn’t get chapped lips over break. And, we all know the positive buzz, pun intended, of the honey industry right now!


Be Hippy 

We love Be Hippy for their easy-going outlook and Colorado attitude. Their line of baby onesies and children’s baseball caps adorn some of the coolest kids on the block. Grab some Be Hippy gear for the kiddos in your life. With over 300 sunny days a year, we sure that these new duds are will be turning heads on the Rocky Mountain trails or at future little league games.


Onyx and Blush

Are you still trying to gather up a gift for the fashionista of your group? Try Onyx and Blush. This boutique brings today’s hottest jewelry and accessory trends straight from NYC directly to you. Their line of multi-colored tassel necklaces is ideal for the lovely ladies in your life. I was particularly impressed with the simple one, two and three charm bracelets that started at $40. They have such a statement, but are in no way ostentatious. I have a feeling the simple arrow I bought is going to be on trend for 2015. I also like that there are a multitude of settings on each piece for different neck and wrist sizes.


The Street Boutique

The Street Boutique notifies followers of its daily locations and upcoming events via social media, and is available for daytime office and salon stops so ladies can pop in to shop on the go.  Think Denver’s super cool food truck movement, but for clothes! The owner of this shop-on-wheels has stocked her truck full of last minute gifts. Check them out online to see where they are currently located. Aside from this being extremely convenient, their clothes are so cute and trendy. We recommend visiting The Street Boutique in the new year. That way you can use your money from returns to get a really fun outfit.


Grasshaven Outdoor

And don’t think for a second that we forgot the Mile High Dads. Shopping for him is never easy or for a teenage guy, but Grasshaven Outdoor may have a solution. This super cool Colorado company is the marriage of outdoor living with an indoor feel. Their line of portable grills and barbequing tool sets are perfect for any for any tailgate, backyard party or camping excursion. Visit Grasshaven online or at their shop in Boulder. I actually picked up this grill for my husband two months ago. I thought he would love it for his winter fishing trips to warm the soup I made for him (ok, that part might not happen), or the kids might like to have a backyard s’mores fest over break and this is the perfect, ‘safer’ grill for families. Best part, it’s $49.99 and Grasshaven is running a 20% off between now and Christmas.