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25 questions to ask your kids after school

It never fails. After a long day at school when I ask my kids “How was your day?” They always answer “fine.” End of conversation.

So, I’ve stopped asking “yes” and “no” questions and instead ask them to expound upon open-ended queries. In the very least, I get a complete sentence as a response and at best, I get some pretty colorful answers that give a glimpse at how my kids’ day at school really went–the good and the bad!

1. What was the best part of your day?

2. What games did you place at recess and with whom?

3. Who did you sit with on the bus?

4. What did you or your teacher read in class?

5. Tell me something that made you laugh.

6. What was something that was hard or boring?

7. Who would you like to sit by in class and who would you not like to be beside and why?

8. Tell me something new you learned today?

9. Who is someone funny in your class and why are they funny?

10. How did you help someone or did someone help you?

11. Is there anyone in the class who needs a timeout?

12. Can you think of anything you did today that would make your teacher proud to have you in their class, or that would have made us proud of you?

13. What was your favorite time of day today?

14. What’s the biggest difference between last year’s teacher and this year’s teacher?

15. There are some new kids in your class. What are their names and what are they like?

16. What subject do you feel you are doing the best in, and which subject are you struggling in the most?

17. Do you have any homework? What can I help you with?

18. We used to have a mean boy in my class when I was your age. I still remember what a bully he was. Do you have anyone like that in your class?

19. What are you doing in class tomorrow? 

20. Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to and needs to be included?

If you suspect your child is struggling to fit in or is experiencing bullying, focus on questions that deal with less structured times like lunch and recess. Most importantly, be intentional and engaged when they arrive home. Smile, make eye contact and show you really do care about the details of their day.

What are some questions you’d add to this list?

Healthy goodnessknows® snack squares for back-to-school

It has been more than four years since Denver was chosen as the test market for goodnessknows® snack squares. I should know. That’s when I had my first taste of these delicious snacks with crunchy nuts, dark chocolate and tangy fruits and my family has been eating them ever since.

I’ve had relationships that haven’t lasted that long.

And yes, I’m sure chocolate should be factored into the reason.

I’ve enjoyed watching goodnessknows’ popularity grow so imagine how excited I was when I was recently mindlessly strolling around Costco and was stopped in my tracks when I saw them at my favorite warehouse club. Let’s hope Costco will be offering goodnessknows to their sample line-up! The snack squares are doing a nationwide roll-out in August and are now available in Colorado’s major supermarkets including King Soopers snd Safeway.

If you’ve never had these delicious snack bars, each four-square serving has 150 calories, 3 grams of protein and is available in three flavors:

  • Cranberry Almond Dark Chocolate–Roasted almonds and rolled oats get a hint of natural sweetness from tangy-sweet cranberries.goodness
  • Apple Almond and Peanut Dark Chocolate–Crunchy peanuts, roasted almonds and tangy apples are a great combinations for snack time at school or when playing outdoors (this is our favorite flavor).goodness2
  • Peach and Cherry Almond Dark Chocolate–Sweet peaches and cherries accompanied by wholesome roasted almonds and deep chocolate blind to create a satisfying crunch.goodness1

The best news of all?  goodnessknows is guilt-free and their select cocoa beans are uniquely handled to retain cocoa flavanols, which help support the healthy circulation of nutrients and oxygen in the body. Depending on where you shop, goodnessknows® snacks are $1.59 – $1.99 per serving (four squares) and $4.99 -$6.99 per 5-serving multipack carton. In partnership with Mile High Mamas.

Managing the daily battles with your teen

Watch Michael J. Bradley, EdD’s video on Managing the daily battles with your teen.  An award-winning author, he has counseled adolescents and their parents for over 30 years and currently has a private practice. As a recognized specialist in adolescent behavior and parenting, Dr. Bradley is in demand as a speaker and facilitator for mental health professionals, educators, and parenting groups.

For more information on parenting visit

Kids in the House is the world’s largest parenting video library with over 9,000 videos from 450 experts, including physicians, psychologists, researchers, educators, best-selling authors, and other celebrated voices in our culture. This website contains videos that feature parenting tips for all parenting styles from parents who have dealt with particular issues and can share their hard-earned wisdom.

A Taste of Colorado: Contest winners & kids activity line-up!


Prepare for family fun this Labor Day Weekend at A Taste of Colorado! Featured acts, including the Wayne and Wingnut’s Red Hot Chili Puppets, Jim Jackson’s Busker and Me, and Chad Wonder, the comedic magician, will entertain on the KidzStage presented by MIX 100. Children and adults can stay busy for hours with carnival rides, games, educational exhibits, and more. The 32nd annual event takes place Friday, September 4 through Monday, September 7 in downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park. And, as always, the festival is free admission.

Sharing her juggling skills on the KidzStage, Bekah Smith presents her unicycle, fire dancing and lasso tricks. Up in the Air with Peter Davison weaves physical theater, dance, and poetry to create a kinetic celebration of life unlike anything you’ve seen before. “Go wild” for books with Mr. Shine’s music, magic, puppets and more. Experience unique acts of expression from Kinetic Movement Dance Academy.

11:45: Poppy The Clown—Followed By A Juggling Workshop
12:45: The Mysto Magic Show
1:45: Bekah Smith—Juggling Show
2:45: Wayne and Wingnut’s Red Hot Chili Puppets
3:45: The Mysto Magic Show
4:45: Bekah Smith—Juggling Show
5:45: Wayne and Wingnut’s Red Hot Chili Puppets
Roving Entertainment: Wayne Francis, Poppy The Clown, Bekah Smith

10:45: Poppy The Clown—Followed By A Juggling Workshop
11:45: Go Wild With Mr. Shine—Music, Magic and Puppets
12:45: Hora Romaneasca Folk Dance Ensemble
1:45: Up In The Air With Peter Davison
2:45: Chad Wonder—Comedy Magic
3:45: Go Wild With Mr. Shine—Music, Magic And Puppets
4:45: Up In The Air With Peter Davison
5:45: Chad Wonder—Comedy Magic
Roving Entertainment: Poppy The Clown, Mr. Bones, Chad Wonder

10:45: Kinetic Movement Dance Academy
11:45: The Elstun’s Magic, Marriage and Mayhem!
12:45: The Millibo Art Theatre Presents: Book Dawg
1:45: Jim Jackson Presents: Busker and Me
2:45: The Elstun’s Magic, Marriage and Mayhem!
3:45: Eric West—Music For Kids
4:45: The Millibo Art Theatre Presents: Book Dawg
5:45: Jim Jackson Presents: Busker and Me
Roving Entertainment: Birgitta Depree, Jim Jackson, Dave Elstun, Connie Elstun, Mr. Bones

10:45: Patti Smithsonian’s Puppet Show
11:45: The Wick School of Irish Dance
12:45: Katherine Dines and The Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta Band
1:45: Magician Erica Sodos Presents: The Magic Within
2:45: Reid Belstock: Comedy Juggling
3:45: Patti Smithsonian’s Puppet Show
4:45: Magician Erica Sodos Presents: The Magic Within
5:45: Reid Belstock: Comedy Juggler
Roving Entertainment: Erica Sodos, Patti Smithsonian

tasteride1Kids of all ages can showcase their creativity in the KidZone, with a variety of free, hands-on craft activities. Also in the KidZone is the Baby Oasis, a place for parents to nurse, change diapers, and relax in a private environment. An assortment of supplies will be provided.

The whole family can enjoy carnival rides and games, located on Lincoln and Colfax, Saturday through Monday, presented by KOOL 105. Get the best deal and plan ahead by buying EARLY BIRD wristbands for $15 from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.; they are good until 5 p.m. ALL DAY wristbands can be purchased for $25 from 10:30 a.m. until two hours before closing and are good until closing.

Other attractions located in the center of Civic Center Park include Water Balls (also known as “human hamster balls”), the Eurobungy Trampoline, the Human Gyroscope (also known as the “human gyro ball”), and a ropes obstacle course.

In the Festival of Mountain and Plain area, families can learn about the state’s pioneer past. Featured artisans will demonstrate spinning, lace crocheting, felting, blacksmithing and various demonstrations of Navajo culture including weaving and beading.

A Taste of Colorado is also an opportunity to encourage your children to eat something new, with more than 50 restaurants and food vendors participating at the festival. Many offer a one, two, or three ticket “taste” portion.

Menu items this year that might appeal to more adventurous palates include:

Barbed Wire Reef’s Wild Game Burger and Brat * Bayou Bob’s Fried Alligator * Crepes & Company’s Banalicious Crepe and Chicken, Bacon, & Ranch Crepe *Falafel King’s Falafel Wrap w/Hummus * Gyro’s Corner’s Baklava *HuHot Mongolian Grill & NuHu Mongolian Express’s Teriyaki Warrior Beef *Hot Wok Café’• Chicken Cilantro Dumplings *Rocks Modern Grill’s Smoked Elk Sausage on a Pita * Buffalo Bratwurst on a Pita *Tocabe’s Ground Beef or Vegetarian Indian Taco.

bungyAdmission to A Taste of Colorado is free; festival tickets are needed to purchase all beverages, food, and carnival rides – these are sold in strips of 15 for $10. Tickets can be purchased using cash at any of the ticket booths located throughout the festival. ATMs are located near most ticket booths.

Festival hours are Friday, Sept. 4, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 5, and Sunday, Sept. 6, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Monday, Sept. 7, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Visit or call (303) 295-6330 for more information.

“Green” Aurora Dry Cleaner offering FREE uniform cleaning for First Responders & military

Military families face financial and emotional struggles when their loved ones are deployed, and sometimes those troubles can continue as servicemen and women return home and work to re-adjust to life at home.

That’s why an organization like The Home Front Cares is so important. Founded in Colorado in 2003, The Home Front Cares provides financial assistance to military families in crisis. It’s a cause that Michelle and Everette Lange, owners of Aurora’s $1.99 Any Garment Cleaners, value and understand completely.

military “My husband, Everette, is a military veteran and we have a lot of friends that serve,” said Michelle, who works side-by-side with her husband at the dry cleaners. “We also have a lot of friends who serve as firefighters and in law enforcement.”

It’s because of this that the Langes are proud to support First Responders and military personnel. In order to demonstrate this support, their store, located at 4018 S. Parker Road in Aurora (intersection of Parker Road and Quincy), is offering FREE uniform cleaning for all First Responders and military personnel between Aug. 29 and Sept. 12. In addition, the store will donate $1.99 for every uniform cleaned during this period to The Home Front Cares.

“We understand first hand the sacrifices these selfless individuals and their families make for all of us every day,” said Michelle. “We’ve got to take care of the people who take care of us!”

The couple decided that the National Day of Service and Remembrance (Sept. 11) was the perfect time to launch their new effort. Designated by the U.S. Congress in 2009, the National Day of Service is an annual event encouraging citizens to engage in charitable service as a tribute to the 9/11 victims, survivors and the First Responders who rose up in service in response to the attacks. 

 “We’re gratified and honored by this generous and unique way of demonstrating support for those who serve,” said April Speake, executive director of The Home Front Cares. “The veterans and families we serve deserve every bit of support we can give them. We hope that everyone will take advantage of this fantastic opportunity – because who doesn’t look great in a freshly cleaned uniform!”

 $1.99 Any Garment Cleaners is holding a “kick off” event at the store on Aug. 29 to launch the promotion. The celebration will feature a performance by singer/songwriter Ben Marshal ( from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 “We hope that every First Responder and serviceman and woman will bring us their uniform on Saturday,” Michelle said. “We’re looking forward to cleaning their uniforms but we’re even more excited to meet these wonderful people who sacrifice so much.”

For more information on the event, please visit

 About $1.99 Any Garment Cleaners

$1.99 Any Garment Cleaners, located at 4018 S. Parker Road in Aurora, is the first of several planned metro-Denver locations for this new dry cleaning concept, which combines environmentally safe cleaning services at the same low-cost price for any garment. The company uses the GreenEarth cleaning process, which delivers an impeccable clean without exposing clothes or the environment to harmful chemicals. The GreenEarth process uses liquefied sand, or silicone, as its cleaning solvent rather than traditional dry cleaning chemicals. For more information, visit In partnership with Mile High Mamas.

Toddler’s Priceless Reaction to Her First Summer Rain with Daddy!

If you need to add a bit of magic to your day, this is it.

Dad Don Swift shared this tender moment with his toddler daughter Harper when he took her outside to feel the summer rain for the first time. Her reaction is priceless. 

This YouTube video already has more than 2 million views in just a week.

Girl’s Weekend: Getting down and dirty at Mudderella in Snowmass

Mile High Mamas participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Mudderella. We received complimentary admission to facilitate our review as well as a promotional item to thank us for our participation.

When I was invited to compete at Mudderella in Snowmass with three friends, my first thought was GIRL’S WEEKEND. I’ve never done a girl’s-only getaway and it was the perfect motivation to stay in shape this summer while training for this 5-7-mile athletic event series that encourages being strong, having fun and enjoying the day with your gal pals. I asked my friends Lisa, Kendra and Tiffanie to join me and the hundreds of other women having the Ultimate Girl’s Weekend in Snowmass! 

We dined slopeside on Venga Venga’s deck overlooking Snowmass Mountain and were thrilled to have a bird’s eye view of the Mudderella course. I surveyed an A-frame with ropes, small tunnels and mud pits. “That doesn’t look so bad,” I observed. My friend Kendra countered, “I think that is the [Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder] kid’s course.” Next time, I’m entering as a kid.


I haven’t spent much time in the mud beyond hosing off my children at the end of a summer’s day so I didn’t know what to expect. The night before, we received a text message from organizers boasting this was one of the toughest mountain courses they’d ever designed. I’m sure that might excite some people, but I shared my rules with my teammates to accommodate my irascible right knee: “I have no problem running on flats or on descents but I am not running uphill.” These were my final words as a sane person.

The next morning, we checked in to get our bibs, armed ourselves with STRONG tattoos (it helps when you take the plastic off before applying), drew purple war paint under our eyes and joined the tutu- and boa-clad women in our heat to stretch. Our Team “In Dirt ‘Til the End” (a play on “Endure ’til the End”) started in a slow jog until we realized the relentless course started uphill and, if you will recall, that was against my edict. We slowed our pace down to a brisk hike until we reached Upper Snowmass Village Mall where we jogged through a parking lot until we were greeted with a serpentine trail up the mountain.

I was miserable for the first 1.5 miles as I inwardly fumed “I am tired. Whose idea was this?! Oh wait, mine.”  I was apprehensive about keeping up with my younger and faster teammates who kindly kept pace with me. It wasn’t until after our first couple of muddy obstacles that I started to come out of my fog. “Yes, it’s steep but you love hiking. And you’re in the mountains with your friends. And it’s beautiful. No one is stressed but you so just have fun with it.”

mudderella1And fun we had. The obstacles were my favorite part of the event. We climbed up Tough Tatas (wall climbing with ropes), did the Downward Dog across a trench of mud, had a Surprise Party like no other where we waded through waist-deep muddy waters, navigated Wheels in Motion and got Down to the Wire as we army crawled through mud. I felt much stronger and capable the longer we competed and was on a muddy high as we got down and dirty.

As we neared the end of the course, we encountered a structure that was like a miniature Haunted House of Bubbles. Excited to slip ‘n slide through it, I ignored the signs not to crawl and did just that, banging up my bad knee on a large rock hidden underneath. Tip: If you’re going to get hurt, make sure to do it on the body part that is already injured.

I half-limped/ran the rest of the course to the final obstacle, the Hat Trick. Spectators lined the bleachers as they cheered us up the daunting two-story cargo net wall and we then shot down a slippery, steep slide into a muddy pool. We raced to the finish line, soaking wet, exhausted and exuberant.

Would I do Mudderella again? Absolutely. Would I train more? Most definitely. But was it the best girl’s weekend ever? You’d better believe it. 


We dropped our kids at school on Friday and drove to Aspen. None of us had ever visited the iconic Maroon Bells in the Elk Mountains but from mid-June to October 4th, they can only be accessed by public bus ($6) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. We parked at Aspen Highlands and were delighted when our quirky shuttle driver gave a fascinating history of this glacial valley surrounded by 14,000-foot peaks. We took a leisurely stroll along the Maroon Lake Scenic Trail past the creek through fields of wildflowers, vowing to return when we had more time.

Once back in Aspen we toured the downtown area, marveling at the fountains, eateries, galleries and high-end boutiques brimming with treasures we could never afford while having a blast pretending we could. We drove 20 minutes to Snowmass and checked into Timberline Condominiums, where our specious slopeside three-bedroom condo with a full kitchen had all the fixings and easy access to everything Snowmass had to offer. 


Several of my friends recommended Richard Sandoval’s Venga Venga Cantina and Tequila Bar for dinner. Conveniently located in Snowmass Village, this affordable (by Aspen standards) Mexican restaurant was The Place for a hoppin’ night out as legions of Mudderellas gathered to eat, drink and be [exceedingly] merry (note: the restaurant’s 75 Tequilas and mezcals may have had something to do with that).venga My non-drinking group was all about the food–from the guacamole prepared tableside to the Chicken Zarape (with bacon, panela, pico de gallo, cotija and chipotle sauce), to the Carne Asada (grilled Harris Ranch hanger steak, rajas, chimichurri, chile morita sauce and a sweet corn tamale). For dessert, we may have ordered one of everything–churros, flan, banana empanadas and coconut ice cream.

In our defense, we burned those calories (and more the next day). 

Mudderella Discount

Mudderella has 9 US and two Canadian events planned for 2015 and fingers are crossed it will return to Colorado next year. Be sure to check out for all the latest info. Use the code MUDDBLOGGER20 and receive 20% off any 2015 US Mudderella event!mudderella2



Family Travel: 48 Hours In Aspen on a Budget

As an idealist planning a family vacation, I have a tendency towards Clark Griswold-level expectations.  I envision our family strolling hand-in-hand down a picturesque cobbled-stone street, and quiet children happily entertained as my husband and I read poetry at sunset with evening cocktails.  As laughable as this apparition may be to parents of young children, I found Aspen to be a significant realization of this elusive specter.  Known as the playground for the rich and famous, Aspen also has a growing reputation as an affordable luxury family retreat.  We had the weekend free and wanted to see for ourselves what this alpine mecca had to offer. 

Aspen On A Budget


Yes, Aspen offers Prada and Gucci.  No, this is not recommended for a fun family activity.  However, this is the beauty of Aspen; the luxury of an upscale lifestyle surrounded by a plethora of outdoor activities.  You can literally take an entire day and just visit the parks.  Our family favorite was a tie between John Denver Sanctuary (where his song “Rocky Mountain High” originated) and the playground set in the center of downtown. 


Aspen was designed for biking.  Wide cobblestone streets make for a perfect afternoon excursion, a memory to make even Clark Griswold proud.  Take advantage of the city’s WeCycle bike share program.  Bike stations are located around the city, where you can ‘borrow’ a bike for 30 minutes at a time, after purchasing a pass at a Wecycle station. 




Aspen’s reputation for hiking trails precedes itself.  World renowned, Aspen trails offer free entertainment at its finest.  We ventured on Hunter Creek, which is an extension of the Rio Grande Trail and family friendly–our 4 and 8-year-old kids loved it.  You’ll cross bridges and waterfalls and at the top will gain a view of the valley and surrounding peaks, perfect for a family picnic. If you’d like to venture into the Maroon Bells and surrounding areas, the road is closed between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the summer so be sure to take the public bus for $6 from the Aspen Highlands parking lot (see exceptions).

Also, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies has some great moderate hike recommendations for families, as well as fun and educational kids’ classes and camps.

Affordable Eats

We have two criteria when eating out on vacation.  First, we eat where the locals eat and second, attempt to eat healthy.  Peach’s Corner Café satisfied both criteria.  Peach’s offers gluten-free pastries and casual lunch options, including all natural, organic ingredients.  If you need a lunch on the go, try The Butcher Block, a local’s staple for amazing meat ball sandwiches.  For dinner, we stumbled on Little Annies, reminiscent of a charming mountain cabin.  They offer variety on kid’s meals beyond chicken nuggets, along with home-styled menu options for adults.  Another family favorite was Brunelleschi’s.  An Italian restaurant with make-your-own pizza’s and pretzel’s for the kids.  In theory, this is where the quiet evening cocktail fantasy with happily occupied children comes into play.

Family-friendly Luxury

Beautiful accommodations abound in Aspen at differing price points, the dilemma lies in just choosing one.

The Hyatt Grand Aspen includes kitchen units, balconies and/or fireplaces.  The hotel’s concierge is readily available to procure groceries or other services and housekeeping cleans twice a day.  This means they come in and clean up the homemade puzzle your 4 year old made from hotel’s stationary while you were getting dressed, and will even come back that evening for turn-down service, leaving chocolates for the little puzzle engineer.  The best part of this hotel, in my opinion, is the pool and hot tubs with warmed robes and towels kept in the outdoor robe hut.  This is where my poetry at sunset vision is realized with cocktail in hand as happy kids splash in the heated pool.

The St. Moritz Lodge is a European boutique lodge/ hostel set on the edge of town at the foot of Shadow Mountain.  The views are stunning, and evening social hours take place in the lodge’s ‘living room’ during peak season.  The St. Moritz offers standard room lodge accommodations, along with one and two bedroom condominiums.  They also offer private hostel rooms with shared baths.  The hostel rooms are economically priced with European single bunk beds.  

The Little Nell is Aspen’s only 5 star, 5 diamond hotel and they are intent on ensuring ultimate comfort during your stay down to the smallest details, including children.  Complimentary cruiser bikes are available for guests, and vintage Schwinn tricycles for the very young to cruise to dinner or around town.  The Nell also offers date nights on Monday evenings, including complimentary babysitting.

Reality in Aspen

The best family vacations are those that leave lasting memories.  As close as perfection as this beguiling town is, I found that making memories is all about your attitude.  It rained the entire weekend.  Our last day, we were adamantly set for having a picnic.  The sporadic rain showers weren’t going to hinder our success at attempting a final memory-making moment.  We sat in the middle of Paepcke Park, rain pouring around us as we were covered by a charming little gazebo.  Misty, but happy, we ate our sandwiches in silence, drinking in the magic of the mountain mist creeping across the manicured green lawn.  It was the summum bonum of our family excursion, and a realization that my expectations are all in my perspective, even in the Shangri-la of the Rockies, otherwise known as Aspen. 

Guest blogger Jennifer Fitzgerald is a mom of two darlings and a freelance writer based in Denver.  She is energized by the smell of jet fuel, wet Colorado dirt, steamy lattes, and gooey cinnamon rolls.  Beauty, art, music, and classic literature have always brought her head above the waves.  Jennifer attempts to view life as a feast to be celebrated, a grace to live intimately, and a delight to fully experience. Featured photo: Aspen Chamber

Why I Love to Hate Pinterest (is that real love?)

If you are anything like me, you spend a good chunk of your day surfing Pinterest. I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty crafty lady. I love to sew, create projects, and I love finding new recipes. Then 2012 came along, and someone told me about this magical crafting website that literally had everything you could ever imagine. It was so “cool” to be apart of Pinterest that you actually had to request an account! I will never forget that email that said “You’re in!” My day was filled with images of perfect strawberry pies and 4,000 things you can do with glitter.

I was in craft heaven…I started pinning like it was my job. I even started planning a wedding that I knew wasn’t going to happen for a long time. (We all do it, and if you say you didn’t you are a liar. The Weddings Pinterest Page is heroin for the brain). I found so many recipes for cookies, pastas, and food that was not good for me. I was addicted. That night I even dreamed of Pinterest. I had a problem and I LOVED it. 

December rolled around and we refer to that specific December as the dark month. I baked so many Pinterest cookie recipes off that my boyfriend B and I both gained about 15 pounds. I couldn’t stop–there were so many delicious thing that were screaming at me. They all needed to be made–and they were–I had no shame.

The Love Affair Ends and Begins Again Part I

Next thing I knew it was January. I wanted so badly to continue my Pinterest cookie binge but I knew that was bad for all parties involved.  I sadly deleted the Pinterest app from my phone and before I knew it, I had completely forgotten about Pinterest. Then about a year and a half later I got engaged… I GOT TO PLAN MY PINTEREST WEDDING. I downloaded the app maybe 50 minutes after he popped the question.

Of course, as soon as I started using it for wedding planning I started using it for everything. In three weeks I pinned 147 recipes. (None of them were cookies, thank goodness). I started doing all these DIY projects, and One-pot Meals.

 At this point I realized something and it was really sad. I absolutely SUCK at Pinterst-ing. My One-pot Pasta that was supposed to be a creamy bundle of mushroom, sausage-y goodness, really was a crunchy bowl of over sauteed crap. The “easy” DIY headband from an old T-shirt made me look like a unicorn, and that glitter-covered letter ‘P’ really just made it look like Tinkerbell took a giant glitter dump in my living room. (I’m still finding glitter from that).

The Love Affair Ends and Begins Again Part II

My inner “White Girl” was crying while my outer “white girl” was so mad about being a Pinterest Failure. I felt as though the Glitter Gods were going to take away my North Face jacket, and never let me go to Starbucks again. I went to B crying… All I wanted was to be a Pinterest Goddess, but I ending up being a Pinterest Peasant! I had to take another Pinterest break. I looked at it maybe once a week.

Then again, something exciting happened: I was pregnant and needed nursery ideas. I ran to Pinterest like it was my long-lost lover. I (again) spent HOURS of my life flipping through all the perfect projects people had done. The nurseries were so flawless! When we found out we were having a boy I knew exactly what I was going to do! There was a perfect forest nursery that had deer, and trees and birds. That is what I wanted, no NEEDED to do.

I showed my sister (who is the definition of flawless. Her Pinterest crafts are always perfect and it makes me want to throat punch her… no really, I love you A) the photo, and she was honest with me. (She knows how bad I suck) “The deer will be hard and time consuming”– two words that I love to hate.

She was very optimistic that we could make the trees and a bird or two look really cute. That Saturday she came over ready to paint (but of course her “painting attire” was looked better than anything I had worn in the last 8 months). She outlined the trees and I was left to fill them in and start the branches. She turned her back for 45 seconds and the two branches I had done looked like two Penises crossing. I won’t forget her laugh. I told her I sucked at this whole craft nonsense.

After laughing so hard it hurt, we got back to work. She helped me and my phallic branches head in the right direction. Things were going really well until I decided to try to do a bird. ‘Fat Rodney’ as we so affectionately named him, looked like an uncute duck/something hybrid. My sister tried to save him but there was no hope. Fat Rodney looks terrible but I love him. The rest of our mural looked awesome thanks to my her.

Anyway, I love Pinterest, but I hate that I suck at it. Maybe one day I’ll get my crap together and figure out how to Pinterest but until then Pinterest: I love to hate you.   

Sammie is a first-time mom, full of snark and coffee. Her blog includes ways to save, recipes, crafts, and sometime the occasional rant. Visit her blog at

Denver Deal: National Parks, free museums and more

I recently made the observation that my life really doesn’t get easier when kids go back to school. As matter of fact, it sort of becomes more complicated as we do the dance between three different schedules (and only one car and driver). I do feel like I am the one who went back to school in some ways. Does anyone else feel that way? 

National Parks. Tuesday, August 25th is the National Parks Services’ Birthday and they want you to celebrate! Admission to the National Parks will be FREE that day! Visit one of the great national parks right here in Colorado – Great Sand Dunes, Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde and more! (Plus, don’t forget earlier this year they announced FREE admission to 4th graders).

Clifford the Big Red Dog will be at the Outlets at Castle Rock on Friday, August 28 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. He will be visiting the center to meet his favorite little fans, take pictures, play games and more. Kiddos under 10 years old who come dressed in red to match Clifford will receive a $5 Outlets at Castle Rock gift card! Attendees of this FREE family-friendly event will be able meet and take pictures with Clifford, and enjoy food and games while taking advantage of special back-to-school sales on top of Outlets at Castle Rock’s daily saving of 30-70% off retail prices.

Free Museum. Denver is leading the way to encourage our kids to enjoy the arts. Now, the Clyfford Still Museum joins the Denver Art Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art Denver by admitting visitors 17 and younger for FREE.  Clyfford Still was among the first generation of Abstract Expressionists who developed a new, powerful approach to painting in the years immediately following World War II and the museum is home to about 3,125 works. Adults cost $10 but Friday evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. are FREE.

IHOP. IHOP is offering a short stack of pancakes for just $1 on Tuesday, August 25 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.! No Kid Hungry will benefit too because IHOP will give them 50 cents for every short stack sold (which will give one kid five meals). 

Sonic. Thursday, August 27th Sonic celebrates the end of summer with 50 cent corn dogs all day with no limit. 

Arbys. Arby’s is opening their newest location in Littleton (Mineral and Broadway) with Grand Opening festivities on Tuesday, August 25th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  including the prize wheel, meet Miles (Broncos Mascot) and more. 

Vail Resorts announced the company is reopening registration for its popular Epic SchoolKids program on Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Epic SchoolKids Colorado Pack provides Colorado kindergarteners through fifth graders with four days of free skiing and riding at each of the best resorts in their backyard – Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone. In addition to 16 free days of skiing and riding, Epic SchoolKids also get the opportunity to hone their skills at the ivy league of ski schools with a free full-day beginner lesson and equipment rental in the month of January, outside of holiday periods, as part of Learn to Ski & Ride Month. 
Dry Cleaning Goes Green for $1.99. The new Aurora store $1.99 Any Garment is bringing a new concept to Colorado in the first of several planned locations. The company does not use harsh dry-cleaning chemicals, nor does it charge higher prices for garments based on size or complexity. Every garment, from a pair of slacks to a suit jacket or even a wedding gown costs the same $1.99 price per garment to clean. It’s a pricing model based on volume and is a welcome addition to the Denver-area market.

Kids Consignment Sale Season. Mile High Mamas has published our guide to Children’s Consignment Sales this fall where you’ll get bargains on kids’ clothing for newborn-preteen, toys, strollers, furniture, baby equipment, books, shoes, maternity items and more. 

KrispyKreme Frozen Friday. Get a $1 off a frozen latte or chiller at KrispyKreme each Friday in August (any size). 

Chick-Fil-A. Get a free frozen lemonade at Chick-fil-A on Wednesdays through August from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Free Outdoors Movies and Concerts. Denver is chock-full of great, talented musicians that play around town for free – and what is better than a movie outdoors on a cool summer night among about 500 of your closest friends? Don’t miss our round-up of free outdoor movies and concerts this summer.

Free Denver Walking Tours Denver parents, kiddos, and visitors alike will be able to see and experience downtown Denver in a new way. They’ll be able to take advantage of Denver Free Walking Tours’ new two hour daily tours that leave at 10 a.m. daily, starting in Civic Center Park, then wind through downtown past more than a dozen of Denver’s distinctive landmarks, and end in front of Coors Field. No reservations needed and tours are every day – rain, snow, or shine.  There’s no up-front cost for this fun, educational opportunity for kids and parents but tipping is strongly recommended. If you’d like a tour specifically geared to your kids, Denver Walking Tours offers group tours for a nominal charge so grab your friends for a fun day of learning this summer!


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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.