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Denver’s Top Holiday Events and Light Displays

Denver is positively brimming with family fun in December! To help you get the most out of your holidays, we have compiled a list of fabulous ongoing activities and light displays (for one-time events such as festivals or Parade of Lights, be sure to go to our events page.)

If you’re looking for the best holiday lights in your neighborhood, check-out The Denver Post’s Holiday Lights Map.

What have we missed? Be sure to include your favorite traditions below!

skylineparkSouthwest Rink at Skyline Park 

Nov. 25, 2015-Feb. 16, 2016 
Cost: Free or $2 skate rental
Location: Skyline Park

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. The rink will be open daily from November 24, 2015 – February 15, 2016. Skate rental is $2 – or bring your own pair and skate for free! Free days for kids will take place every Sunday throughout the season.
http://www.downtowndenver.com/winter-in-the-city/southwest-rink-at-skyline-park

Denver Christkindl Market

November 20-December 23, 2015
Cost: Free entry
Location: Skyline Park
What can you find at the Denver Christkindl Market? After skating at the Southwest Rink, head across the street for music, beer & Gluehwein, entertainment, gifts, crafts and of course holiday spirit. Vendors from Europe and the Colorado area share their unique wares with Denver – so be sure to come and join us at Colorado’s only authentic Christkindl market.

Bonus: Hop onto RTD’s Free 16th Street MallRide and head down to Denver Pavilions to ride the beautiful downtown holiday carousel. $3 per ride or FREE with voucher or a canned food donation.

A Hudson Christmas

November 27, 2015-January 2, 2016  
Cost: $8 – $11
Location: Hudson Gardens
Visit the magical Holiday Light Show at A Hudson Christmas. This holiday lights show is a one-mile outdoor path winding through The Hudson Gardens & Event Center in Littleton, Colorado. Tickets include your time walking the Gardens at A Hudson Christmas, wagon rides and visits with Santa!

http://hudsongardens.org/content/calendar2015.php

ZOOLIGHTS1Zoo Lights

December 4, 2015-January 3, 2016
Cost: Prices vary by date: $6-$14
Venue: Denver Zoo Address: 2300 Steele St., Denver, CO 80205

Zoo Lights will nearly double in size this year, spanning 70 acres of Denver Zoo’s campus, with nightly entertainment, animal encounters, Santa meet-and-greets and, of course, illuminated animal sculptures that swing through trees, jump across lawns hide in bushes and appear in places where they’re least expected. 

http://www.denverzoo.org/events/zoo-lights-2015

Polar Express Train Ride

Nov. 12-Dec. 23, 2015
Cost: $35
Colorado Railroad Museum

The story of The Polar Express is being theatrically re-created so you and your family can be immersed in the sights, sounds and intrigue of this classic children’s tale. Prepare to be surrounded by the magic and wonder of the holiday season!

http://coloradorailroadmuseum.org

Trail of Lights

November 27, 2015-January 2, 2016

Address: 8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton, CO 80128
Cost: $6 – $14
Spread throughout Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms, Trail of Lights offers visitors a choice of paths; a shorter route takes visitors directly to the children’s play area, while an extended path allows visitors to explore the Green Farm Barn and silo before continuing onto the children’s area and 1880s homestead. Special features for 2015: three-sided light tunnel, synchronized music in the children’s area, warming hut, fire pit, free hayrides, illuminated antique tractors and holiday entertainment on select evenings. HoloSpex 3D glasses and warm drinks are available for purchase. Santa will visit on select nights.

http://www.botanicgardens.org/events/special-events/trail-lights

Blossoms of Light

Blossoms of Light

Blossoms of Light

November 27, 2015-January 3, 2016
Cost: $6-13
Where: Denver Botanic Gardens,  1007 York St., Denver, CO 80206

Blossoms of Light features new elements, including the return of the grand illuminated O’Fallon Perennial Walk and the Romantic Gardens. Enjoy thousands of twinkling lights throughout the Gardens, as well as the always anticipated HoloSpex glasses. Seasonal entertainment will be available on select evenings, as well as warm drinks and tasty treats.

http://www.botanicgardens.org/events/special-events/blossoms-light

Living Lights

Dec. 10, 2015-January 10, 2016
Where: Butterfly Pavilion, 6252 W. 104th Ave., Westminster, CO 80020
Cost: $6-10
Experience Butterfly Pavilion in a whole NEW light at night! Living Lights is a magical journey through our twinkling tropical rainforest and outdoor glowing gardens! You will be able to experience our hands-on exhibits where you’ll see and learn about our animals’ relationship with light including bioluminescence, fluorescence, and biofluorescence. 

https://www.butterflies.org/visit/living-lights-2015

Homestead Holidays – Golden’s Newest Christmas Tradition

Dec. 3, 2015-Jan. 25, 2016
Cost: Free
Venue: Golden History Museums, Address: 923 10th St., Golden, CO 80401

For the first time ever, Clear Creek History Park will be set aglow for the holidays. Thousands of Christmas lights will illuminate the park and historic buildings—inside and out—for a festive gathering and event space. On Friday, Dec. 4 from 6 – 8 pm (during Golden’s Candlelight Walk) enjoy frontier hospitality and holiday cheer. Holiday lights will be on view from sunset to midnight Dec. 3 to Jan. 25, 2016.

http://www.goldenhistory.org/learn-do/homestead-holidays/

 

christmasA Christmas Carol

Nov. 28-Dec. 28, 2015
Cost: Starts at $49
Where: The Stage Theater

Essential to the holiday season in Denver, A Christmas Carol is a joyous and opulent musical adaptation that traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption.

http://denvercenter.org/shows

Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Nov. 28-Dec. 27, 2015
Cost: $30-$155
Where: Ellie Caulkins Opera House,  1400 Curtis St., Denver, CO 80204

Children and adults will enjoy Colorado Ballet’s 55th annual production of The Nutcracker, featuring fantastic characters, brilliant dancing, exquisite sets, dazzling costumes, classic choreography and Tchaikovsky’s extraordinary arrangement performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra.  This enchanting production brings the timeless story to life and transports audiences to lands of wintertime magic and delicious sweets.  Whether it is your first time or 55th, you and your entire family will adore Colorado’s most spectacular holiday tradition. 

http://coloradoballet.org/performances/the-nutcracker

nutColorado Conservatory of Dance’s The Nutcracker

December 12, 13, 19 and 20, 2015. Special Sensory-friendly performance December 18
Cost: $22-42
Where: Performing Arts Complex at PCS, 1001 W. 84th Avenue, Denver 80260
 
 CCD boasts gorgeous sets and costumes, stunning choreography, professional guest artists from around the world, and ample FREE parking. CCD’s family friendly performance of The Nutcracker is Denver’s only production that invites all children from the audience onstage after the show to learn choreography from the holiday classic. Audience members also have the opportunity to meet the Nutcracker Prince, Clara, and many other characters from the ballet for autographs and photos to complete the magical experience. 

The Story of the Nutcracker

Nov. 21-Dec. 19, 2015 
Cost: $10
Miners Alley Children’s Theatre, 1224 Washington St., Golden, CO 80401

Nearly everyone knows the tale of the Nutcracker, a gift to Marie from her Uncle on Christmas Eve. Sadly, the beautiful nutcracker has been broken and later that night Marie goes to check up on it. To her surprise, it has come alive, and a story-within-the-story begins! The audience is invited to become a part of the Nutcracker story and everyone gets to live happily ever after.

http://coloradotheatreguild.dreamhosters.com

Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum

Dec. 5-21, 2015
Cost: $30 – $40
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Address: 119 Park Avenue West, Denver, CO 80205

Granny’s memories are her gifts to those she loves, but she has forgotten many of her stories and the magical dances she’s seen and performed in her lifetime.  In her youth, she danced in winter festivals honoring the birth of Christ, the African Harvest, the Native American Winter Solstice, the Celtic Yule Time, and Las Posadas in Mexico, Kwanzaa in the United States, the ancient Hebrew Festival of Lights, the Chinese New Year, and the Caribbean’s Junkanoo Day.  Now Granny seeks to relive these memories of rich cultural traditions, bringing them alive again for her grandchildren TiSean and Nakia through dance, live music, and storytelling.

http://www.cleoparkerdance.org/

georgetownGeorgetown Christmas Market

December 5th, 6th, 12, and 13
Cost: Free
Where: 6th Street, Georgetown, Colo.

Each December the town of Georgetown transforms for two weekends into a bustling Christmas scene reminiscent of Christmas of long ago. Thousands come to this tiny mountain town to experience a traditional holiday where Christmas hasn’t changed in 100 years: roasted chestnuts, holiday shopping, horse-drawn wagon rides through historic Georgetown, and wonderful sights and smells. Visitors enjoy appearances by St. Nicholas in his traditional dress and the daily procession of the Santa Lucia. Carolers in Victorian costume, dancers, and other family entertainment provide hours of memorable performances.

https://historicgeorgetown.org/December.html

winteronthemountainWinter on the Mountain

Nov. 30, 2015-January 3, 2016

Cost: From $10

Glenwood Caverns Adenture Park, 51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road, Glenwood Springs, CO

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is delighting guests again this year at Winter on the Mountain with a dazzling display of more than a half million lights, a warming hut decorated as the North Pole, fire pits for roasting s’mores and lighted thrill rides. A giant Christmas tree with a light show choreographed to music takes center stage in the plaza. Holiday visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus and carolers add more cheer. Visitors to this family-friendly, mountain-top park in Glenwood Springs, Colo., find themselves welcomed with Colorado-style hospitality and winter festivities.

Handel’s Messiah

Dec. 18-20
Cost: Varies

Where: Boettcher Concert Hall

Experience the full majesty of Handel’s masterpiece – one of the most revered oratorios of all time – when the Colorado Symphony and Chorus exalt Messiah skyward to soaring new heights.  On Sunday, December 20, join them for the return of the Messiah Sing-Along. After over a decade, here is your chance to sing-along with the renowned Colorado Symphony Chorus for Handel’s glorious masterpiece and truly be a part of the holiday spirit. Come one, come all and join the orchestra and chorus for this specially priced Sunday concert, $25 for adults and $10 for children.

 

Molly Brown House Holiday High Teas

Dec. 11-13, 17-20, 2015
Cost: $20-26
Where: Molly Brown House Museum, 1340 Pennsylvania Street, Denver, Colo.
 
Do you know most of the decorations on the Victorian Christmas tree were homemade? Paper chains, decorated cookies, popcorn and cranberry strings. One special ornament was the “cornucopia,” a paper cone, decorated with cut-outs and ribbon, and filled with candy or small toys. Learn more holiday traditions in the Brown’s decorated home and create your own memories on a special tea with friends and family. Collectible holiday ornament and voucher for future museum tour included with purchase.
 
 

LoDo Aglow

Nov. 27, 2015-Jan. 5, 2016
Cost: Free
Location: LoDo Neighborhood

Following the Grand Illumination on Nov. 27,  visitors can enjoy holiday window displays as part of the LoDo Aglow Window Design Contest. You can even vote for your favorite by text message.

http://www.lodo.org/lodo-aglow-is-coming-to-town/

Hanukkah 101: Traditions, Games and Recipes

Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday that celebrates religious freedom. This year Hanukah begins on the evening of Sunday December 6, 2015 and ends in the evening of Monday, December 14, 2015. Hanukkah is celebrated in the wintertime, near or around Christmas. Though the proximate occurrence of the two holidays is coincidental, it is interesting in that the story of Hanukkah raises questions about how a religious or ethnic community maintains its identity in relation to a broader culture.

The story

In 168 B.C.E., the Jewish holy temple in Jerusalem was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of Zeus. Then, the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus made the observance of Judaism an offense that was punishable by death. He banned circumcision and Sabbath observance and he also ordered all the Jews to worship Greek gods. A group of Jewish rebels called the Maccabees revolted against Antiochus and regained control of the Temple. In order to rededicate it to the singular God of Judaism, they had to light the temple’s Menorah or seven-branched sacred candelabra. To their dismay, the Maccabee soldiers only found one day’s worth of oil remaining in the Temple. Nonetheless, they lit the menorah, and a miracle happened. The small portion of oil burned for the full eight days. Hanukkah celebrates this miracle and is thus also called The Festival of Lights.

Traditions

Lighting the Menorah

jewishA menorah has nine candleholders, eight for the eight nights of Hanukkah plus one for the shamash or helper candle. On the first night of Chanukah, use the shamash to light one candle. One the second night, light two candles, and continue for eight nights, adding another candle each night.

After lighting the candles say the following blessings:

1. Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.
2. Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.
3. (First night only) Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

Spinning the dreidel

jewish1A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top. Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet: Nun, Gimel, Heh and Shin. Together, these letters form the acronym for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, “a great miracle happened there.”

Rules of the game: Each player begins with an equal number of game pieces (usually 10–15). The game pieces can be any small object, such as chocolate kisses or pennies. Each player spins the dreidel once during his/her turn. Depending on which side is facing up when the dreidel stops spinning, the player gives or takes game pieces from the pot:

-Nun = Do nothing.
-Gimel = Take everything.
-Hay = Take half.
-Shin = Put a game piece in the pot.

Eating Fried Foods

It is customary to eat foods that are fried in oil on Chanukah to recall the miracle of the Temple oil that lasted for eight days. Donuts are a popular Hanukkah treat, as is the commonly known and loved potato latke.

An easy latke recipe:

Ingredients:
salt
2 large eggs
2 lbs (1 kg) potatoes
oil for frying

Directions:

Peel and grate the potatoes. Put them straight into cold water, then drain and squeeze them as dry as you can by pressing them with your hands in a colander. This is to remove the starchy liquid, which could make the latkes soggy.
Beat the eggs lightly with salt, add to the potatoes, and stir well. Fill the bottom of a frying pan with oil and heat. Take a large spoonful of the mixture and drop into the hot oil. Flatten a little, and lower the heat so that the latkes cook through evenly. When one side is brown, turn over and brown the other.
Lift out and serve very hot, with applesauce or sugar.

Happy Hanukkah!

Evelyn Becker is a writer, activist and mother who is currently working on her first book, “Three Sabbaths: a memoir of rebellion, repair & love.” “Three Sabbaths” is the story of the spiritual journey that took Evelyn from a frustrated and lonely adolescence in Silver Spring, Maryland’s insular Orthodox Jewish enclave to the healing strengths of nature and a meaningful Jewish family life in the Rocky Mountains. Evelyn lives with her husband and two young children in Denver, Colorado.

Holiday spending survival guide: 7 budgeting tips

Since my divorce and crawling my way out of a terrible financial fix (thanks ex-husband!), I budget for nearly everything. There are a few things around the holidays that can send me for a loop so this year, I have tried to be more mindful of what those things are and budget appropriately. 

  • Wrapping Paper – I typically plan my budget for the presents not the wrapping paper. Some malls in the area (or stores) offer free wrapping when you purchase a gift there. Take advantage of that!
  • Cookie Making – depending on the cookies, some are less expensive to make than others. Can you make great cookies with simple ingredients and not a lot of expensive nuts or chocolate? Maybe even do a cookie exchange with friends or neighbors so you don’t have to buy a lot of unique ingredients.
  • Holiday Dress – Not that I go out that often but I do have one company Christmas party that I attend year after year. It is a dress-up formal occasion. This time of year is great to grab a dress from a consignment store or trade with friends. 
  • Little Gifts – There are a multitude of little gifts that seem to pop up. Gifts for your co-workers, neighbors, baby-sitter, teacher, or boss. (I would say hair dresser here but I usually go to Great Clips/CostCutters etc. so I don’t have a regular person I need to spiff at the end of the year). Even my kids have friends they want to give a little something to – I try to make them budget for this. Little tokens of appreciation add up. My kids and I made personalized coffee mugs a couple years ago. We got mugs at the dollar store and decorated them with ceramic sharpie markers. Easy and fun. 
  • Decorations – I have some decorations that we use year after year, but I often have that string of lights that doesn’t light up or I just want to add a little something new. Plan ahead and use coupons! Michael’s Craft Store, Hobby Lobby, and Ace Hardware usually have coupons that you can use toward decorations. 
  • Photos and Cards – Many people plan their family photos at this time of year, print cards and send. Photography is expensive – not to say that a great professional photographer is worth the money – just saying maybe take those photos in September. Most photo print services like Shutterfly offer huge discounts if you order before the rush (plan for next year!)
  • Food -I’m not talking about the food that you make at home but the lunches out, dinners out and/or take out that you purchase because you have been shopping all day (or are still at the mall).  

It may be too late to plan these expenses already for this year (Hello, end of November – and December Budgeting), but you can put them in your budget next year and save yourself a lot of headache and money.

What tips do you have for staying on budget?

Contest: New Fast-casual BBQ Restaurant Opens (win a $50 gift card)

I’ve been a longtime fan of BBQ but there’s nothing fast about ordering it. In fact, BBQ is best when it’s slow-roasted so waiting a bit longer for quality is part of the expectation. That wait is no longer. CARVE – a new fast-casual concept – is serving up mouthwatering barbecue, cooked low and slow, at their new Denver restaurant.

carve3Located at the bustling intersection of Colorado Boulevard and E. Tennessee Avenue, CARVE serves ethically-raised meats, carved to order, and paired with scratch sides made from fresh local and seasonal ingredients. Choices include chicken ($7.95), pulled pork ($7.45), brisket or bunt ends ($8.95), hot link or Kielbasa ($6.45), vegetarian ($6.45) or St. Louis Ribs ($8.95) with a bevvy of traditional sides with a twist, such as BBQ Potato Salad and Baked Beans with Burnt Ends.

True to its fast-casual claims, we went through the build-your-own meal assembly line and enjoyed sampling barbecue influences from around the country. I particularly loved the burnt ends, my husband was a fan of the brisket while my son inhaled his pulled pork sandwich. Be sure to sample all four sauces: Carolina Gold, Milk, Spicy Hot and Sweet Cherry.

carveThe menu is still being tweaked and I particularly appreciated the Large Takeout and Catering options that range in price from $9.95 to $29.95–perfect for busy moms to grab and go. Though CARVE is family-friendly, I would like to see a kid’s menu and/or smaller portion or half sizes (my son loved his sandwich but couldn’t finish it; I generously obliged by polishing it off. Dessert options are limited to a cookie and banana pudding (both $1.50), the latter of which I’d highly recommend. 

If you’re a  hardcore BBQ aficionado like my husband who smokes his own meats, you likely won’t find their meats smokey enough. But if you’re like me, you’ll appreciate this quick and tasty addition to Denver’s fast-casual dining scene.

Contest

Mile High Mamas is giving away two $50 gift cards for you to try CARVE with your family. Please enter below as many as five times.

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Mothers’ Milk Bank: How to Get Involved

 

For many new moms, the ability to breastfeed their children is a blessing. Some new moms, however, are unable to breastfeed for a variety of reasons. That was the case for Megan Nelson, a breast cancer survivor and mother of two in Arvada.

babyMegan was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer after the birth of her second son, Luke. After undergoing a double mastectomy, Megan was heartbroken that she could not breastfeed Luke as she had with her first son. In order to give Luke his best start in life, Megan relied on donor human milk from Mothers’ Milk Bank (MMB), a Colorado-based program benefitting women and babies nationwide. Now expecting her third son, Megan plans to feed her baby donor human milk from MMB once again.

“Being able to provide my sons with donor human milk has meant so much to my husband and I, but especially to our sons,” Megan said. “Mothers’ Milk Bank has always been professional, and I know that I can trust that the milk they process from donors is safe for my growing boys.”

MMB receives human milk from pre-screened donors throughout Colorado and the U.S. Once at MMB’s Arvada facility, human milk from two or more donors is combined to ensure more consistent fat content and pasteurized to kill unwanted bacteria and viruses while preserving essential nutrients babies need to thrive. MMB’s 1,000 square foot ISO7 lab uses clean room technology, ensuring low-levels of microbial and particulate contamination during the processing of donor human milk so mothers know the milk is safe. The milk is then frozen and prepared for dispensation.

Human milk provides babies with essential immune properties, growth factors, hormones, enzymes and many other important properties that they cannot get from formula. If a mother is unable to provide milk for her baby, human milk banks approved by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) are the next best choice. MMB is a HMBANA member.

In 2014, MMB processed more than 545,000 ounces of donor human milk and plans to process 1 million ounces in the next few years. Ninety percent of the donor human milk MMB processes is distributed to neonatal intensive care units in hospitals across the country for premature or sick babies. The remaining milk is given to babies receiving outpatient care and to families like Megan’s.

milkbank1“For many babies, a human milk donation could be their greatest gift in life, “said MMB Outreach Director Laraine Lockhart-Borman. “Donor milk is the best option when a baby’s mother cannot produce her own milk..

“At Mothers’ Milk Bank, we strive to provide human milk to any baby who needs it,” Lockhart-Borman said. “The human milk donations of generous, breast-feeding mothers allow us to grow our services, helping more babies and their families.”

Megan and countless other recipients are immensely thankful for the gift of donor human milk. MMB welcomes donor milk from women throughout Colorado and most of the U.S. Women interested in donating milk may fill out the donor screening form on MMB’s website at www.milkbankcolorado.org or call 303.869.1888. You can also follow them on Facebook to learn more about human milk, milk banking and how to get involved with MMB. If you would like to learn more about Megan Nelson’s story and MMB, watch this recent 9News story.

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Recycle Your Breast Pump

Medela hopes to recycle 12,000 Medela breastpumps through this initiative that also reduces solid waste and helps protect the environment.  Moms that are ready to part with their pump can visit theMedela website where they can print out a pre-paid shipping label to send their pump to Medela. Medela will  then send all eligible breastpumps to a third-party processing center where they will be broken down and all recyclable parts will be recycled appropriately. To help Medela reach its goal, please visit www.medelarecycles.com and help spread the word! 

Denver Deal: Black Friday!

Maybe my family is weird. After all the Turkey is done, we sit around the table and get out the paper (about the only one I buy each year) to plot the day ahead – Black Friday. My daughter has even joined the fun the last few years – despite her not being a morning person AT ALL. But, with the promise of a Starbucks to start her 4 a.m. day she can handle it. 

Target First Tuesday FREE Day. Tuesday, December 1, head over to the Children’s Museum of Denver for FREE admission from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. to check-out the $16 million expansion.

Black Friday Festivities:

  • Outlets at Castle Rock – On top of the center’s daily commitment to 30-70% off retail prices – Outlets at Castle Rock’s Moonlight Madness sale promises a fun, family-friendly late-night shopping experience for the whole family. Starting Thanksgiving night and running throughout the weekend, shoppers are invited to enjoy: Hourly prizes and trip giveaways, Street party performers including jugglers, roving magicians, balloon artists and face painters, DJ’s and live music from Mass Hipsteria, a pancake breakfast from Flippin’ Flapjacks on Friday starting at 7:30 a.m. Special deals including Ann Taylor Factory – 60% Off Entire Store, Le Creuset – 40% Off, Gap – 50% Off, Restoration Hardware – 30% Off, and many, many more!
  • Best Buy – I recently read that electronics are not a great deal on Black Friday. I beg to differ. The Best Buy ad is chock-full of great TV deals. 
  • Target. Spend $75 on Black Friday get a coupon for 20% off on your next trip (Dec 4-13) or spend $100 Saturday on Holiday Shop you will get $50 with coupon. Speaking of coupons, make sure to clip them as you will get Target gift cards with purchases of Apple Watch, iPhone and iPad.
  • WalMart – WalMart also has TVs on sale (some start as early as 6 p.m. on Thursday evening), select DVDs for as low as $1.96 and light sabers for just $5. I know I will get my daughter a set of PJ’s for just $10! 
  • Old Navy – Old Navy will give the first people in line a chance to win $1,000,000 and the whole store will be 50% off. 
  • Aeropostale – The first 100 people in line at each store will be eligible to win clothes for themselves and their besties for a whole year! Anyone as interested in the Bethany Mota line as my kiddo? Plus you can score 50% off the whole store. 

Online Sales. It used to be that the only way to score a deal was to be at a store at 4 a.m. on Black Friday. But now,  there are several great scores for online sales. Amazon and Overstock promise great deals. But also brick-and-mortar stores like Best Buy and Costco will offer online only specials (with FREE shipping) on Thanksgiving day and Black Friday. Be sure to log-on to see what their offers are. 

Clothes Mentor.  Clothes Mentor in Park Meadows area. will have a special Black Friday sale between 8am and 10 am the entire store will be 40% OFF (Excluding designer handbags/wallets). 

Spot HeroSpotHero is now offering $1 night and weekend parking at the Sheraton in downtown Denver, for a limited time, including Thanksgiving weekend (Fri-Sun). Nights: 4pm – 3am and weekends: 24/7 (Friday 4pm – Monday 3am). Drivers do not need to be hotel guests in order to get the $1 discounted rate. The rate of $1 is per 24 hour period. (Please note: There are two weekends that the rate is not valid: 12/4-12/5 for Parade of Lights and 12/30-1/1 for Decadence at the Convention Center).  

White Fence Farm announced its first eatery expansion in its Colorado history.  The new out post location is conveniently located in Green Valley Ranch and will be open everyday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The new carry out location will have all of the farm favorites including chicken, coleslaw, bean salad, pickled beets, mashed potatoes and gravy, mac n’ cheese and desserts such as farm fresh pies, homemade fudge, delectable brownies and scrumptious rice crispy treats. Farm meals and value packs such as the popular “Farm Hand Pak” and “Picnic Pak” are available. New to the take-out menu are classic biscuits with honey butter. And the people have spoken; corn fritters will be available soon. Green Valley Ranch Blvd, Denver; 720.695.5823whitefencefarm-co.com

Stride Rite. It’s BOGO time (BUY ONE GET ONE 40% OFF) at Stride Rite. Some exclusions apply. See store for details.

Gift With Purchase or Bonus. The extras with a purchase deals are already rolling in. 

  • Lego Store – Get a free exclusive Holiday Train with any purchase of $99 or more.
  • Yard House – Buy $50 gift card get $10 bonus card.
  • California Pizza Kitchen – Buy $50 in gift cards get a bonus $10 promotional card.
  • Target – Get a $10 gift card with a $50 grocery purchase (Through Nov 21)

Starbucks. Starbucks celebrates Merry Mondays through December 7. Members of their free loyalty club can get different deals each Monday. Next week you will get a free holiday bakery item when you purchase a holiday beverage. 

Panera Bread. On these cold days of December a great deal like the 99-cent coffee with purchase offered at Panera (11 a.m. to close) is a great deal to keep you warm!

LiftopiaLiftopia – the largest online and mobile marketplace for ski lift tickets and other mountain activities – is giving skiers and boarders one more reason to celebrate: this Saturday, Sunday and Cyber Monday, everyone can register to win Liftopia gift credits, anywhere from $10 up to $250. Most ski areas are open by Thanksgiving weekend. So, this may be a pre-Christmas present for yourself…time away with the family. 

Belly Bliss. Belly Bliss encourages Mamas to take some time for themselves during this frenetic holiday season. They are offering weekly workshops. Drink wine, eat food and socialize. Maybe even win prizes (they will have some raffle, silent auction, and door prizes at the events). 

Hey Duckee. Holidays are just around the corner and If you have kids or grandkids you’ll love this website www.heyduckee.com. Hey Duckee was started by two women shopping for their own kids and grandkids. It took them all over the world to find quality made items, at affordable prices. You’re sure to find something for every child on your list with their huge selection of toys, clothes and accessories. Not only do they have amazing deals every single day but now through Christmas they are offering FREE SHIPPING with every single order.  

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Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!

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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.

 

Five Ways to Make the Most of Your Art Museum Visit with Kids

When I think about taking my kids to art museums, I get excited, and it’s not because my kids are especially well-behaved, and an outing to an art museum promises to be a cakewalk. My kids are the slightly rowdier kind that incite other people, usually gray-haired and prim looking, to make comments like “aren’t they a little out of control” and “maybe you shouldn’t be here.”

I’m not a glutton for punishment either, so why does taking my kids to art museums excite me so much? Because kids’ minds are like sponges and in art museums they learn critical thinking skills and develop a visual vocabulary. They also learn about art, history, culture, and even science and math. Perhaps the most important reason is that it’s a fun shared learning experience.

So how do you make the most of your visit to an art museum? And how do you make the experience fun and rewarding for you and your kids?

I recently took my children to the Clyfford Still Museum (CSM) and I have a few tips on how to get the most out of your visit to CSM and any other art museum on your list. Admission at CSM (and the Denver Art Museum) is always free for kids under 18, and it’s a real Denver gem.

  1. Consider your kids’ temperaments. Would your child benefit from a trip to the museum without siblings? I decided to take my kids individually on different days. We made it a special date with Mom. You know your child best so plan accordingly.    
  2. Take time to do a little research and look at the museum’s website. You want the visit to be fun, so set the tone by talking about it in a positive way. Look for a few pieces of information that will engage and excite your child.
  3.  Come up with some guidelines with the help of your child. The conversation will vary depending on age, but discuss the importance of respecting the art and the other visitors. You want this to be a fun and successful visit for everyone.
  4.  When you get to CSM, take a minute to look at the building. Let your child feel the hand-poured concrete walls. You can’t touch the art, but you can touch the building. It will give you a tactile experience that you can refer to later when you’re looking at the surface of Still’s paintings. Pick up CSM’s guidebook for looking at Clyfford Still’s art with children at guest services. It’s important to let your child set the pace as you explore the galleries. Ask questions and take turns sharing your thoughts. Consider playing a game like I Spy. Or look at the paintings and try to find all the colors of a rainbow.
  5. Make time afterwards to discuss the visit, and be sure to emphasize how much fun you had. I took my kids for hot cocoa to celebrate the experience. We all agreed that it was one of the best dates we’ve had.

The Clyfford Still Museum is free Friday Nov. 27, 2015 in an effort to encourage culture and personal enrichment instead of shopping.

If Kristin isn’t working or running her two rascally but adorable kids to ballet, soccer, music, and hockey, she’s probably writing in her office that doubles as a laundry room. She blogs as Plain Spoken Mama at https://plainspokenmama.wordpress.com/. If she’s not writing, she’s cooking, reading, exercising (hopefully outside), and debating whether or not to get a dog.

Photo: Loredana Gaudiuso

Colorado Family Ski Directory: Welcome to Our New Ski Section!

Mile High Mamas is a top resources for planning Colorado family ski/ride vacations. Due to the deluge of inquiries we receive, we’re thrilled to launch the Colorado Family Ski Directory that focuses exclusively on families–from daily lift ticket prices to the cost of childcare to where to get the best deals. But we’ve taken it one step further! Click the hyperlink for each resort name below for more in-depth details including additional deals, at what ages kids ski free, lessons, family-friendly activities, area attractions for playtime off the slopes and more.

This is just the basic information you’ll need to get started. To give you a true taste of Colorado’s winter, follow our adventures as we visit area resorts this season in our new ski section and look for the momreview button below for our fun and informative narratives.

Colorado Family Ski Directory 2015/16

Resort Adult Kids Childcare Ski/Ride School Deals
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area $89 $44 (ages 6-14); Kids 5 and under ski free every day. No. Kids class lessons start at $130 for half-day, $155 for full-day. Multi-week programs start at $325. available for kids of all ability levels, age 3 and up. Arapahoebasin.com. Check out their Snowsports and hot deals pages.
Aspen Highlands $139 $89 No on-site childcare Starting at $179 aspensnowmass.com

 

Aspen Mountain $139 $89 No on-site childcare Starting at $179 aspensnowmass.com
Beaver Creek Resort

momreview

$142*  $98*  Full day is $150.  1/2 day is $120 Starts at $190+ beavercreek.com
Breckenridge Ski Area

momreview

$132*  $96 On-site childcare is $124 a day/advanced reservation.  Starting at $147. breckenridge.com
Buttermilk

momreview

$139 $89 The Hideout 7,500-square feet. Half-day starting at $121; full-day $169 Starting at $179 aspensnowmass.com
Crested Butte Mountain Resort

momreview

$108/111 Kids 6 and under ski free, Child (7-12) : $59/$61 Teen (13-17) $97/$100 There is a nursery for 2 months to 3 years old. Full-day starts at $140. Group lesson with lunch starts at $164.  skicb.com deals. Kids ski free November 26, 2015 – December 18, 2015, no strings attached.
Cooper | Chicago Ridge

 

 $50  $30  Childcare $14/hr; $55 for half-day;  $72 for full-day  Child (5-12) all-day Panda Patrol group lessons start at $99 (get 10% off if you reserve online.)  Deals offered at local rental shops, lodges, and grocery stores. Best deals are at skicooper.com.
Copper Mountain Resort $74 Starting at $54. Children 5 and under ski/ride for free. Belly Button Babies & Bakery for daily childcare. Kid’s Night Out is a FREE 3-hour childcare on the condition parents spend at least $30 at the resort. Prices vary, but pre-purchase most lessons online and save 20%! Purchase your tickets at CopperColorado.com and save up to 53% on window prices. You’ll also find lodging steals and vacation packages. 
Eldora Mountain Resort

momreview

$84 Starting at $49/ 5 and under $25 season pass No on-site child care $129 two-hour lesson (lower mountain ticket good for all day + rentals). $99-$129 Mountain Explorer all-day (rentals, lift ticket, hot lunch).  Eldora.com 
Keystone Resort

 

 $94* Starting around $55.*  Ski: Ages 3-14, $175.
Snowboard: Ages 7-14, $175
Riglet Snowboard Lesson: Ages 3-6, $280.
 Pricing begins at $90 for half day.  Keystoneresort.com
Loveland Ski Area

momreview

$65  $28 – peak child (6-14) rate. Children 5 & under are free Full day with lunch and two snacks is $71. Half day (morning only) with one snack is $56. Hourly rate is $16/hour. Full day lesson with lunch, lift ticket and equipment rental for 6-14 is $117. 4-5 is $125 and includes early drop off.  skiloveland.com;
lovelandreservations.co
m; liftopia.com. Any child (4-14) that completes three full lesson packages is eligible for a FREE season pass. 
Monarch Mountain $74 Teen (13-15) $45, Junior (7-12) $30, Children under 6, Free The Children’s Center Rates:
$95 – All-day, $50 – Half-day.
Group ski lessons:

Adults: $55
Junior: $55
Child (Ages 5-6): All-day $100

Monarch ski packages with lodging participants. skimonarch.com

 

Powderhorn Mountain Resort $69 $17 No on-site childcare Children’s Learning Center starts at age 3.

Group lessons start at ages 5-7, with prices starting at $73 for a half-day lesson.

coloradowinecountryinn.com. Learn to Ski or Snowboard Package is $169 for three full days of lift tickets, lessons and rentals: powderhorn.com
Purgatory Resort $85 Teen (13-17) $68; Child (6-12) $53; Children 5 & under FREE $70 half day
$90 full day
$30 Kids Night Out
Half-day lessons $72 (lesson only)
Full Day Packages 6-12 year olds (lesson, lift ticket, rentals (including helmet) & lunch) $154. 
Purgatory Resort’s website features deals on lodging packages that include discounts on lift tickets. PurgatoryResort.com
Ski Granby Ranch $64  Junior 6 – 12 $39/$44, Kids 5 and under ski free No on-site childcare. Age 3 & 4, half day only, starting at $90.
Age 5 – 12, half or full day, starting at $99.
GranbyRanch.com
Snowmass

momreview

$139 $89 The Treehouse Kids Adventure Center. Half-day starting at $121; full-day $169. Starting at $179 aspensnowmass.com
Steamboat Ski Area

momreview

$139 Start at $71.  Kids Ski Free Program for ages 12 and under. Kids’ Vacation Center offers daycare for ages 6 months to Kindergarten. All day program is $129 with advanced online purchase. Kids’ Vacation Center lessons start at age 3. Prices start at $162 with advanced online purchase. www.steamboat.com or call 800-922-2722
Sunlight Mountain Resort

 

momreview

$60 $45/full day; $35/half day; 5 and under ski free Childcare is $100 full day; $55 half-day; $25/hourly. Super Tots: Full Day lesson, lift, helmet, lunch for ages 4-6 is $150. Half-day is $100.

Regular ski school: 2 hour lesson, lift, rentals is $100. 4 hour lesson, lift, rentals is $150.

Kids 12 and under ski free. Affordable Ski, Swim Stay Packages with Glenwood Hot Springs.

SunlightMTN.com

Telluride Ski Resort $114  $68 (regular season)/$72 (holiday); Kids 5 and under ski free  For toddlers (ages 1 – 4). Half day is $60 and a full day is $85. Infant care starts at $70 for a half day and $90 for a full day. Ski/Ride school starts at $185 for a lesson, lift ticket and lunch for ages 3 to 14.  tellurideskiresort.com
Vail  $142  Approx. $98. Kids ages 4 and under ski free.  Small World Nursery offers daycare for children 2 months-6 years.  The Vail Ski & Snowboard School lessons start at $180. Visit Vail.com and purchase tickets 7 days in advance for best prices.
Winter Park Resort

momreview

$113 Approx. $70. Kids 4 and under ski free. Childcare for kids 2 months to 6 years. Half day is available for $109, full day is available for $139. Full day lessons for kids (ages 3-14), including lunch, are $199. Call Winter Park Central Reservations for latest deals and special promos.  800-729-7907.
Wolf Creek Ski Area  $65 $34. Kids 5 and under $6 No Starting at $65 Visit wolfcreekski.com.

*Note: Information and prices are subject to change and most resorts offer discounted rates if you purchase online seven days in advance. Many resorts do not publish a set lift ticket price. When compiling our list, we used the date January 9, 2016 as our base to compare prices.

Featured image: Loveland Ski Area

Activities To Teach “Thankfulness”

It’s the holiday season! What better time is there to teach and encourage thankfulness within your home or classroom. Kids and particularly preschool aged children are notoriously known for being self-centered. Thankfulness, empathy and sharing are all skills that crucial to nixing that preschool aged egocentric behavior, but these are also skills that aren’t inherent, they need to be taught and fostered.

Teaching a child how to be thankful doesn’t only result in a child with good manners, but a child who is thankful tends to be happier, more content and less stressed and depressed. Personally, I can say that is true as I feel much happier when I make a conscience effort to be thankful for all my blessings instead of focusing on all the challenges I’m facing.

So, what can you do at home or within the classroom to foster thankfulness in young kids? Below are five simple and fun activities that you can do with your children. While truly being thankful and understanding thankfulness takes years and repetition, it’s never too early to start!

As I mentioned before, toddlers and preschoolers are egocentric but children as young as 18 months can begin to grasp the concept of thankfulness. Age 2 and older can talk about specific objects or people to be thankful for – my mommy, my football, and so on. Age 4 and older understand being thankful not only for material things like toys or food but for acts of kindness, love, and caring. Take a look below and find an activity or two and book that works for your family. Have fun and Happy Holidays!

5 Activities to Teach Thankfulness

  1. Create a Thankful List- Talking about what your child is grateful each day is a great way to get your child thinking about the good parts of their day. Create a homemade journal (staple paper together to form a book) and have younger child dictate to you what they are thankful for at the end of each day and write it down for them. Older children of course can write it down themselves. If keeping a journal isn’t for your family, try Post-It notes! Have each family member share what they are thankful for and write on Post-It and place on a mirror window etc…Try and make sharing these thankful thoughts a habit and do at consistent times- at breakfast, dinnertime or before bed.
  1. Make Personalized Thank You Notes- Create homemade thank you postcards; this is a great snowy day project! Gather blank 4 x 6 or 5 x 7 index cards and have child “draw” or “scribble” pictures on one side of a to make thank you postcards. An adult can write on the other side a thank you message to the receiver. Just draw a line down the middle of the back of the card using one side for the message and the other side for address and stamp. By having these cards ready to go, it is easy to quickly send a thank you. Sit down with your child along with paper and crayons, to create a picture to give to say “Thank You”. This will lead to an older child naturally knowing to write a thank you note for not only material gifts but for acts of kindness too.
  1. Participate in a Service Project- Participating in an event with your whole family to help someone else makes you thankful for what you have. Perhaps a Canned Food Drive is happening at your church or school. In our city volunteering in food banks and soup kitchens, providing supplies for Homeless shelters, checking in on a Senior citizen, helping at an animal shelter, are just some of the opportunities. Go to volunteer match.org and type in your city to find a way to volunteer. For young children, filling and decorating a shoebox of needed items for a child can help them become aware that not all children have toys, food, or clothes. Shopping and packing the box while chatting about how grateful we are to be able to share with others helps a child to feel like he is contributing. Check out samaritanspurse.org or Military Moms Prayer Group Thank You Package for more information.
  1. Thankfulness Holiday Chain- Remember those red and green paper chains we would made as kids using construction paper about 1 inch wide and 5 inches long that we would glue together in circles and place on the Christmas tree? Make a “Thankfulness Chain” by cutting 1inch by 5inch strips out o construction paper or even old newspaper. Write something you and your child are thankful for on each piece and then see how long you can make your chain by looping circle through previous circle and tape or staple shut. You can also purchase Pre-Cut Christmas Paper Chain strips on Amazon if you don’t want to cut your own.
  1. Donate! Old toys in good shape can be a source of joy to someone else, and out grown clothing can be used by another family. Allowing your child to select a toy or outfit to share with others, is another way for you to share how thankful we are that our family has clothes and toys. Explain in an age-appropriate way that there are people who do not have toys, clothes, or food for numerous reasons – they are sick and can’t work, they live in area of the world that has no water to grow food, etc.

Books: check with your local library

  1. “How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath
  2. “The Blessings Jar: A Story About Being Thankful” by Colleen Coble.
  3. “Bear Says Thanks” by Karma Wilson

Elissa Sungar is the Co-Creator of If Not You, Who?  a free website that offers easy and fun in-home educational activities that help prepare children for kindergarten and life and has a 1.5 year old son!  Her passion for early childhood education grew out of her experience as a pre-school teacher at Stanford University’s Bing24 Nursery School. Elissa loves spending time with her family, hiking, running, tennis, yoga, cute workout clothes, good cheese, great baked goods and exploring Denver!   Twitter: @ElissaINYW

Priceless: Man finds out he’s going to be a grandpa

Mom-to-be Alexa Goolsby found the perfect way to announce the news to her dad that he is going to be a grandfather – by playing Jimmy Fallon’s Whisper Challenge where contestants attempt to lip read a sentence. Her parents are wearing headphones in order to block out sounds and once Dad finally figures it out, his reaction is hilarious!