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Important tips for keeping kids safe in the laundry room

This post is in partnership with Tide.

Last month I shared my Nearly-Blinded-By-Bleach story  when, as a tired mom of a newborn, I had an encounter with an unsecured bottle of bleach…and lost.

This is one of the many reasons why Tide’s new advertising campaign resonates so deeply with me. It is dedicated to keeping children safe and making parents aware of potential dangers in the home.

It only takes a second for an everyday item to become dangerous.  Keep these products out of the reach of children. Remember: Keep Them Up, Keep Them Closed, Keep Them Safe.

tide

When my kiddos were born, I wasn’t prepared that part of exploring their new world also meant putting everything in their mouths. What I didn’t know is that “mouthing” is absolutely normal, even beneficial, in a child’s development (my kids were mouthing prodigies). According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one of the developmental milestones for small children is precisely to explore the world around them through their hands and mouth. 

While you shouldn’t try to get your little one to stop mouthing, you instead just need to be aware and on guard. Most of us do a pretty good job with childproofing our homes but often neglect the laundry room and simply opt to keep the door closed.  We need to do more! Just like any other household cleaning product, laundry pacs need to be handled with great care to prevent unintended exposure. To keep kids safe from preventable injuries, P&G partnered with Safe Kids Worldwide, The American Cleaning Institute, and The American Academy of Pediatrics. Together P&G and these groups have raised awareness and educate families about how to prevent injuries related to children and laundry pacs across the country.

A few other considerations:

*Keep these products out of the reach of children between every load.

*After each use, close the container completely and immediately put products away in their appropriate storage location.

*Use a cabinet safety latch as an added security measure to ensure products are not accessible.

*Adults should follow the instructions on the product label.

If your child does put one of these packets in his mouth or gets any in his eye, call the Poison Control Center  at 1-800-222-1222.  For additional information on laundry safety, please visit the AAP’s HealthyChildren.org or SafeKids.org.

13 fun things to do in Denver this weekend

There are plenty of fun events in Denver for the first weekend in April–from the Arvada Kite Festival to free days to the Tulip Fairy & Elf Festival.  Refer to our event calendar for additional information and always double-check the event’s website for any changes.

13th Annual Arvada Kite Festival at Stenger Soccer Complex 
April 2
The Kite Festival includes kite flying (bring your own or purchase one at the event), free kids fun with jumping castles, several face painters, balloon artists, hamster balls and more.

Tulip Fairy & Elf Festival 2016 at Pearl Street Mall 
April 3, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Join the Tulip Fairy as she and her pint-sized helpers celebrate the Tulips that adorn the Pearl Street Mall. The event includes live stage performances, face painting and free activities for children.

New to You Sale at Christ Lutheran Church 
April 1-2
For the full listing of Denver consignment sales: http://www.milehighmamas.com/blog/2016/02/17/consignment-sales-spring-2016/

LEGO Club at the Longmont Public Library 
April 1, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Calling all Lego Lovers! Visit the Library on the first Friday of each month to accept LEG building challenges.

MOPS Annual Consignment Sale at Grace Hill Community Church
April 2 , 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
For the full listing of Denver consignment sales: http://www.milehighmamas.com/blog/2016/02/17/consignment-sales-spring-2016/

Free Day at Denver Art Museum
April 2 , 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
General daily admission to the Denver Art Museum is FREE to all youth ages 18. The first Saturday of each month, the public is free as well.

Repticon Denver Reptile and Exotic Animal Show at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds 
April 2 – April 3
Meet at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds for a weekend packed with a great selection of animals, reptile supplies and merchandise, entertaining seminars and live animal presentations.

Denver Nuggets Family Night at the Pepsi Center 
Aprril 2, 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Sacramento Kings vs. Denver Nuggets

Free Day at the Denver Botanic Gardens 
April 3 , 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Go here for a full list of Denver free days. http://www.milehighmamas.com/blog/2015/12/29/denver-free-days-2016/.

Rhea Lana-Southeast Denver Sale at Cottonwood Square Shopping Center
April 3-7
For the full listing of Denver consignment sales: http://www.milehighmamas.com/blog/2016/02/17/consignment-sales-spring-2016/

Boulder Arts Week 
Mar 25 -April 2
Boulder Arts Week is Boulder’s only large-scale, inclusive celebration of their community’s vibrant arts and cultural offerings.

Free Community Day at the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys 
April 3, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Additional Dates: Sunday, May 1.

2016 Adoption Conference at the Grand Denver Hyatt 
March 29-April 3  
Participants from around the world will converge in Denver, Colorado. 

 New feature: You may now add your own family-friendly event to our calendar.

Feeling Emotional? These Children’s Books *Should Make You Cry

*Sorry, I meant shouldn’t

Hi, friends! Did you wake up this morning and think to yourself, you know what? I really feel like openly weeping today. Yes? Me too!

I have never been an overly emotional person. I mean, I’m not a monster. If you turned on “Homeward Bound” right now, there’s zero chance I’d make it through the ending without sobbing. But something about becoming a parent has made me decidedly more emotional. I’ve cried at cereal commercials! It makes pre-parent sarcastic me so annoyed. It doesn’t help that so many children’s books are tinged with sadness, if not outright depressing.

Here, a collection of my favorites for when you really want to confuse your kid by weeping through story time.

astronautdogLAIKA: ASTRONAUT DOG—Who wants to read a sweet story about a puppy? You bet your kid does, and who wouldn’t? Laika is a cute little guy who goes up in a spaceship and finds a space family to love him! Except … this is based on a real dog, who really did get launched into space, and really died. So next time your kid brings you this cute, heart-warming story, just remember that. Even worse, the scientists who shot his furry butt up there knew he’d die. All Laika wanted was a family who loved him, you guys! Instead, he overheated a million miles from home and died alone.

THE VELVETEEN RABBIT—Nursery magic, what a beautiful concept. What a beautiful, heart-wrenching concept. There aren’t dead dogs in this one, but there is a sense of loss and, for a parent, facing the horrible fact that each child grows up and no longer needs their childhood things. That little stuffed animal your son hugs sweetly during nap time? Just a few more years—or months!—and he’ll outgrow it. And you’ll just be left clutching the discarded lovey and crying softly. I loved this book as a kid, but now I picture my poor mom being forced to read it to me over and over without crying. Sorry, Mom.

loveyouforeverLOVE YOU FOREVER—Apologies, I can’t say more about this one because of THE TEARS. But I will add this: There’s an even more depressing story behind the book. Enjoy!

THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE—If you haven’t yet discovered Emily Winfield Martin’s gorgeous picture books, go get on that immediately. I adore this one, but it makes me tear up. Happy tears! But still. With lovely illustrations, this book imagines all the things your little one could grow up to be, even when times get tough. “When nights are black and when days are gray, you’ll be brave and be bright so no shadows can stay.” How lovely/sad, right?

KNUFFLE BUNNY FREE—Man, we read a lot of Mo Willems at my house. It’s mostly giggle city when it comes to his fun books, but then there’s this one. The third book in his Knuffle Bunny series sees Trixie older and realizing she no longer needs her stuffed bunny. And even worse, Willems ends the book with a bittersweet epilogue to the real Trixie wishing her a wonderful adulthood and predicting Knuffle Bunny will find new life with her own children.

Now if you’ll excuse me. I’ve just been cutting all these onions, you see, and I’m totally having an allergic reaction to, uh, the air, I guess? And there’s something in my eye that definitely isn’t a gallon of tears at the thought of no longer having a little boy who crawls into my lap for story time and rests his soft, sweet-smelling head on my shoulder.

Sob.

Jenny lives in Denver with her husband, son, and two fat tabbies. She’s a mom by day, a writer by night, and a traveler whenever she gets the chance. Follow her on her blog or on Twitter.

Top 5 Reasons Girls Thrive in All-Girls’ Summer Programs – Especially Outdoors!

  1. Strong, Confident Women in Leadership Roles are Great Role Models.

It is an undeniable fact that kids with positive role models and mentors have increased self-esteem and thus do better in school and have more positive relationships.  Studies also show that for girls, having women as role models makes a big difference.  On a Girls’ Wilderness Adventure program, all the instructors are women who are outdoor professionals with years of experience – so girls get to see competent, caring adult women in leadership roles every day.  Girls see that they can truly do anything when they witness our instructors do all the jobs stereotyped as “for guys,” such as navigating from a map or using technical tools to set up a rock climb.  

  1. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.

Fueled by social media and the ever-present smartphone, girl-to-girl bullying grows more rampant each year.  When girls are supported by positive female role models, and given authentic challenges like putting up a tent, or making a camp meal, they learn to come together as a team in a real-life way.  Outdoor activities are naturally engaging and help differences drop away…and girls find themselves making new best friends.

  1. summergirls1Real Connection Happens When We Leave the Phone Behind.

Speaking of the smartphone…how many hours a week does your daughter spend in front of a screen?  What would happen if she spent week in a world without any screens?  If instead, she was surrounded by snowcapped mountains, friends, wildflowers, and campfires?  No mirrors, no place to create a warped identity, only a place to be her best self.  Our alumni regularly tell us how much they like themselves after being out in the wilderness for a week, and we know that the opportunity for true connection without the phone is a big part of the reason!

  1. Strong Body, Happy Girls.

Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies.  This is a statistic we are setting forth to change.  When girls feel the strength of their bodies as they rock climb and hike through the mountains, they see themselves differently. We encourage girls to develop healthy habits in relationship to food and exercise.  Girls leave our courses with a positive sense of how their body appears and beyond that, the power of what they can achieve by being strong and healthy!

  1. The “Play – Emotional Safety – Health” Connection.

Many recent studies have referenced the benefits of play. Play is proven to reduce stress and anxiety and increase opportunities for self-expression and connection.  But we also need to feel safe to be able to let go, play and feel free.  We’ve found that an all-girls environment with instructors trained in facilitating physically and emotionally safe spaces creates wonders for pre-teen and teen girls.  Girls on our programs are able to put aside the stressors of preadolescence and adolescence and just let themselves be kids.  And when needed, to talk about those stressors with a supportive adult.  
Women’s Wilderness and our Girls’ Wilderness Adventures is the only program in Colorado that offers this award-winning programming for girls, ages 8-18!  We have day and overnight camps; spaces are limited – inquire at emily@womenswilderness.org or learn more at www.womenswilderness.org

20 Kid-friendly April Fool’s Day Pranks, Recipes and Ideas

April Fool’s Day is right around the corner! Every year, I start out with good intentions but then I get busy and don’t have time to concoct some elaborate plan of trickery.

So, here are some quick, easy and most importantly, kid-friendly ideas for celebrating April Fool’s Day at your house!

Want to make it educational? National Geographic shares the origin of April Fool’s Day.

20 April Fool’s Day Pranks, Recipes and Ideas!

1. My kids have never forgiven me for the year when I bought some succulent strawberries and dipped them in sugar…only to find out it was salt.

2. Speaking of salt, sprinkle a bit of it on your child’s toothbrushes the night before.

3. Put a couple of very small drops of food coloring on your child’s toothpaste. They won’t notice until they start brushing and their mouth turns a different color.

sleepy4. If your kiddos are deep sleepers, carefully put them in a different bed when they are asleep. There’s nothing like waking up in a difference place.

5. Lunch surprise. Open a small bag of Cheetos from the bottom and replace them with carrots before carefully taping it back up.

6. Open up the lid of your child’s shampoo and put a piece of saran wrap underneath. Nothing will come out when they go to wash their hair.

7. Grüß dich. For older kids, go in and change the language on their smart phone. Just make sure you know how to switch it back!

 8. Stuff some toilet paper into the toes of their shoes so they’ll think they grew overnight.

7. Take down some wall hangings and replace them with your child’s shoes. Or put them in funny places.

8. Swap the cereal in the boxes so they  need to track down their breakfast in the correct box.

9. The night before, pour their cereal and milk into a bowl and freeze. The next morning, they’ll have a frozen surprise when you call them down for breakfast.

10. Turn their room upside down while they’re asleep. Everything from furniture to toys to pictures to books.

11. While they’re sleeping, adjust their alarm clock a half-hour early. This one will go over splendidly well. 🙂

12. Tell your kids to clean their room. When they do it, have a co-conspirator go in and mess it up a bit again. When you go to check their work, laugh at their reaction.

13. Take a rubber band and wind it tightly around the sink’s spray nozzle and leave it aimed at the person’s face. When the water is turned out, they’ll get drenched. Note: be sure to do this one before they get dressed.
 
14. This one is for the husbands. Block the remote signal with a piece of opaque tape.
 
meatloaf cupcakes

meatloaf cupcakes

15. For a fun April Fool’s Day dinner, make meatloaf and put them in cupcake tins and wrappers and top them with colored mashed potatoes that look like frosting.

 
16. Do your kids love chocolate chip cookies? Whip up a batch of mashed potatoes (emit spices and pepper) and mix in some black beans. Bake them as you would cookies and serve. Oh, the anti-climax!
 
17. Do you have someone who checks their email first thing in the morning? Put part of a post-it note over the tracking ball on a computer mouse — it won’t work!  Or, turn up the volume as high as it can go on someone’s computer or radio before they turn it on.
 
18. Hide all the utensils in the house and make the rule everyone has to eat with their hands. Kids will love the break!
 
19. Do your kids love Oreos? Scrape the filling out and carefully replace a few of them with toothpaste.
 
20. Take all their underwear and hang it in embarrassing places around their room. What a memorable way to wake up!
 
 

Deals: Madama Butterfly, Free Days, Consignment Sale and More

What is a good house guest? I had a friend whose plans changed at the last minute. She came to Colorado with her kids. I didn’t learn of them coming until just 4 hours before they arrived (they were driving and they had already been on the road for approx. 12 hours when they texted me they were coming). They stayed at my house (in the snow storm), ate my food, used my TP etc. But this friend NEVER offered to pay anything – including making sure that she told the waitress the ONE night we went out (to Beau Jo’s on the way back from Tubing in Vail where I got her a discount of 50% off!) that the checks were separate. She knows I’m on a budget, she knows I’m a deals blogger (not just because of a lifestyle – but really because I HAVE TO) so am I wrong in thinking that maybe she should have bought at the very least my pizza?
 
Beautiful Junk Sale at Jefferson County Fairgrounds. If you love deals, then 10,500 square feet of bargain-priced items is perfect for you. This semi-annual sale includes jewelry, collectibles, vintage odds and ends, holiday decor and a vast array of household items — all to benefit the Jeffco Action Center.  Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. The sale is open Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission for adults is $4. If you bring two or more non-perishable food donations, you can get $1 off. 
 
PJ Library. Sign up today for the FREE gift of PJ Library (JEWISH Bedtime Stories and Songs)!  Jewish families with children ages 6 months to 8 years are eligible to enroll and will receive one book or CD per family per month. Click here or visit  http://www.jewishcolorado.org/pjlibrary/ to learn more and to enroll your family.  PJ Library is a gift from many generous philanthropists and JEWISHcolorado in partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. 
 
Madama Butterfly. Enter for your chance to win a pair of tickets to see THE MET OPERA: LIVE IN HD 2016 Series on the big screen! Fathom Events presents MADAMA BUTTERFLY with the *live showing* on Saturday, April 2 and *encore showing* on Wednesday,April 6 at select Denver area theatres! Enter by emailing FathomEventsDenver@gmail.com with your name and mailing address with “MADAMA BUTTERFLY” in the subject line by Thursday, March 31 at 5:00 PM. Visit fathomevents.com/event/met1516-madama-butterfly-live for participating theatres and ticket information. #MetHD10Good luck! Tickets are good for one admission at the pre-specified theater chain on 04/02/16 or 04/06/16 and guarantees you a seat at the theater until ten minutes before show time. Passes need to be exchanged at the box office. Tickets cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. Late and/or duplicate entries will not be considered. Limit one entry per household. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via email with how to claim their prize by 04/01/2016 at 12:00 PM. No purchase necessary.
 
Denver Zoo. Denver Zoo is offering a $5 admission, per person, discount to guests arriving between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m., March 12 to April 10 during its celebration, “Spring Break: Journey to South America.” Plus meet the new species to the Zoo, the Lake Titicaca frog, a critically endangered frog the Zoo supports through conservation efforts in Peru!  Admission during this early bird admission hour is $12 for adults (12-64), $7 for children (3-11), $9 for senior citizens (65+). Children 2 and under are admitted free.
 
Fazoli’s, the nation’s largest fast-casual Italian chain unveiled a line of several new menu items as part of a company-wide brand revamp campaign. Don’t worry, the classic Fazoli’s dishes are still available (including unlimited, free breadsticks), but their new menu items include four new Primo Submarinos, as well as three new signature pastas—including a ricotta, parmesan and Romano cheese-stuffed tortellini dish. To kick-off spring, they’ve also rolled out four new delicious salads made with 100% fresh ingredients.
 
FREE DAYS:
·         Denver Art Museum. Spring Break at the Denver Art Museum means fun for the whole family. The Paint Studio, Create-n-Takes and the Backpack Cart will be open every day. Enjoy the family play Art Emergency: Cuentos del Arte on April 2. Kids 18 and under receive free general admission during Spring Break and every day at the DAM, and youth admission to Samurai is $5. The museum is closed on Mondays. Denver Art Museum is FREE on Saturday, April 2.
·         Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys. Celebrating another community day on Sunday, April 3 the museum has a suggested donation of just $1.
·         Denver Botanic Gardens. While the stinky corpse plant is no longer in bloom there is a lot of other great things to see at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Admission is FREE on Sunday, April 3.
·         Chatfield Farms. Chatfield Farms is open and free on Tuesday, April 5
 
Consignment Shops. There are a lot of consignment shops this spring. Score some great deals on new-to-you clothes for you and the kids! See our full round up here.
·         April 1-2. New to You. Friday 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-noon ( half price sale)
$2 admission. At  Christ Lutheran Church, 8997 S Broadway, Highlands Ranch, CO 80129
·         April 2. MOPS Annual Consignment Sale 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.; Admission is $3. At Grace Hill Community Church, 3900 Grace Boulevard, Highlands Ranch
·         April 3-7. Rhea Lana-Southeast Denver. Sunday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Monday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Tuesday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday 9 a.m.-9 p.m. (half-price sale). At Cottonwood Square Shopping Center, 17888 Cottonwood Dr, Parker CO
 

·         Kids Clothes Swap. There are four swaps in the Denver area: Golden (April 2), Lakewood and Broomfield (April 9), and Evergreen (May 2). These are community-wide events where you may bring your gently-used kids clothing, maternity clothes, and other baby items on the Friday before (or bring the day of the swap and lay them out). See their website for details. www.kids-clothes-swap.com.

 Arvada Kite Festival. Enjoy high flyin’ fun at the Stenger Sports Complex (58th and Quail St) Sunday, April 3, 2016; 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. (No rain out date). Enjoy the great spring weather, kites, free family fun, music, booths, activities and food.

Free Tax Help for Families.  Tax Help Colorado will operate 26 free tax sites across Colorado, most of them on community college campuses. The FREE service is offered by IRS-certified college students. Front Range locations include: Aurora Central High School, Adams County Government Center, Front Range Community College in Brighton, Adams City High School, Abraham Lincoln High School, Emily Griffith Technical College, Global Leadership Academy, Manual High School, Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, Thornton High School, Front Range Community College in Westminster, DeVry University in Westminster and Morgan Community College in Fort Morgan and Burlington. 
 
Winter Ski Directory. The Colorado Family Ski/Ride Directory focuses exclusively on families–from daily lift ticket prices to the cost of childcare to where to get the best deals….all in one convenient place so you can compare and contrast. 
 
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Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!
Don’t want to miss any of Mile High Mamas’ contests and events? Be sure to sign up for our weekly email newsletter so you can forward these great deals to your friends.
If you’re on Twitter follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out.
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.

A (loving) parent’s (hilarious) guide to embarrassing your children

In the kids’ younger years, they had no frame of reference regarding just how uproarious and embarrassing I really am. Now at ages 9 and 11, those days are over. I suppose I could be The Good Mom and dial it back a little but since I like to have fun, why not have a bit of enjoyment at my children’s expense?

When I purged my entire house in January, I stuffed everything in garbage bags but have recently been on an obsessive quest for boxes for my blow-out garage sale next month.  There are three options:

1) Buy new. The challenge: I’m too cheap and who wants to waste money on an inanimate object made of cardboard?

2) Stalk Craigslist. We buy quite a few things off Craigslist but I try to avoid it whenever possible. Sure, there are plenty of free boxes posted but they’re rarely in my area and who wants to risk being stuffed in your newly acquired box by a serial killer?

3) Pillage the neighborhood. Trust me, pirates never had this much fun.

Wednesday has become my favorite day of the week because it’s our garage day; recycling is every two weeks and equal unto Disneyland!

Now, lest you think I’m rummaging through my neighbors’ garbage, that’s only partially true. I do have standards, you know. I only take boxes that are either placed beside the trash or sitting on top of the pile. As I’ve earned my PhD. in Box Retrieval, I’ve quickly learned that not all boxes are created equally. Amazon shopping addicts? You are my best friends because those are extremely sturdy and are rarely soiled because they’re dumped directly in the trash. Jumbo diaper  boxes are optimal and I’ve discovered a lot of heavy drinkers in our neighborhood but no judgments because, again, excellent box choices.

I was leaving on my weekly pillage route a couple of weeks ago when my kids looked at me exasperatingly. 

Hadley: “Mom, tell me that you don’t go through our friends’ garages, right?”

Me: “Of course I do, darling. Should I wear my onion goggles so no one recognizes me?”

Hadley: “I won’t answer that.”

If you’re wondering about my goggles, they are my lifesaver whenever I’m chopping onions and n’er a tear has entered my ducts when protected by those babies.

As I was reviewing my picture library, I found some doozies. Did you know onion goggles are beautifully adaptable as dodgeball protective eyewear?

Apparently I have a bit of problem because I found a sordid assortment of eyewear–from pumpkin-themed to mustaches to Vikings.

After receiving the stamp of disapproval for going incognito in my onion goggles, I set out before school. It was a stressful–I was literally one step ahead of the recycling truck but I emerged triumphant with an impressive haul.

The kids had already left our house but I couldn’t resist pulling  up to the bus stop with my SUV literally bursting at the seams with boxes. When they saw me, they tried to run for cover but I innocently beckoned:

“Hadley, do you and your friends want a ride in my BOX CAR?”

She might never recover from the embarrassment. But I will. And can’t wait until next Wednesday.

Camps: Bringing Children’s Imagination to Life at The Art Garage

Did you ever think you or your child would walk into an old car repair garage and be inspired to make art? The Art Garage, located in the Park Hill neighborhood, isn’t just any garage! It is a creative, vibrant space with floor to ceiling chalk boards, cabinets filled with intriguing materials and labeled with vintage signage for a little added charm. The openness of the space combined with the passion of the teachers allows for all types of creativity and artistic experiences. Here, there is no wrong way to create! We offer unique classes that support painting, drawing and sculpting masterpieces of all sizes. In addition to clubs and school day out camps, we spend all year preparing for our week long summer camps. This summer we have some of the most exciting camps we’ve ever offered! Every day is filled with creativity, inspiration, and laughter.

artgarage1The 3-­5 yr old camp are designed much like a preschool; with stories, snacks, and physical activities in addition to the art projects. The range of creative exposure is amazing, from “Monsters Can Read Too” (week two) that looks at the world of friendly monsters in literature and art to “Trailblazers of Today” (week seven) where the campers will look for inspiration from contemporary artists lighting up the art world!

Our 6-­8 yr old camps are challenging and showcase some of our most unique and creative opportunities. We have the old favorites like “Jazzed up Junk” (week 6) but are very happy to bring some fantasy appreciation to The Art Garage in week 4 with “A Home for Your Gnome” exploring handbuilding ceramic techniques.

The Art Garage’s 9­-12 yr old camps are designed around weekly themes that will push student’s imagination while expanding their art skills and techniques. For example, Week 4 “Hogwarts School for the Arts” gives students the chance to create artwork from these magical books written by J.K. Rowling. In Week 1 ‘Where the Wild Things Roam’ campers will explore the largest extinct beasts of the world through step by step drawing and painting instructions.

We are a nonprofit organization w​ho provides a neighborhood community center that brings people together through the Arts. We support cultural, social and educational diversity. After the close of summer camps we continue to provide an array of offerings; such as off­site art programs in the schools, after school classes and birthday parties. Additionally, we have a program called A.R.K. (Art Reaching Kids) that works with both kids, teens and adults facing adversity and often partner with with residential treatment facilities to bring art in a therapeutic way to their residents. You can feel good knowing your money goes back into the organization and community while your kids are expanding their imagination!

artgarage2All of our instructors are professional working artists or art educators with extensive experience working with children. Our instructors are passionate about bringing their love of creating art into the classroom as they have experienced the benefits of the arts first hand and have seen the growth of their students artistically, emotionally and mentally in their classrooms.

The energy that fills each classroom is inspiring and we hope you’ll be able to join us for some creative art camps this summer! ArtGarageDenver.com

To mothers of daughters: The first last time

Mothers of daughters: this is a must-read and captures the depth of the joys and sorrows of mothering our gorgeous girls. Grab the tissues!

“She will do amazing things while you are worrying away the time. She will grow milk teeth and then grown-up ones. She will love the things that you hate and hate the things that you love, and you will drive each other mad–all before she learns to drive.

You will do amazing things, too. You will learn to need less: less sleep, less care, less time. You will give more. You will not say things that you would almost always have said, just to keep the peace. What hard strength there is, in the measurement of unsaid words. You will be in a hurry, to get to the better times, when the times are worn and exhausting. Then you will hold your breath and wish it would all just stop spinning, when you realize how quickly 5 years old became 10 and then 10 years old became 15.

You will cut your own teeth, sharply, on the mothering of this first child. You will do the worst job, this first time. But it will be the purest experience, the one that lives forever in your gut. The one that makes you homesick, always, for the time when she did not know anything but you and it was all so very new and unfiltered.

It will be wonderful and terrible, heartbreaking and tumultuous. You will hate it sometimes and you will love it. You will stand nearby and watch her figure out the balance of things, with the eye of someone so simultaneously invested and so incredibly powerless. It will hurt you more than she can know.

Do not tell her how much it hurts.

One day you will be counting her fingers and her toes, and the next you will see her looking off into some foggy distance and she will be smiling.

And that will be the first time that you realize that she is counting the days until she leaves you, for her first adventure, all alone.”

-Nicole Jankoski, The First Last Time  

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nicole-jankowski/the-last-first-time_b_9429880.html

 
 

New Robot Revolution Exhibit: Top 10 Things to Do

Robot Revolution, the newest awe-inspiring and interactive exhibit from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science opened last weekend after much anticipation. This groundbreaking experience opens our eyes to the capabilities that technology now affords us via robotics while giving us a glimpse into the exciting realities of the not-so-far away future! The exhibit caters to all ages so bring the whole family. We took our five year old boys—this was a snippet of our experience:

I knew we were off to a good start when we encountered a life size R2D2 greeting patrons and offering photo ops at the exhibit entrance. I have to admit, it felt a little like a celebrity siting and I think my boys could have gone home happy after that experience alone!

But in we went…

The exhibit is quite large, be sure to give yourself ample time to peruse the many hands-on elements and intriguing displays.

After watching an exciting game of ‘bot soccer we moved on to maneuver robot “grippers” selecting and picking up objects, steering robots up and down inclines and in and out of tunnels. Directing a little guy to complete maneuvers such as push-ups and karate chops with the touch of a button elicited giggles from all of us.

We spent some time petting PARO, a furry baby seal therapy robot with sensors that responded to our touch. (SO sweet!)  The boys played a robot in tic-tac-toe robot while my husband and I played ‘21’ with a robotic dealer (I won! No cash though :-).

Other highlights included the live, interactive drone show complete with audience participation.  Fascinating for all of us was watching the technicians in action through the glassed-in Robo Garage as they worked on and re-charged the actual robots from the exhibition. The final stop was the most fun—making and experimenting with our own robots with Bee-Bots, Snap Circuits, and Cubelets.  Snapping the various cubes together and discovering how to make them move, stop, spin and light-up was super cool. Think Legos meet remote-control cars with endless construction possibilities. Had to tear them away from that one!

robotHere are the Top 10 Things to Do

  •  Watch soccer ‘bots compete in a match.
  • Experiment with various advanced robot “grippers” to select and pick up objects.
  • Make “eye” contact with ROBOTIS-OP as it follows faces using visual tracking software.
  • Feel PARO, a furry baby seal therapy robot with sensors, respond to your touch.
  •  Try a surgical training simulation to see what it is like to perform robotic surgery.
  • Participate in a live stage show about drones and their emerging capabilities.
  • Play 21 with a Yaskwawa/Motoman dual-arm robot, and compete with Baxter, a robot developed to work alongside humans in factories, in simultaneous games of tic-tac-toe.
  • Control THES, a snake-like ‘bot that can crawl through pipes and alert humans to leaks or system damages.
  • Try on robot costumes, and play and experiment with Bee-Bots, Snap Circuits, and Cubelets.
  • Watch technicians in action through the glassed-in Robo Garage as they maintain the robots in the exhibition.

Again, my boys are not quite five years old; there were certainly some parts of the exhibit that were over their heads but certainly was still worth the visit– they were asking to go back as soon as we left! Slightly older kiddos, (boy and girls), and adults alike will find the technology fascinating and highly entertaining.

The exhibit runs through August 7th and tickets for the general public are now on sale. General visitors pay $23.95 adult, $19.95 senior (age 65+), $17.95 junior/student (ages 3–18 or with a student ID). Museum members receive a discount on admission. Timed tickets will be required and advance reservations are encouraged. Group pricing is available. Be sure to add it to your to summer ‘must-do’ list, if not before!

For more information visit Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Katie Garces is a Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner at Green Plate Kate. A foodie at heart, Katie incorporates a real-food philosophy in her nutrition coaching but loves diving deeper with her clients to round out mind/body wellness including personal development, mindful-living and even spirituality. You can find foodie pics and inspo on Instagram, recipes onPinterest, health and wellness on Facebook. Come check out her private FB group, Sexy, Spiritual & Sane!