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How “Your Alternate Me” Came to Be

I wrote this book to help my 7-year-old self.
 
Really.
 
If I’m being completely honest, I have to admit that at that age I was an emotional eggshell, my psyche easily prone to cracking under any form of criticism or adversity. A few examples I vividly remember that very year:
 
– Breaking my classmate’s pencil in half in a fit of overly-dramatic retaliation for teasing me about having a crush on a girl (which was 100% true)…only to find out he had borrowed said pencil from our teacher.
 
– Being overwhelmed by frustration caused by procrastination (that was caused by perfectionism) in organizing my thoughts to complete an otherwise straight-forward book report.
 
– In spite of testing into the highest-level math group, feeling like a complete fraud after not doing as well on the first quiz as I would’ve hoped.
 
The circumstances themselves weren’t out of the ordinary as far as childhood trials and tribulations go. The way I responded to these and many other situations, however, proved to very significant as time went on—namely how I perceived myself, my environment and my ability to influence their outcomes. 
 
Subsequently, this affected the choices I made well into adulthood, many often characterized by self-doubt and fear. Metaphorically speaking, I would travel along one path with blinders on; occasionally I’d manage to turn my head to catch a glimpse of other roads, ones that I could have/should have diverted onto but held myself back from doing so.
 
(Don’t get me wrong, I am not wallowing in self pity. I have taken accountability for my decisions and have found peace with where I am in life. That being said, I wish I had these seeds of awareness planted in my mind early on–I’m confident they would have served me well down the road.)
 
My writing this book was preceded by a solid year of introspection and immersing myself in the psychology of personal development. To clarify, this does not make me a certified expert in the field, nor would I try to pass myself off as one. I simply created it out of a sincere desire to help kids, especially those who are not unlike the one I used to be, grow up with a greater degree of resilience, conscientiousness and caring. 
 
The title of this book, Your Alternate Me introduces a concept that many are familiar with by some other names:
 
The voice in your head.
Your inner critic.
Your gut instinct.
 
Kids will learn how their alternate me plays a key role in what they think and do, but also how they in turn can influence it. The goal of this book is to teach kids to realize that they are in control of how they think about themselves and the world around them.
 
I’ve since decided that Your Alternate Me will serve as a primer for a series of books, collectively known as Kid Clarity. Each book will incorporate the alternate me theme and focus on a single topic (e.g., procrastination, grit, empathy, etc.). The belief is that by instilling these positive traits into our kids’ awareness now, we set them up for success in the future.

Kid Clarity – Your Alternate Me from Greysn Media Design on Vimeo.

 
In other words, I hope to help children become more mindful thinkers.
 
Ty Ono is a graphic designer/digital-media editor/Broncos & Buffs fan living in the Denver-metro area with all the respect and admiration in the world for stay-at-home moms. He recently wrote and illustrated his first children’s picture book that’s designed to help kids become more mindful thinkers. You can read for free here: http://www.kidclarity.com/free-book

Why I’d Rather Get Mauled by a Bear than Get a Bear at the Mall (theoretically)

During the holiday rush, I was asked what I have against shopping malls. “What are you, some kind of commie?” “You have something against capitalism?!” “Don’t you know that malls are what make the world go round?!”

My answers:
1) Stay on topic
2) Sort of, but we’re talking about my aversion to MALLS
3) Isn’t that taught in seventh grade science?

So let’s examine my mall issues, shall we? I’m not against buying/selling/trading or eating greasy hot dogs on a stick for that matter. Sure, I prefer to buy my Steve Madden platforms online, but that’s just laziness, not fear. Malls are fine. Overpriced, but fine. I don’t even mind the occasional “Excuse me but would you like to sign up for Cricket and receive a free Samsung phone?”

My problem is with the

The Ambition Interviews: You Go, Girl!

The Atlantic has debuted The Ambition Interviews, a fascinating– relatable– new series that explores the diverging paths of women’s ambitions after they leave college through first person accounts. The series of resulting essays paints a picture of the variety of paths taken by nearly 40 women from the same sorority who graduated from Northwestern in 1993; women who by all measures had the means, smarts, etc. to “make it.”

Nearly 25 years after they graduated, the group breaks roughly into thirds: one group of women who prioritized career, and to do so had their partners take on more of the childcare; a second group who balanced work and family, and as a result always feels the struggle; and a third who were mostly stay at home moms.  

The authors’ most striking finding: Every woman in the group followed a near-identical trajectory up until the point she had her first child.

The women of this study are not by any means a representative sample of America, and, in particular it’s worth noting that the group is not racially diverse. What makes this group interesting is not that it tells a complete story of women in America, but that it tells the story of a group of women who– according to conventional wisdom, for better or worse — were in a position to rise to the highest echelons of any industry. Why some did (and why many didn’t) reveals much about what stands in the way of greater gender equality in the workplace today. Here are the links to each essay, chronicling a variety of experiences:  

  1. Introduction

  2. Having It All—and Hating It

  3. When Women Choose Children Over a Career

  4. Rethinking What Success Looks Like

  5. How Much Ambition Can a Marriage Sustain?

  6. Beyond Maternity Leave

  7. The Sexism They Faced

The women behind the series, Hana Schank and Elizabeth Wallace, would be great figureheads to discuss the thinking behind the series and what it means on the heels of Hillary Clinton’s loss as women across the country look to an uncertain future.

Funny Confessions of a Jewish Child at Christmas

With the chocolate money festival (Hanukkah) upon us, it is time to reminisce about growing up in northern Jew Jersey.  Back in the 70’s Hanukkah was a burgeoning holiday for jealous Jewish children begging their parents for presents.  My father reiterated time and again how Hanukkah was not traditionally a gift giving holiday and the rise in commercialism was merely a competition against Christmas in which our family would not participate.  I took that to mean he was cheap.
 
One night when I was in fourth grade, my father mumbled a prayer in what I believed to be fake Hebrew over the electric menorah in our kitchen.  He then handed me a small wrapped present.  My nagging and crying about being a deprived Jewish child had paid off!  My first Rubix cube was a testament to my relentless badgering and hopefully a sign I could guilt my father into buying me stuff.  I was wrong.  After handing me the gift he said, “Don’t expect seven more.”  Lest you feel sorry for me, I will accept your sympathy.  At school, I had to hear the kids brag about getting a cool gift all eight nights.  Even the Maccabees, who had to clean out an entire temple, had a better experience than I.
 
I now have a daughter who has grown up in full blown Hanukkah = Christmas mentality when it comes to getting presents.   Now that I am a parent and realize having a child is a bottomless pit of  debt and unexpected urgent care bills, I empathize more with my father.  I was hoping living in Colorado where you actually have to look for Jews, there wouldn’t be as much pressure to dole out my cash during the holiday season.  Again, I was wrong.
 
During my leaner single years I conjured up my Jewish resourcefulness and found a way to get her an acceptable amount of Hanukkah gifts -the free Santa workshop at a Lutheran church.  While I preserve my  father’s tradition of twisting on the electric menorah candles in the kitchen, I put an end to his practice of robbing a Jewish child of her Christmas gifts.
 
Nancy Fingerhood is a writer, filmmaker and performer originally from New Jersey.  In her blog, Confessions of a Middle Aged Woman Gone Wild, she combines her humorous and honest writing style to discuss relationships, parenting, aging and anything else that catches her attention. She is currently the co-owner of Vivid Impressions Productions, a photography and videography services company based in Westminster. 
 

Denver New Year’s Eve Fireworks, Parties, and Fun

Here are some great ideas for celebrating New Year’s Eve from Visit Denver. 

Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Celebrations

NEW YEAR’S EVE FIREWORKS IN DENVER

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016 (9 p.m. and midnight)
WHERE: Downtown Denver

The sky will once again sparkle over the 16th Street Mall at the close of 2016 with the New Year’s Eve Fireworks Downtown. The two spectacular fireworks shows will occur at 9 p.m. and midnight. For the best viewpoints, stand along the 16th Street Mall. Costumed entertainers will interact with crowds between shows, including magicians, mascots, balloon artists, stilt walkers, comedians and more.

Please note, between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m., RTD Light Rail trains will not cross the 16th Street Mall and mall ride shuttles will stop temporarily during the two fireworks shows.

NOON YEAR’S EVE AT CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF DENVER AT MARSICO CAMPUS

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016 (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
WHERE: Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

Children can experience the excitement, thrills and festive fun of New Year’s Eve in Times Square right here in Denver — all before bedtime! The Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus will be celebrating with glittery ball drops, rainbows of confetti and huge sheets of bubble wrap (the museum’s version of fireworks) for kids to stomp on. After the ball drops, the celebration keeps going with sparkling art projects and heaps of activities on the plaza. 

NEW YEAR’S EVE COUNTDOWN PARTY AT UNION STATION

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016  
WHERE: Denver Union Station

Ring in the new year at the iconic Denver Union Station with, not one, but three New Year’s Eve parties. There’s the Great Hall Silent DJ Party, in which three DJs from New York’s Sound Off will spin beats as guests dance while listening through LED-lighted headphones. Then there’s a speakeasy party on the lower level of the station, with a private party featuring live music by Denver’s Gypsy Swing Revue from 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. Last but not least, celebrate the end of 2016 in one of Denver’s most romantic spots, the Cooper Lounge. Raise a glass at midnight with a complimentary glass of Veuve Cliquot in a commemorative Cooper Lounge Champagne flute.

ZOO YEAR’S EVE

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016
WHERE: Denver Zoo

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

SKATE THE LAKE

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016
WHERE: Evergreen Lake
Spend New Years Eve on Evergreen Lake, rated by CNN and Sunset Magazine as one of the worlds top 10 most beautiful outdoor ice skating rinks! The event is from 6 p.m. to midnight, with a fireworks display at 8 p.m. and midnight to ring in the New Year. Tickets are $20 ($1.50 online service fee, 8 and under free) until 2 p.m. on December 31st, then $25 at the door.  It is highly encouraged you bring your own skates due to the limited availability. A sports helmet is also strongly encouraged.

RESOLUTION 5K

WHEN: Dec. 31 at 3 p.m.
WHERE: Washington Park
Start your New Year’s off with a bang by participating in the Denver’s 32nd Annual Resolution 5K/Walk. All proceeds benefit Volunteers of America Colorado.

WOW!’S NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY

WHEN: December 31; Party #1: 10:00am-12:00pm; Party #2: 1:00pm-3:00pm
WHERE: World of Wonder Children’s Museum
Ring in the New Year a few hours early at WOW! Children’s Museum! Join them for noisemaker crafts, face painting, family photo station, musical performance by Kristin McLean, refreshments, and a special countdown celebration. Cost: $10 per Child $6 per Member Child $5 per Adult

Adult-oriented New Year’s Eve Celebrations

NEW YEAR’S EVE AT CLUB WINGS

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016 (8 p.m. – 2 a.m.)
WHERE: Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

Party in a World War II-era aircraft hangar as Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum hosts an evening of drinks and dancing. DJ Wonder will fill the hangar with a blend of original electronic dance music and exclusive remixes. There will also be performances by Sur Ellz. See the museum’s website for tickets and more information. 

RESOLUTION NEW YEAR’S EVE 2017

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016
WHERE: Curtis Hotel

Held at downtown’s stylish Curtis Hotel, Resolution NYE 2017 features an all-inclusive premium open bar (for those 21 and over), some of Denver’s top DJs and live bands, theatrical performers and glamorous holiday decor. The countdown to 2017 will include a massive balloon drop, confetti and a light show.

WHITE ROSE GALA

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016
WHERE: Ellie Caulkins Opera House,
Denver Center for the Performing Arts
Come in costume! A Roaring ’20s and Great Gatsby theme will make this year’s White Rose Gala a sparkling spectacle. There will be a speakeasy area, multiple levels and balconies, flapper girls, live music from Swing Je T’aime, more than 40 performers and dancing — and it will all end in a confetti blast at midnight, complete with party hats and noise makers.

DENVER’S NEW YEAR’S EVE BLACK TIE PARTY

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016
WHERE: Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel

The Sheraton’s 28,000-square-foot chandelier-studded ballroom will be the scene of dressed-to-the-nines socialites dancing the night away to live music and headliner DJs. Enjoy Vegas-style casino games, a huge confetti blast and Champagne toast at midnight. The hotel promises swift service at several all-inclusive open bars.

DENVER’S GRANDEST NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016
WHERE: Grand Hyatt Denver

Enjoy three parties in one — all with access to a premium open bar, delicious dinner buffet, dancing and a Champagne toast at midnight under a massive balloon drop. The Nacho Men and Club X, two of Denver’s favorite party bands, will entertain, or make your own music with karaoke in Pub 17.

DECADENCE NYE

WHEN: Dec. 30–31, 2016
WHERE: Colorado Convention Center

Global Dance, AEG Live and Live Nation join together to put on a massive dance celebration at the Colorado Convention Center over the course of two nights. Guests enjoy world-class music, performers, diamond-clad decor, glimmering displays of technology and luxurious art installations on the theme City of Decadence.

NEW YEAR’S EVEN AT HOWL AT THE MOON

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016 
WHERE: Howl at the Moon

New Year’s Eve at Howl at the Moon offers everything you need to kiss 2016 goodbye and start the new year with a bang. Dance the night away with the “Just Dance” package, which includes a premium open bar from 7 p.m. to midnight, or upgrade to the “Champagne Supernova” package, which also includes a catered buffet, guaranteed reserved seating and a Champagne toast at midnight. 

THREE-IN-ONE ALL-ACCESS NYE2017

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016 
WHERE: Tryst Lounge

Three LoDo hotspots — The Drink, Tryst Lounge and LaMark15 — will become one mega venue with three different experiences this New Year’s Eve! A single ticket gives you access to all three venues; stay out of the cold while you enjoy two of Denver’s best DJs, a delicious dinner buffet, a Champagne toast at midnight, party favors, door prizes and more.

AN EVENING OF BALLROOM ELEGANCE

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016 
WHERE: Marriott Denver West

Celebrate the end of 2016 with ballroom dancing, cocktails and a splendid, three-course dinner. The night will continue with more dancing and entertainment and end with a Champagne toast to the old year and a nod to the new year at the stroke of midnight.

NEW YEAR’S EVE AT AVANTI F&B

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016 
WHERE: Avanti F&B

Nosh in the new year at Denver’s favorite foodie spot in the Highlands, Avanti Food & Beverage. Six restaurants will be open and serving. Entry is free, and there’s a complimentary Champagne toast at midnight, but food is pay as you go. Enjoy the downtown fireworks from the building’s rooftop deck. Guests can amp up the evening with the VIP unlimited drink package, featuring house wells, wine and beer for $80 per person. VIP tickets can be purchased online.

MEMPHIS TO MOTOWN

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016 
WHERE: Nocturne Jazz & Supper Club

Love music? Then look no further for a soulful New Year’s Eve celebration. Singer Robert Johnson and the Boulder Blues Quartet quartet will be paying homage to the great artists of Stax Records and Motor City. General Admission guests will be offered bar and cocktail tables on a first come, first serve basis, or snag reserved table tickets, which include a special welcome cocktail and a delectable four-course dinner.

DECADES OF DECADANCE 2017

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016 
WHERE: Tavern Downtown

Nab an excellent seat for a fireworks show that’s shot directly from Tavern Downtown’s rooftop, a seven-year tradition that includes the Tavern Olive Drop one-minute countdown. Entry also includes dancing, with four DJs spinning, a photo booth, balloon drop, raffle prizes and entry to the Cowboy Lounge next door. Tickets are $35 each, which includes a beer, Fireball shot, champagne toast and raffle ticket for a chance to win a weekend mountain getaway.

UNMASK THE NIGHT AT COOHILLS

WHEN: Dec. 31, 2016 
WHERE: Coohills

Don your favorite party mask and celebrate the arrival of 2017 with incredible food, cocktails, comfortable seating and a DJ. The blowout bash will begin at 9 p.m., with dancing and music by DJ Benje until 12:30 a.m. An exclusive menu by chef Tom Coohill will feature a raw oyster and shrimp bar, cheese fondue station featuring raclette, truffled duck liver mousse on brioche and hot-smoked salmon (and there will be more deliciousness with passed appetizers and chef’s table fare). Compete for prizes by wearing your most creative mask.

Puerto Rican Eggnog “Coquito” Recipe: A must for coconut lovers!

A couple of years ago,  Today show anchor Natalie Morales toasted her favorite Puerto Rican tradition: Coquito. A popular drink in her native country, she described it as a “coconut version of eggnog.” I love eggnog as much of the next person but anything with coconut is that much better.

After researching several recipes, I found common ingredients of evaporated milk, unsweetened condensed milk, cream of coconut, coconut milk, cinnamon and rum. Since we’re non-drinkers in my family, I made a few adjustments for a nonalcoholic version and my heavens, Coquito really is heavenly and will become a staple for us during the holiday season.

And every other day we have cause to celebrate. Enjoy!

[yumprint-recipe id=’54’]

Four Traditional Latke Recipes for your Hanukkah Celebrations

East Side Kosher Deli is Denver’s premier kosher establishment, featuring a full grocery store, take-out deli, butcher shop, bakery and sit-down restaurant. This holiday season they are offering everything for your Hanukkah needs: candles, dreidels, candy, and toys, as well as fresh daily sufganiot, authentic cookies, and homemade latkes. Today East Side Kosher Deli shares with us a variety of latke flavors, a traditional eat for this time of year. 

Latkes or potato pancakes, are a crispy and yummy reminder of the Hanukkah tale. The story is that when the Jewish warriors made their way into the desecrated Temple, they found only enough oil to light the eternal flame for one day. By miracle, the flame burned for the eight full days. It is because of this that the center of the Hanukkah celebrations focuses on eating food fried in oil, specifically latkes.

Throughout the season, incorporate these flavors into for your Hanukkah celebrations. 

Traditional Potato Latkes

4 large red potatoes, pealed

1 medium yellow onion

1 egg, beaten

4 oz flour

Salt and pepper

Using a food processor or fine hand grater, slice and dice the potatoes and onion. Drain residual liquid from the potato-onion mixture. Add egg, salt, and pepper and mix well. Then sprinkle flour and mix again.

Bourbon and All Spice Purple Sweet Potato Latkes

3 medium purple sweet potatoes (yes they exist), pealed

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon all spice

2 ounces of bourbon

Pinch of salt

3 oz flour

Using a food processor or fine hand grater, cut the potatoes. Drain residual liquid from the potato. Add egg, salt, All Spice and bourbon and mix well. Then sprinkle flour and mix again.

Onion Jalapeno Blue Potato Latkes

3 large blue potatoes, peeled

1 egg, beaten

1 small jalapeno, diced small

3 oz diced onion (red or yellow)

3 oz flour

2 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper

After grating your potatoes, drain liquid from the potato. Add egg, salt, pepper, garlic powder, jalapeno and onions and mix well. Then sprinkle flour and mix again.

Honey Cinnamon Sweet Potato Latkes

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 ounces of honey

3 ounces flour

Salt and pepper

Grate the potatoes, drain, add egg, salt, pepper, cinnamon and honey and stir together. Finally, sprinkle flour and mix again.

Instructions: Using a hot skillet with vegetable oil, scoop from each mixture using a small slotted spoon and carefully place on to hot skillet. Allow each latke to brown on one side then flip and brown the opposite side. When the mixture turns golden, remove and lay on a paper towel to absorb oil. Plate and serve with sour cream and or apple sauce.

East Side Kosher Deli is located at 499 S. Elm Street, Denver. orders@eastsidekosherdeli.com303-322-9862.

Family takes popular Christmas video cards to next level by giving away a car

Micah and Whitney Slade’s family first created a video Christmas card in 2011 and received more than 92,000 views on YouTube.  

This fun family tradition has continued for six years and videos have included food fights and an underwater music video.

But the Slade family has taken it one step further and they have added an element of service for someone in need. This year, they are giving away a 2016 Nissan Versa could go to someone you love. http://www.sladechristmasvideo.com


Check-out their darling videos from years past.

2015

2012

 

2011

 

13 fun things to do in Denver this week

It’s Christmastime in the city. Don’t miss these holiday celebrations including Zoo Lights, A Christmas Carol, Polar Express and more. 

Winter Break at the Denver Art Museum 
Dec 20 2016 – Jan 8 2017 
This Winter, warm up at the Denver Art Museum and spend time with the whole family. The Costume Studio, Create-n-Take stations and the Family Activity Cart will be open daily from December 20 to January 8 throughout the museum complex. Enjoy family friendly theater on select dates at 11 a.m. during special performances of Art Emergency 2: Code Redder.

Denver Pavilions’ Holiday Carousel 
Dec 9 – 23 
Create Memories for years to come at the Denver Pavilions’ beautiful downtown holiday carousel. Cost is $3 per ride or FREE with voucher. Portion of proceeds benefit Food Bank of the Rockies.

Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo 
Dec 2, 2016 – Jan 1, 2017
Zoo Lights is the Rocky Mountain Region’s largest lighting event, spanning more than 70 acres of the Zoo’s campus. A great way to spend the holidays and kick off the New Year with friends, family and colleagues. This is the Zoo’s most anticipated annual event. Included are more than 150 animated animal sculptures, Santa Claus meet-and-greets, choirs, ice carvers, live animal demonstrations and more.

 

A Christmas Carol at Stage Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex 
Nov 25 – Dec 24 
Essential to the holiday season in Denver, A Christmas Carol promises to “warm your heart and renew your holiday spirit” according to the Examiner. Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, this joyous and opulent musical adaptation traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. 

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum 
Nov 10 – Dec 23 
The story of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ is being theatrically re-created at the Colorado Railroad Museum 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!

Winter on the Mountain at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
Nov 11 – Dec 31 
Take a scenic tram ride to the top of Iron Mountain in Glenwood Springs to experience Winter on the Mountain. One of Western Colorado’s largest displays of holiday lights, along with holiday displays, music, fire pits for roasting s’mores, and visits with Santa. Families will enjoy one of the state’s longest Alpine Coasters, a Zip Ride overlooking the Colorado River Valley, laser tag and the states only 4D Motion Theater.

Star Wars™ and the Power of Costume at the Denver Art Museum
Nov 13 2016 – Apr 2 2017 
The characters of the Star Wars™ universe are brought to life through the dramatic presentation of more than 70 original costumes in Star Wars™ and the Power of Costume at the Denver Art Museum. The extensive exhibition closely examines the captivating process of costume design for iconic outfits featured in all seven films—from Queen Amidala’s lavish gowns to Darth Vader’s imposing armor.

Denver Christkindl Market at Skyline Park on the 16th Street Mall 
Nov 18 – Dec 23 
The Denver Christkindl Market transforms Skyline Park into a magical “old world” European Christmas village, with wooden vendor huts, twinkling lights, festival music, and an authentic German Bier Hall. Patrons will be transported to an authentic holiday market like the ones found in German public squares, to shop from thirty featured gift and craft artisans, bakers and chefs, many of whom have come to Denver from around the world.

Santa Express Train at the Royal Gorge Railroad 
Nov 18 – Dec 24 
We’ve all seen the movie Polar Express. Now you can experience the train that takes you to meet Santa Claus himself. The Santa Express Train is a winter wonderland, where children of all ages are encouraged to wear cozy pajamas and relax with family and friends on a journey you’ll treasure year after year.

Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens 
Nov 25. 2016 – Jan 1, 2017
Denver Botanic Gardens is proud to host this annual family-friendly event that has become a tradition! This holiday lights extravaganza features some new elements and includes the grand illuminated O’Fallon Perennial Walk and the Romantic Gardens. Gaze at twinkling lights through their popular HoloSpex glasses and enjoy warm drinks and tasty treats as you stroll this winter wonderland.

Trail of Lights at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield 
Nov 25, 2016 – Jan 1, 2017
Come to Chatfield Farms to see colorful holiday lights illuminate a winding path through the Colorado countryside, set against a stunning foothills backdrop.Trail of Lights offers visitors a path that leads to the warming hut, the children’s area and on to Hildebrand Ranch.

Downtown Denver Grand Illumination 
Nov 25 – Dec 31 
 Downtown Denver’s Grand Illumination event lights up Downtown, from Denver Union Station to the City and County Building. The whole family will marvel at the brightly colored floodlights illuminating the historic structure in the heart of Lower Downtown and its lighted tree in front. Light Exhibition runs through the end of December.

Shrek: The Musical at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center 
Dec 1, 2016 – Jan 8, 2017 
Shrek: The Musical follows this beloved unlikely hero and his wisecracking, best friend Donkey on a journey of a lifetime to rescue a feisty, headstrong princess. Throw in a short tempered bad guy, a cookie with attitude and more than a dozen other fairytale misfits, and Shrek must learn to see the true hero within to succeed.

A Charlie Brown Christmas [Tree]

Like so much in life, maybe you don’t pick your Christmas tree — it picks you.

I’m not sure why our evergreen reached out and grabbed us during our tree-cutting excursion in Park County a couple of weeks ago.

At the time, I was certain of the answer. My husband and I were standing just outside the truck, buttoning, zipping and tying up our kids, when that first slap of icy wind stung our faces. Sometimes, just going to the neighborhood market with a 3-year-old and 2-year-old is enough to induce aisle-rattling meltdowns.

It should have been apparent to us, then, that taking them out in a ground blizzard could spark some sort of toddler angst.