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30+ Fabulous Fourth of July Recipes

There’s nothing quite like celebrating the Fourth of July as we honor this beautiful country. Don’t miss these delicious and easy recipes for your festivities.  Also, don’t miss 23 Fourth of July events in Denver

Berry Trifle at skinnytaste.com
 

 

Patriotic Funffetti Angel Food Cake at Life With The Crust Cut Off

Fourth of July Desserts. These red, white, and blue festive Patriotic Recipes are perfect to celebrate Independence Day.

 

Yummy Apples at Tidy Mom

Fourth of July Desserts. These red, white, and blue festive Patriotic Recipes are perfect to celebrate Independence Day.

 

Fourth of July Bark at Life With The Crust Cut Off

Fourth of July Desserts. These red, white, and blue festive Patriotic Recipes are perfect to celebrate Independence Day.

 

Fourth of July Drink at Somewhat Simple

Fourth of July Recipes and Festive Decor...Over 25 yummy ideas at the36thavenue.com

 

Blue Moon Ice Cream at Your Homebased Mom

Fourth of July Recipes and Festive Decor...Over 25 yummy ideas at the36thavenue.com

 

Red, White and Blue Strawberry Cupcakes by Bird On A Cake

 

 White chocolate M&M popcorn at Kleinworth & Co.

White Chocolate Popcorn

 

White, red, white, and blue strawberries at Patriotic Desserts

revolutionary-berries-recipe

 

Sandwich Pops at  Living Locurto.

 Easy Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwich Pops by Amy Locurto @ LivingLocurto.com

 

Red, White and Blue Blondie by Your Homebased Mom

M & M Blondies

 

Almond Cherry Mini Cone Cupcakes at Lady behind the curtain

Lady-Behind-The-Curtain-Almond-Cherry-Mini-Cone-Cupcakes-9

 

 

Patriotic Ice Cream cones at Noble Pig

 

Watermelon Stars at cutestfood

 
 Here are 20 other fabulous finds!

1. Wave the flag cupcakes by the Blueberry Council

2. Candy bar flags by Oh Nuts

3. Flag shortbread cookies by Sugary Winzy

4. Mini patriotic parfaits by Bubbly Nature Creations

5. Patriotic peppermint patties by Mom on Timeout

6. Star cookies by Gold Medal Flour

7. Patriotic party dip by Hungry Happenings30

8. Stained glass Jello stars by Brown Eyed Baker

9. American flag cheesecake bars by My Recipes

10. Patriotic white chocolate popcorn by A Pumpkin and a Princess

11. Star brownie sandwich cookies by This Silly Girl’s Life

12. Firecracker cupcakes by Oh Nuts

13. 4th of July Rice Krispie treats by Two Sisters Crafting

14. Patriotic cake pops by Party City

15. Red, white and blue berry trifle by Martha Stewart

16. Red, white and blueberry ice cream pie by Yummy Mummy Kitchen

17. Pretzel flag by Country Kitchen Sweetart

18. Patriotic berry kebabs by Marzetti Kitchens

19. Fondant-topped Rice Krispie treats by Bakingdom

20. Patriotic pudding pops by Meg’s Everyday Indulgence

 

10 Practical Tips for the First Six Weeks of Motherhood

Your little bundle of joy is finally here!  You cannot stop marveling at this brilliant creature that you and your husband have made.  But between the sleep interruptions, the diaper changes and learning your wee one’s feeding habits, you might be feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.  Here are 10 practical tips for surviving the first six weeks of motherhood.

  1. Accept all offers of help. Even if the help is just your mom or mother-in-law coming in to do a load of laundry or deliver a meal or two, take it. If you are financially able to do so, hire a helper so you can concentrate solely on tending to the newest addition to your family.  Your helper should be someone well-versed in looking after a family who has just welcomed a new baby; they will know the specific needs of this special time.  You will be grateful knowing that someone else has taken on the responsibilities of housecleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and meal prep.  In these postpartum days, trying to accomplish your normal routine in addition to getting to know your new baby is difficult, if not impossible.  So accept all offers of support. It will allow you the opportunity to bond with your baby and not have to worry about keeping all the other plates spinning.
  1. Grab sleep when you can. The first six weeks of motherhood are particularly exhausting.  You have just gone through childbirth which is taxing for your body.  You are producing new hormones which have your moods going up and down. Your sleep is irregular and never enough.  Other mothers will tell you that you must sleep when your baby sleeps.  But many new mothers feel they should use the time their newborn is sleeping to play catch-up:  do some laundry, shop for groceries, or clean the house.  Do not be tempted to do these things.  View sleeping as an act of self-care.  The chores can wait (or ask your husband to step in and do these.)  If you do not sleep, everything will seem more difficult and you get prone to the risk for post-partum depression.  When you put your baby down to nap, grab some zzzz’s yourself.
  1. Get outside at least once a day. You will be amazed at how fast a day can go by when all you seem to be doing is feeding, changing, bathing and dressing the baby.  But don’t become tied to your house.   Getting some physical activity and sunshine can do wonders for your postpartum moods. So put on your sneakers, place baby in a stroller or baby carrier, and get outside.  The movement will help your baby to sleep as well as help you feel great.  Leave the house and the unfinished cleaning behind you and tune into the outdoors.  You will feel refreshed and positive when you come back home. 
  1. Don’t buy lots of newborn clothes. Yes, those itty-bitty overalls are adorable.  But you’ll probably get one day’s use out of them.  Babies grow at astounding rates in the early weeks.  Don’t waste your money buying lots of cute outfits.  Do, however, buy double the amount of burp cloths you were planning on purchasing.  You’ll always have one on your shoulder.  And this will cut down on the pressure to do laundry since you will have put in a good stock.
  1. Online shopping is your new best friend. Your outdoor time is better spent strolling with your little one in the sunshine than in a shopping mall.  Shop online for everything you can:  groceries, baby supplies, beauty supplies, and maybe a good book to read as you nurse.  (You’ll soon get the hang of cradling your baby with one arm while you hold a book in the other!)
  1. Know that this emotional roller coaster is completely normal. The first six weeks of new motherhood are filled with hormonal fluctuations which will have an effect on how you are feeling.  In the space of an hour, you can go from euphoria (I love this baby so much!) to crying (I have no idea how to care for her!).  Assure yourself:  you are not cracking up.  You are allowed to feel this way.  Your body is under the influence of a flood of new hormones; it’s just trying to find a balance. 
  1. Eat healthy, with an eye towards post-childbirth healing. This is not the time to go on a strict diet.  Stay away from any headline that boasts how a celebrity recently exited the hospital looking as trim as she was pre-pregnancy.  Remember that if you eat healthy, your baby weight will drop at a normal pace.  Make sure you do remember to eat so that you can keep up with your newborn’s needs and have a good milk supply (if you are nursing).  If you eat a balanced diet, take your recommended vitamins, and get out for some exercise each day, you will return to your pre-baby weight in no time.  Order simple, healthy foods that are easy to prepare when you do your online grocery shopping.  This will make putting together balanced meals easy. 
  1. Buy a couple of changing table pads so you don’t have to return to baby’s room each time she needs a diaper change. This is especially helpful if you live on a multi-level house and baby’s room is upstairs.  Keep a changing pad on a table or sofa in the room where you spend the most time with baby.  Keep a stock of diapers, wipes and lotion there, too.  You’ll save yourself valuable footsteps.
  1. Make your bed each day, and scour the kitchen sink each night. Doing these two small tasks will give you a sense of order when you can’t get to all the household chores.  Having your bed made will set the tone for the day, and having a shiny sink each night will allow you to wake up the next morning (or for the 3:00 am feeding) to something clean.  It’s a small thing, but it goes a long way to help your mood.
  1. Don’t compare your baby’s progress with others. In your mothers’ group you will probably hear lots of bragging:  My baby is holding his head upMy baby rolled overMy baby smiled at me this morning!  If your baby hasn’t yet hit the milestones that other babies seem to be hitting, don’t worry.  Each baby has their own calendar to follow.  Comparison is the thief of joy.   Your newborn’s development is not in competition with anything.  If hearing other mothers brag about their babies’ accomplishments is upsetting to you, avoid these women for now.  Your baby is perfect and will hit her milestones on her own personal timetable.

Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy, happy marriages. Follow her on FacebookTwitterStumbleUpon, Google+ and Pinterest.

Winning Wednesday: Wild Game Entertainment Experience in Longmont and Evergreen

The Wild Game Entertainment Experience is a unique Colorado-based dining and entertainment destination, with great food, beverages, and interactive fun and excitement. Featuring an upscale restaurant and bar, state-of-the-art bowling, bocce ball, billiards, darts, ping pong, foosball, cornhole and an action-packed Game Zone, The Wild Game is the perfect place to celebrate with friends and family.

For kids and adults alike, the Game Zone has dozens of high-tech video and prize games, and a redemption counter stocked with a large selection of cool prizes. Also, The Wild Game has eight regulation-sized bowling lanes equipped with a state-of-the-art scoring system, LED lighting and a huge 22-foot projection screen at the end of the lanes. There are also private rooms for events, parties and business meetings, hosting groups of 10 to 1,000 people.

What’s fun, new or fabulous?

Get the summer started off right with the weekday Summer Fun Pass for kids! For every dollar spent, get $2 in arcade game play. Summer Fun Passes are available for kids 18 and younger, all day Monday through Thursday and until 6:00PM on Fridays. Passes expire Friday, September 1, 2017.

What are your hours?

The Wild Game is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00AM to 11:00PM and Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00AM to 1:00AM.

Ticket prices?

Entrance is free, and adults and kids can purchase as much Game Zone and bowling play as they’d like.

The Wild Game Longmont, 2251 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, CO 80501, Phone: (720) 600-4875,   Website: www.thewildgamelongmont.com

The Wild Game Evergreen, 1204 Bergen Parkway, Evergreen, CO 80439, Phone: (720) 630-8888, Website: www.thewildgameevergreen.com

Contest

Mile High Mamas is giving away a $100 gift card to The Wild Game! You may enter as many as five times.

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Detecting Body Issues in Teens

How many of us are unhappy with our bodies?

Unfortunately, a lot of us will answer this question with a yes. It’s no secret that many of us have agonized in front of a mirror or complained about our muffin tops, stretch marks, bat wings, and more. We often lament to our friends, family, and significant others about our disappointments when we look in the mirror or have to try on clothes. And they all know better than to mention swimsuit season is around the corner.

In fact, researchers estimate that 91 percent of women admit to having negative feelings about our bodies. We all have certain areas that we would love to see tightened or toned which often finds us boarding an unending merry-go-round of dieting and exercising. This unhappiness with our bodies doesn’t only affect us, it can filter down to our children.

As mothers, we lead by example and in our own frustrations we might be inadvertently setting up our children for a lifelong struggle with unhealthy body image issues. Our daughters, and even our sons, are witnessing our attitudes and behaviors when it comes dealing with body image issues. As we avoid mirrors or begin a pity party when it comes to eating a second helping at dinner, our kids are picking up on our cues.

This can develop extreme attitudes and behaviors towards food and weight. If we are aware of this problem, we can take measures to keep our menacing thoughts and comments to ourselves. However, far too often our children are being exposed to negative and unhealthy body ideals online. Their love of social media only adds fuel to the fire when they rely on feedback from peers or others when it comes to deciding how they feel about themselves. This can lead to kids suffering from poor body images and low self esteem.

These problems are widespread in the U.S. and are on the upswing, affecting more and more of our children. Thankfully, with a little awareness we can help detect body image issues before they spiral into dangerous territory and threaten our child’s well being. For more information on detecting body image issues in our teens, please read the following infographic: 

 

How Activities Can Keep Your Kids Healthy and Drug-free

When parents think of summertime, many of them don’t just think of watermelon, sunshine, and the Fourth of July – they’re thinking about their kids’ packed schedules. Summertime is a prime time for many extracurricular activities including baseball and soccer, and that’s a good thing because keeping your kids busy with healthy extracurricular activities is one step toward keeping them away from drugs and alcohol.

According to the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS), youth who participate in extracurricular activities are 1.5 times less likely to misuse prescription drugs, two times less likely to have used marijuana in the past 30 days, and two times less likely to have used illicit drugs.

Part of the positive effect of extracurricular activities is simply keeping kids busy. The more time your child is practicing for the big game or an upcoming dance recital, the less time they have to experiment with drugs and alcohol. In addition, with most extracurricular activities, using drugs or alcohol while participating affects their skills in doing the activity to the best of their ability.

Coaches can also be a positive factor in encouraging kids to avoid drugs and alcohol. According to the 2015 HKCS, a student who has a teacher who cares and encourages them is two times less likely to feel sad or hopeless, two times less likely to misuse prescription drugs, and two times less likely to have used alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs. This extends to coaches and other mentors as well. These community figures, who your child looks up to, can help influence them to make healthy choices.

While extracurricular activities can make summer vacations chaotic and busy, they can also serve to keep your child healthy and drug-free. In the community of Aurora, the Aurora Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (ASAP) invites you to join the Summer Wellness Challenge as a way to track positive activities you are doing as a family and encourage increased conversation and quality time over the summer.

To learn more about  ASAP, visit www.asapaurora.org   For further information to help you have some of these important conversations and for more resources on helping your child stay drug and alcohol-free, check out www.speaknowcolorado.org

By Rachel Uslan, LCSW, Program Coordinator for the Aurora Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, in partnership with Mile High Mamas

Deals: Bike to Work Day, Fourth of July Fun

Fourth of July is probably one of my favorite holidays! In the middle of the summer getting a day to spend with family and friends in the summer sun. Plus, there is just something that still amazes me that the sky lights up – and most of the shows are FREE. (There are some really great paid ones like the ones at the Colorado Rockies Game, Colorado Rapids and Elitch Gardens). Plus, who doesn’t like a good hot dog. Hot Dog eating contest anyone?
 
Chipotle. Bike to Work Day is Wednesday, June 28, and Chipotle Mexican Grill is serving up premium fuel to bikers – Chipotle burritos! To reward pedaling Bike to Work Day participants, Chipotle is offering a buy-one-get-one on any burrito, bowl, salad or tacos. To enjoy a BOGO entrée, burrito-lovers can stop by any Colorado Chipotle restaurant between 10:45 a.m. and 9 p.m. and show their bike helmet or Bike to Work Day flyer. To make it even easier, riders can simply use the Way to Go interactive map and click on a Bike Party Station to find a Chipotle location on their route!
 
Bike to Work Day Fun. Denver B-Cycle and premium meat snacks brand, Lorissa’s Kitchen, are teaming up to put on a day packed-full of events on Bike to Work Day, June 28, including: Free B-Cycle bikes city-wide all day on behalf of Lorissa’s Kitchen; Free Lorissa’s Kitchen samples in Civic Center Park (morning); “Bike with The Bachelors” event (afternoon) Why do I hear “All The Single Ladies” in my head? Plus, Free beer at Ratio Beerworks if you arrive by bike (evening)!
 
Pedal for Pancakes breakfast station from 6:30-9 a.m. in Skyline Park, presented by the Downtown Denver Partnership, features a free hot breakfast of pancakes, sausage, fruit and coffee, bike tune-ups, chair massages, live music by The Wildflowers and other fitness and wellness programs. With 6.6 percent of Downtown Denver commuters choosing to commute by bike each day, Skyline Park is historically one of the largest Bike to Work Day stations in the metro area, attracting an average of more than 500 people.
 
AMC Deal for Teens. Beat the heat this summer with this teen #cupgrade at AMC Theaters. When you show your valid student ID and pay just $5 you get a 20 oz icee Coke and popcorn!
 
Day out With Thomas. All aboard! Thomas the Tank Engine invites little engineers to join him for a day of friendship and family fun at Day Out with Thomas: The Friendship Tour 2017. Children everywhere can spend a day with their friend Thomas when the #1 Engine pulls into COLORADO RAILROAD MUSEUM on July 1-2 and July 8-9, 2017. Day Out with Thomas: The Friendship Tour 2017 is presented by Mattel.
 
Luzia. Check out one of the newest Cirque du Soleil shows, Luzia at a discount from June 26 through July 4. Get 30% off seats in price level 1, 2 & 3 for all shows. Cirque du Soleil has brought LUZIA to Denver! Experience water inside the big top, jaw dropping acts and larger than life props in this unique production unlike any show you have ever seen before. Buy tickets NOW to a show that is guaranteed to be more explosive than the fireworks: click on the following link and save 30% off the price with a special 4th of July offer.  LUZIA is now playing under the big top at the Pepsi Center Grounds.  Get ready to be transported you to a surreal world of wonders.
 
DIA Putt-Putt. I plan to be at DIA a couple times this summer. If you have some time to play around, why not challenge your fellow travelers to a game of putt-putt. From June 1 to June 30 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. try your hand at the 18-hole course on the plaza (between the Westin Hotel and the concourse). Why not? It’s FREE.
 
Fourth of July Fireworks in the Denver area: (Also be sure to check-out 23 Independence Day events in Denver)
·         July 1 at Cramner Park (4501 E 1st Ave) 6 p.m. to midnight
·         July 1 at Four Mile Historic Park. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. old time games, music and watch the Glendale Fireworks
·         July 3 & July 4 at Union Station from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (festivities no necessarily fireworks)
·         Monday July 3 at Civic Center Park  
·         July 3 at Clement Park in Littleton
·         July 4 at EB Rains Park in Northglenn
·         July 4 at Highlands Heritage Regional Park in Highlands Ranch
·         July 4 at Evergreen (+Music Festival)
·         July 4 at Lions Park in Golden
·         July 4 watch the Park Hill Parade starting at 1:30 p.m.
·         July 4 in Arvada at Lutz/Stenger Sports Complex
·         July 4 in Westminster at Westminster City Park
·         July 4 in Aurora at the Aurora Municipal Center
·         July 4 at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver
·         July 4 at Salisbury Park in Parker
·         July 4 at Folsom Field in Boulder
Don’t forget to check out our free concerts and free movies listings for one near you. 

The Arapahoe County Fair Discount. There’s Fair Fun for Everyone at the Arapahoe County Fair July 27-30.  Get online discount tickets now for only $10. It’s fun for the whole herd – UNLIMITED carnival rides, two nights of fireworks, concerts, truck and tractor pulls, high-flying dog shows, barnyard friends, heritage activities, kids corral and more. Hosted at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds and Park, 25690 E. Quincy Ave., Aurora 80016. BUY your tickets today at arapahoecountyfair.com.

Boulder County Farm Tours. Do you want to give your kids a taste of country livin’?  On August 13, enjoy a Sunday afternoon exploring unique farms throughout Boulder County and celebrating our diverse agricultural community with demonstrations, animal petting, tastings, and more. Select farm stands will also be open for fresh-from-the-source purchases. The farm tours are free for kids and if you purchase your ticket by July 1st, adult tickets are just $8.

 
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8 gorgeous places to picnic in Colorado

With our plentiful parks, trails and mountain lakes, Colorado is prime for picnicking. So pack your basket and bring your appetite to these time-tested favorites from Colorado.com.

Kid-Friendly: Wonderland Lake Park, Boulder

Tucked into the base of the foothills in north Boulder, this peaceful park is filled with kid-friendly activities, from first-timer fishing to a playground to easy family hikes around the lake. It’s also a popular paragliding spot, and kids will delight in watching the gliders launch from the top of Wonderland Hills. There’s plenty of open space for family games and kite flying, too, while ramblers can access advanced trails like Mt.  Sanitas and the Flatirons via the park’s trail system.

City Slickers: Cheesman Park, Denver

When spring finally rolls around, Denverites flock to this urban oasis known as “Capitol Hill’s backyard.” Here, the melting snow makes way for Frisbee throwing, people watching and picnicking in droves. Surrounded by high-rises and Gilded Age mansions, Cheesman offers 80 acres of gentle grassy slopes, shade trees and rose gardens. A stately neoclassical pavilion at the park’s highest point makes a nice picnic spot, with views of downtown and the Front Range mountains.

 

A stone’s throw from Aspen’s Main Street, the serene land­scapes of John Denver Sanctuary (featured image) will lull you to linger long after the meal is over. There’s the perennial flower garden, for one, fed by the Roaring Fork River that burbles through this urban wetland. And there’s the strolling path lined with boulders bearing the song lyrics of John Denver, who was a longtime Aspen resident and Colorado poet laureate. After a picnic here, you’ll be on a “Rocky Mountain High” of your own.

History Buffs: Comanche National Grassland, La Junta

This striking landscape of prairies, canyons and pinyon-juniper forest provides rare glimpses into Colorado’s unique history, from dinosaurs to indigenous peoples. Explore brontosaurus tracks, prehistoric seabeds and rock overhangs with petroglyphs carved by American Indians as long as 8,000 years ago. Pristine covered picnic areas at Vogel and Carrizo canyons are perfect starting points for this adventure through time.

Fall Foliage: Cottonwood Lake, Buena Vista

Accessed by an unpaved road that curls into the Collegiate Peaks, this remote alpine lake is glorious whichever season you visit. In the fall, however, the aspen-blanketed hillsides explode in vibrant color, saturating the lake in gold-hued reflections. Snag one of the many picnic tables on the lake’s wooded eastern edge, or take a rowboat out to the middle and savor the silence. 

Epic Views: Mt. Crested Butte, Crested Butte

The “wildflower capital of Colora­do” offers idyllic settings at every turn, but you’ll find unparalleled views from Mt. Crested Butte. Hike up or hop on the Silver Queen chairlift at the base of the mountain for a fun flight to the top; head left and into the woods for a cluster of picnic tables, or venture onto the mountain’s many trails to find a view that inspires you. In July, the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival offers picnic hikes through meadows carpeted with columbines, sunflowers and more. 

A Walk on the Wild Side: Take a Llama to Lunch, Vail

For picnickers who have seen it all, take a walk on the wild side with this animal encounter … and we’re not talking about elk or deer. You’ll embark from Arrowhead Ski Area and wind through forests and wildflower fields to your red-checkered picnic — accompanied by a friendly, lunch-toting llama. These outings hosted by Paragon Guides are great for families with older kids but can be tailored to all ages and skill levels. 

Packing the Perfect Colorado Picnic

Whether you’re a gourmand or prefer the no-frills classics, load up your basket at these cheese shops, food halls and sandwich counters around Colorado.

Cured, Boulder
With two locations in downtown Boulder, Cured is a convenient place to acquire a well-curated meal for your woodsy excursion. Order the aptly named Proper Picnic, a vintage basket stuffed with three cheeses, three meats, a baguette, apple, almonds, chocolate and locally made red-pepper jelly, pickles and olives.

Central Market, Denver
This newly opened food hall and “culinary emporium” is a tantalizing place to forage for a picnic. Stock up on fruits and veggies from the greengrocer, sandwiches and take-out pizzas with toppings like local sausage and roasted garlic.

The Butcher & The Baker, Telluride
Before hitting the San Miguel River Trail and other Telluride picnic locales, pop into this quaint café for bagels and lox, sandwiches with hand-carved meats and fresh-baked pastries

Meat & Cheese Restaurant & Farm Shop, Aspen
Filled with Roaring Fork Valley delicacies, this shop is well prepared for gourmet picnickers. Order a grab-and-go lunch with your choice of sandwich, fruit and chocolate-covered almonds, or a meat-and-cheese board with pickles, mustard, jam and crackers — all packed up for your enjoyment.

Pitas in Paradise, Crested Butte
Portable Mediterranean delights abound at this favorite locals’ hangout. Order what you will from the menu (we like the slow-roasted lamb gyro), but a side of curly fries to snack on — lauded as the best in town — are a must.

Sweetie’s Sandwich Shop, Salida
Choosing from the sprawling sandwich board can be tough, but take solace in knowing whatever you pick will be delicious. Take your order to-go and head to Hecla Junction for an alfresco lunch along the Arkansas River.

Cheese Importers, Longmont
This little slice of Paris in down­town Longmont has a bountiful selection of local and imported cheeses. Pair them with olives from the massive olive bar, cured meats and mouthwatering desserts, and you’ll be snacking happily all day.

The Barista, La Junta
Get your buzz on with a steaming cup of joe, brewed with beans from nearby Pueb­lo’s Solar Roast Coffee while you wait for the cheery folks at The Barista to whip up your carry-out order of sandwiches, wraps, salads or paninis. 

Want More? 

Read 10 Beautiful Places in Colorado99 Gorgeous Places in Colorado: Part 1, The Postcard PlacesPart 2, The Local Favorites and Part 3: The Hidden Gems

The Joy of the Rotary Phone Squee

When I was young, we spent the greater part of our afternoons and evenings in idle gossip. My friends and I would lie on our respective living room couches, or on the carpeted bedroom floors of our suburban ranch homes, and press telephone receivers up against our ears. We’d giggle into what was, back then, a rotary phone, or a fancy new push button model. Those telephones are not like what we have now. They were connected to the wall by a long cord that seemed, to us, like some kind of social lifeline.

And those plastic-wrapped bundles of wire were social lifelines. What traveled along those wires were our complaints, our gossipy stories, our hopes, our mistakes, and our dreams. What traveled along those wires were not just words, but heartfelt vibrations that started in the receiver, traveled down the coiled handset cord that looked like a slinky, and went straight into the hearts of our girlfriends and, if we were lucky, into those of our boyfriends as well.

In this way, we really heard those we were communicating with. Literally. We heard the guffaws and the wisecracks, the long-winded sighs that would have been impossible to translate into any words. We heard when a friend’s voice was about to crack, so we knew when to back off or stray to another topic. We heard not just the words of our friends, but we heard the tone of their souls. We were in no rush.

Now, we rarely talk to people this way. Most of us rarely, if ever, lie on the bedroom floor for hours, chatting about nothing in particular while unconsciously twisting the phone cord around a pinkie finger. In this age of smart phones and social networking, it seems that social sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have completely replaced our time spent listening.  More than anything, social networking is not so much about listening as it is about talking.

What fun is there in reading quirky comments on an electronic page, where the guffaws and voice inflections and all-telling sighs are lost somewhere between the pixels? What fun can be found in the swiftness and concision of a text message? What things are we missing that are hidden between the lines?

The sad answer is that we will never know. Will kids raised on social media ever really know the subtleties of meaningful, yet idle, conversation? There are no texts or Facebook posts, however clever, that can compete with the creative conversational meandering that leads a friendship into new, and unexpected, territory. Not to mention the most important part: it is totally impossible to paint our toes while we tweet.

We use bits and bytes and blips and screens and fonts to isolate and compartmentalize our relationships into something that resembles business. Nowadays, we just want to cut to the chase. We don’t want to waste our time. Or our words. As with the 140 character limit of Twitter, we are inadvertently encouraged by the technology to say as little as possible as quickly as possible. This is not how real relationships are built; this is how business is streamlined. We are mechanizing our relationships; we are bringing them to bare bones.

I wonder if some day we may look back and imagine laughing, sighing, and squealing into a receiver as a quaint mode of the past, much like we today view the sending of a telegram, or even the sending of a stamped personal correspondence via traditional mail (when is the last time you got one of those?). In either case, maybe if we had the willpower we would log off and shut down. Maybe we would toss our cells into the sea, like in that familiar beer commercial. Maybe we would instead pick up a phone that is not counting down our “minutes.”

Although I won’t eschew the “socials” any time soon, I personally vote for a back-to-basics embrace of time spent in idle, pointless chatter. And the kind of chatter I speak of is not the kind found in tweets, but the kind found in a voice that is about to crack. Or in a barely audible “hmmm.” Or best of all, in my very favorite: a high-pitched, girlish, totally pointless, un-translatable and highly inefficient “Squee!”

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 Kara Martinez Bachman is author of the women’s humor essay collection on parenting, relationships and the pros and cons of reaching midlife, “Kissing the Crisis: Field Notes on Foul-Mouthed Babies, Disenchanted Women and Careening into Middle Age.” Her work has been heard on NPR radio and has appeared in dozens of publications, including The Writer, Funny Times, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and many parenting magazines.

Circle With Disney: Does It Keep Your Kids Safe?

With two kids ages 11 and 13, I’ve been on the lookout for the best filtering systems to monitor their screentime this summer.  Though I have yet to find the perfect solution, I have found some really good ones that include Circle with Disney ($99), a 3-inch white cube that connects to your Wi-Fi network which allows you to manage internet content and time kids spent online on their devices at home. 

How It Works

I don’t have the time nor patience to work through a complicated instruction manual and thankfully, Circle with Disney is easily managed through a companion iOS or Android app.  The control panel for all this filtering happens via  Circle Home where you can set individual profile settings, and filter apps by name, category, or device platform.

My husband and I were able to setup limits on screentime through the kids’ gaming consoles, smartphones (or iPods in our case), tablets and computers. Circle with Disney works directly with our home Wi-Fi and gives us the ability to customize a profile for each family member. We can set a time limit for devices, set a regular bedtime (with the flexibility to extend that time) and even pause the Internet.  Circle also has the ability to set individual filter levels for each family member–for Pre-K, Kid, Teen and Adult–that filters out inappropriate content.

Rewards! This summer, my children have often maxed out on their allotted screentime so I like that Circle offers them the option to “earn” more time online. At our house, that is done through doing chores, reading, doing something active like a bike ride and really, any productive time away from their devices.  I just press the button and the kids get a notification letting them know what they received.

Circle also announced a partnership with the chores app, Mothershp, which allows you to enable extended BedTime and extended Time Limits rewards for your kids through customized chores you’ve setup for each child. Note: I did not particularly love this feature because it requires downloading a different app, setting up a new profile and syncing it with your dashboard. 

What I Like

  • The filtering
  • That I can limit the amount of time my daughter spends on sites like YouTube and Instagram every day, and my son’s Clash of Clans addiction is limited to one hour per day. 
  • Being able to pause the Internet whenever I feel like they’re spending too much time on their devices.
  • Bedtime setting for those times I forget to have them turn the devices in to me at night, the WiFi automatically turns off. 
  • Circle Insights lets me track how much time my kids spent online for that day, last week or even last month, listed out per individual site. 

What I don’t like

  • Circle works through our home’s WiFi network but the moment my kids step outside the house, all bets are off. There is a monthly subscription option, Circle Go, where you pay $9.95 per month and you are able to extend Circle’s settings at home to any network by using a VPN on your kid’s mobile device. A VPN, or virtual private network, allows Circle to directly manage the traffic and enable time tracking, filters, and every other Circle feature. https://meetcircle.com/circle-go/
  • I’d love to have a device that gives a history of what my kids are searching for and watching on the Internet and YouTube, not just the amount of time they are spending on each site. The Insights tab gives basic information of what they’re searching i.e. googlevideo.com, but not specifics. 

Overall, I have been pleased with my experience using Circle With Disney and when the kids complain their devices have turned off for bedtime, I know I’m at least doing one thing right in this parenting world. 

Humor: From toddler to sassy tween

Around the time my daughter starts her period, I’ll be ending mine.  We’ll both be acclimating to hormonal changes while my husband stands helpless alone in a sea of fluctuating estrogen and tempers.  Now is the calm before the storm, as my daughter is only 10 and I am theoretically still in childbearing years.
 
From the age of 10 to the age of 14 attitude can change from sassy to downright bitchy.  I’ve seen this ascent into unpleasantness from substitute teaching for grades 4 through 8, hearing it from my friend’s kids and oh yea, I was a pubescent girl once too.
 
Although my daughter has not yet hit puberty physically, her attitude sometimes reminds me of what I would call teenager-ish.  No matter what I say, it’s never an acceptable answer.  For example, the other day she had a physical fitness test in P.E. class and did 12 push ups.  She was upset because earlier in the year she did 19.  I literally debated what to say to her in my mind.  If I said “Twelve is a lot of push ups, you should be proud of yourself,” she would say I was lying because it isn’t good and I was just trying to make her feel better and not taking it seriously enough.  If I said “You can do better next time,” she would say something like, “Oh, you don’t think that’s good enough?” and tell me I’m rude for making her feel bad.  By the way, rude seems to be a trending word for 10 year olds.
 
If I tried to be clever and simply nod and say nothing at all, she would get mad and say I was ignoring her and that is rude too.
 
 Sometimes when I don’t answer her, she’ll tell me I have a rude look on my face.  No honey, that’s my I have to fart face.
 
After deliberation, I made a strong choice and said “Oooh?” which was vague enough to let her continue talking about how mad she was at her friend for not telling her she was doing her push ups the wrong way.  Shifting blame is a great evasion tactic.
 
It occurred to me that I now know how my husband feels.  On the occasions I tell him something and I notice it’s taking him a while to answer, I realize he’s weighing his options.  However, during the few seconds he’s considering which response will keep the peace, I’ve assumed he’s ignoring me.  Who would’ve thought my daughter is turning into…well, me.
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                               Appreciate the quiet times.
Norw: The featured photo is of her as a baby – you can say – the days before she could sass back. A pacifier always helps with that too.
 
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.