background img

Parent’s Guide to Colorado’s Coronavirus Outbreak: Keeping kids busy, school closures and more

Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order closing all of the state’s schools to in-person learning from March 23 to at least April 17 to guard against the spread of the coronavirus and said that we “will limit all mass gatherings to no more than 10 people for the next 30 days unless otherwise extended by the executive director of CDPHE.”

We recently shared these COVID-19 articles:

Children’s Hospital Colorado Answers Your Top Questions

 50 fun things to do when you’re stuck at home during the Coronavirus outbreak. 

What CAN I do during a time of social distancing? 

Incredibly helpful online resources for students and families navigating learning from home

125+ ideas for online learning and fun for kids of all ages

If your children need to stay at home due to the outbreak, HealthyChildren.org suggests trying to keep their days as routine and scheduled as possible. Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Establish daily schedules. Expectations should be clear about when teachers and students need to be logged on. A full day in front of a screen is a lot for kids and teachers, especially for families who may be sharing one device. Many schools are choosing two check-in times – a morning meeting and an afternoon check-in – and then allowing families flexibility about how they organize the at-home school schedule.
  • Address the emotional toll. Check-in with your child, especially those who are less comfortable with digital tools to see if they need any help or someone to talk to. Being sequestered at home can be isolating and exacerbate the fear of dealing with a global crisis. Taking time to check in about feelings of anxiety is just as important as checking on academics. 
  • Keep an eye on media time. Whenever possible, play video games or go online with your child to keep that time structured and limited. If kids are missing their school friends or other family, try video chats to stay in touch.

For younger kids:

  • Read books with your child. It’s not only fun, but reading together strengthens your bond with your child AND helps their development.
  • Make time for active play. Bring out the blocks, balls, jump ropes and buckets and let the creativity go. Play games that kids of all ages can play, like tag or duck duck goose. Let your kids make up new games. Encourage older kids to make up a workout or dance to keep them moving.

Talking to children about C​​OVID-19

There’s a lot of news coverage about the outbreak of COVID-19 and it can be overwhelming for parents and frightening to kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents and others who work closely with children to filter information and talk about it in a way that their child can understand. These tips can help:

  • Simple reassurance. Remind children that researchers and doctors are learning as much as they can, as quickly as they can, about the virus and are taking steps to keep everyone safe.
  • Give them control. It’s also a great time to remind your children of what they can do to help – washing their hands often, coughing into a tissue or their sleeves, and getting enough sleep.
  • Watch for signs of anxiety. Children may not have the words to express their worry, but you may see signs of it. They may get cranky, be more clingy, have trouble sleeping, or seem distracted. Keep the reassurance going and try to stick to your normal routines.
  • Monitor their media. Keep young children away from frightening images they may see on TV, social media, computers, etc. For older children, talk together about what they are hearing on the news and correct any misinformation or rumors you may hear.
  • Be a good role model. COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate and neither should we. While COVID-19 started in Wuhan, China, it doesn’t mean that having Asian ancestry – or any other ancestry – makes someone more susceptible to the virus or more contagious. Stigma and discrimination hurt everyone by creating fear or anger towards others. When you show empathy and support to those who are ill, your children will too.

Parents: Take care of YOUR mental health!

  • Relax your body often by doing things that work for you—take deep breaths, stretch, meditate or pray, or engage in activities you enjoy.
  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do some other activities you enjoy to return to your normal life.
  • Pace yourself between stressful activities, and do something fun after a hard task.
  • Talk about your experiences and feelings to loved ones and friends, if you find it helpful.
  • Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking; consider keeping a journal where you write down things you are grateful for or that are going well.

Stay Informed

Families are encouraged to stay up to date about this situation as we learn more about how to prevent this virus from spreading in homes and in communities. Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment should be your go-to source for the most updated information. 

And most importantly, remember we’re all in this together. Don’t hoard, look out for your loved ones and neighbors (especially those who are elderly) and remember that this, too, shall pass. 

Top Benefits of Bike Camps and Nature 

In this digital age, the need for children to be engaged in physical activity is more important than ever. Because biking is so fun, it’s an activity they can do for an extended period of time while experiencing the benefits without realizing it. Biking also brings friends and family together as they enjoy the outdoors together and create wonderful memories.  

Here are some of the main benefits of going to bike camps as they learn to ride: 

Increases stamina  

As kids cycle and increase their heart rate, they are exercising their body and cardiovascular muscles, which increases their stamina. This will give them the energy to do other activities for a longer period of time.

Relieves stress 

Sitting most of the day at school and learning a lot of material can be exhausting. Biking can help kids recharge their energy, release stress, and help keep them calm.  

Improves self-confidence 

Biking helps increase self-confidence because they can move around independently and navigate their surroundings effectively. After they feel great learning new bike skills, they will be eager to try other things.   

Develop social skills 

Kids can make new friends at camp, especially as they do group activities and play fun games. Not only do they learn how to ride a bike, but also learn how to ride safely in a group setting and communicate effectively. 

Pedalheads Bike is a bike camp that has taught over 300,000 kids how to ride with confidence. The most popular camp is Level 1 Newbees that shows helps kids get off training wheels in a fun group environment. They have a proven track record of getting kids off training wheels in a week.  

One happy Colorado parent said, “My 7-year-old son learned how to ride a 2-wheeler in 1 day and was totally shocked and happy. I can see that whatever happened during his camp has increased his self-confidence exponentially.  The camp counselors were all so professional and personable and enjoyed chatting with them.” 

Importance of being out in nature 

Many scientific studies talk about the many advantages of being in nature as children grow and develop including improved short-term memory, increased mental energy, and less inflammation. Kids can feel a stronger connection to the environment and think more holistically.  

Nature is restorative and allows people to concentrate more. Studies have been done where they tested students who took a short walked around in nature compared to a group that walked around the city. Students who walked in nature scored 20% better than the first time while the group that walked around the city did not consistently improve.  

Being in nature can even improve vision! An Australian study followed almost 2,000 children for two years and found that those who spent more time outdoors had lower prevalence of near sighted-ness among 12-year olds.   

New Trail Riding Camp in Colorado 

We are blessed to have many stunning areas to see around Colorado that are best explored by bike! Families can enjoy riding together as they appreciate nature’s beauty. 

This year is the launch of the Pedalheads Trail program in Stapleton where rides can go on a biking adventure through the trail systems around Stapleton Central Park. Riders who are 4 and up will learn how to bike on uneven paths, learn cool tricks like front wheel lifts, and avoid obstacles. 

About Pedalheads

Pedalheads offers learn-to-ride bike programs in over 140 cities across Canada and the USA. In Colorado, you participate in our bike and brand new trail program! 

Learn-to-Ride Bike Camps

Our program is reputed for helping kids ages 3-12 get off training wheels and safely ride on the road. Our program includes:

  • Beginner to advanced levels
  • 3-hour half-day camps and 7-hour full-day camps
  • Private lessons
  • Before and aftercare options
Bike camp locations: Boulder, Broomfield, Castle Rock, Hampden South, Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Parker, Stapleton, and Washington Park. Go to pedalheads.com/bike/colorado for more information!

Contest: Friends Don’t Let Friends Do Boring at Infuzed Soda Bar & Sweets

Scrumptious cookies and flavorfully fun fizzy drinks have teamed up to be your ultimate sweet treat. Infuzed Soda Bar & Sweets is a brand-new, locally owned hot spot to fuel your dreams of dessert. 

Infuzed owner and hands-on manager, Aaron Kusch, has incorporated his own family’s cookie recipes, showcasing them in inventive ways. One of the standout offerings are the Cookie Fries. Perfectly baked sugar cookie bars are served with choice of one of six delightful cookie dips. No ketchup or ranch needed with these fries! Dip them in fluffy Lemon Berry Zest, Salted Caramel, Cookies and Cream, Nutella, and more. He loves to be inventive with both the dips and the cookies.

Of course, you will find all-time classics, like chocolate chip, sugar with frosting (and all-important sprinkles!), snickerdoodles, and seasonal offerings that reflect fun holidays and beloved flavors. Check often to see what is new or coming soon! With each cookie purchase, you get to try one of the cookie dips as well! The flavor combinations are up to you! 

The focus of Infuzed Soda Bar & Sweets is playing with flavor, and that extends to their extensive offering of soft drinks and smoothies. Their motto is “Friends Don’t Let Friends Do Boring” and they really mean it! You can invent your own combination of syrups and soda (including sparkling water) or you can enjoy one of their concoctions. My son loved a mix called The Drink That Shall Not Be Named, which is a funny ode to a certain beverage in a certain book about a certain young wizard. They love to have fun with everything. Other drinks you must try are Killin’ Me Smalls, Skittles Sandwich, A-Aron, and Panda at the Disco. 

When you visit, you can enjoy your treats in the shop, have them delivered via the usual food delivery apps, or order them in advance for a party or event. They also partner with schools for fundraising nights. 

Check out locally-owned Infuzed Soda Bar & Sweets to see their menu, location, hours, and online ordering.  13762 Colorado Blvd, Suite 124, Thornton, CO.

Infuzed Soda Bar & Sweets hosted my family to try their cookies and drinks. All opinions are our own.

CONTEST

Mile High Mamas is giving away an Infuzed Soda Bar & Sweets party pack that’s a dozen cookies and 4 24oz drinks.  You may enter as many as five times below.

First Name* (required)

Last Name* (required)

Your Email* (required)

Phone* (required)

Address* (required)

Street Address:*

City:*

State:*

Zip:*

Get the latest news, tips and events from Mile High Mamas! Sign up here to get our weekly newsletter.
Yes- sign me up for the Mile High Mamas weekly newsletter

Colorado’s Care for All Children campaign pushing for more focus on early child care

As Colorado democratic lawmakers prepare to introduce a bill in the 2020 legislative session to mandate paid family and medical leave, some advocates say there should be more focus on affordable and quality child care for children after their parents go back to work.

“We feel like policymakers have been fairly unresponsive to the issue and the urgency of this issue,” said Catharina Hughey, operations specialist with Merage Foundations, the philanthropic organization behind the Care for All Children campaign.

Care For All Children is trying to reframe early child care as an issue that affects all aspects of society, not just parents. The campaign is calling on parents to share their stories and common struggles about the high cost of care, the difficulty of finding high-quality child care providers, and the trouble of find flexible care that works with their schedules.

 

Mountaineering Weekend at YMCA of the Rockies Brings Families Together for Fun, Educational Activities over President’s Day Weekend

Shortly after I moved to Colorado 17 years ago, I attended a family reunion at YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park where we delved into all the awesome things they had to offer–from mountain biking to fly fishing & ziplining to roller skating, mini-golf,  swimming and hiking. I have since become one of the biggest advocates for YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park and their Snow Mountain Ranch location for being Colorado’s most affordable and fun family vacations.

And it’s not just during the summer!

YMCA of the Rockies will hold the 4th Annual Mountaineering Weekend from February 14-17, 2020. Whether it’s your first time out, or your family has camped in national parks many times, this special event has activities and excursions for every level.

Located just 10-minutes outside of Estes Park, on 800+ acres bordering Rocky Mountain National Park, YMCA of the Rockies offers families an easy mountain getaway without the ski crowds of I-70. Mountaineering Weekend is a wonderful time to visit with many special activities on-site such as ice-anchor and ice climbing demonstrations, winter survival presentations, snow caves, ice broomball games, ​and a fascinating keynote by Quinn Brett, an experienced alpine climber and Rocky Mountain National Park ranger, technical rescuer and first responder.

Mountaineering Weekend activities are free for overnight guests, or day passes are available for $25/person. All ongoing activities at YMCA of the Rockies will be available such as ice skating on a natural pond, guided snowshoe hikes into Rocky Mountain National Park, sledding (new this year!), indoor rock climbing, rollerskating, and more.​

Cabins ranging from 2-4 bedrooms start at $109/night, and lodge rooms are available starting at $89/night, including two free breakfasts. Most rooms and cabins are TV-free too, providing an unplugged experience for your family, and no meal planning for mom and dad with access to the buffet-style dining hall for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Registration and lodging for Mountaineering Weekend is available at https://bit.ly/35V1vWj or by calling 888-613-9622.

Ultimate Denver Holiday Giveaway: $1,500+ in hotel stays and adventures!

I’ve been creating this list for over a decade, and I tell you, this has to be one of the best collections of give-a-ways for mamas we have ever brought to Colorado! Here’s to all you Mile High Mamas and your incredible efforts. Enter here for a chance to win a mom-daughter workout package, two different resort giveaways and a free hotel night and Frisco Adventure Passes.

Also, don’t miss our Holiday Gift Guide for Denver Moms.

FOR MOM AND DAUGHTER!

Mother-Daughter package at AKT for a three-month membership

AKT, the popular boutique fitness studio developed by Celebrity trainer Anna Kaiser, recently opened their first Colorado location in Denver at 2445 E. 3rd Street in Cherry Creek North. Rooted in functional training that allows the body to move in a dynamic way, each AKT studio class is between 45-60 minutes in duration and incorporates a full spectrum of fitness elements from dance to strength training and plyometrics. With four unique class modalities – dance, bands, tone and circuit, AKT is a workout for all body types and fitness levels. Visit www.theakt.com.  

Value: $777 *Daughter must be 16 of age. 

Hotel / Experience Package #1

A Dairy Block Experience—Hotel, Shopping and more!

This is certainly one of the most fun and clever packages we have offered for a holiday package, and it’s a true treat for mom courtesy of the incredible development in downtown Denver. Included is an overnight stay at the independent Maven Hotel, a $100 gift card to Denver Milk Market and a $100 gift card to shop at women’s lifestyle boutique HEYDAY. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?! Can you say, literally, the loveliest of holiday gifts is a special treat for a mom! Visit dairyblock.com

Value: $310+

(Dairy Block Alley)

Hotel / Experience Package #2

Two nights at YMCA of the Rockies or Snow Mountain Ranch

 We at Mile High Mamas LOVE the YMCA resorts—YMCA of the Rockies and Snow Mountain Ranch. There are over 50+ things to do at each location from roller skating, hiking, swimming, archery, horseback riding, disc golf, etc.; it’s endless adventure. This winter we are giving away two nights in a lodge room for either center or it will have a 1-year expiration date.

Each year, families enjoy active, unplugged vacations at YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park and Snow Mountain Ranch near Granby. Both properties feature unique activities for all ages located on-site, such as arts and crafts, miniature golf, roller skating, swimming, guided hikes through Rocky Mountain National Park, and more, and meals are served daily in a buffet-style dining hall (no meal planning for mom and dad!). The lucky winner will receive two nights in a lodge room. Learn more at http://www.ymcarockies.org. 

Value $280

(Snow Mountain Ranch)

Hotel Package

Night at the Brand New Hyatt Place Pena Station / Denver

WOOHOO. Don’t worry about missing any early morning flights or making the drive to the mountains after a late night flight, stay at the New Hyatt Place located at the A train @ 61st and Pena station. The 226-room hotel is both dog and family-friendly (“Denver” is the hotel’s K9 ambassador – golden retriever puppy), has a full-service Starbucks, local art program, indoor heated pool + fitness center with Peloton Bike and an entertainment area. Location is key—Hyatt Place Peña Station is the only hotel directly on the RTD A-line, making it just an eight-minute train ride to DIA and less than 30 minutes to Denver Union Station.  There are top-floor suites with balconies and unobstructed mountain views, free Wi-Fi throughout hotel and guestrooms, breakfast bar and The Market serving freshly prepared meals anytime, day or night and perfectly packaged sandwiches and salads. Visit Hyatt Place Peña Station/Denver Airport, for more hotel information.

Value: $179

Frisco Adventure Park 

Gift certificate for a family of four for two hours on the tubing hill

Located in the heart of Colorado’s Summit County, Frisco is known as The Main Street of the Rockies. Ideally positioned within 30 minutes of six renowned ski resorts, and bordered on three sides by public land, Frisco is the ideal base camp for a variety of winter activities. Race through the Frisco Adventure Park on a tube; with 1,200 ft. lanes, and surface lift service up the hill, tubing in Frisco is an extremely popular – and giggle-inducing – activity. While you’re there, tackle the beginner ski & ride hill and visit the Frisco Nordic Center with cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. Or, take a break from your day of activity in the 4,000 square foot Frisco Day Lodge, serving all Adventure Park customers.

Value: $224, not valid on holidays

CONTEST

We have FIVE fabulous contests with one winner per giveaway. You may enter as many as once for each giveaway, once per day. For additional entries, follow us on Facebook (@milehighmamas) for five additional entries and on Instagram (@TheMileHighMamas) for an additional five entries and note it on the entry form. Enter daily through December 23, 2019. 

Your Name* (required)

Your Email* (required)

Phone* (required)

Address* (required)

Street Address:*

City:*

State:*

Zip:*

Please note what contest you are entering. 1) AKT, the popular boutique fitness studio 2) Dairy Block's Maven Hotel, 3) YMCA of the Rockies or Snow Mountain Ranch, 4) Night at the Brand New Hyatt Place Pena Station, 5) Frisco Adventure Park or 6) All

Get the latest news, tips and events from Mile High Mamas! Sign up here to get our weekly newsletter.
Yes- sign me up for the Mile High Mamas weekly newsletter

Holiday Gift Guide for Denver Moms!

After everything’s she done to give you the life that you have (you know, giving birth to you and all), the most important woman in your life deserves to be spoiled for the holidays. 

But finding the perfect gift for your Colorado Mom is a challenge, isn’t it? 

That’s why we’ve put together this list of some of our favorite must-have gifts. Staying warm and cozy this winter is at the top of my list so I’ve included some of my favorite companies and products.

Outdoorsy Mama

Short Down Skirt from SKHOOP

My love affair with SKHOOP, “The original skirt company,” started several years ago when I was literally stopped in my tracks by their insulated skirts at their Outdoor Retailer Show. Women’s winter activewear has certainly come a long way but skirts in the winter? Unheard of! But if anyone knows cold, these skirts (of all lengths) will not only keep your legs and butt toasty, they are also stylin’. The Scandanavian company has expanded their down skirt collection to include synthetic and non-insulated skirts, sweaters, vest and more…but their Short Down Skirt still has my heart with its unique combination of flexibility and fashion. The shell is 100% polyester with 80/20 down/feather RDS Certified Down insulation, 500 fill power, and the environmentally-friendly DWR repels dirt and moisture. This is a customer favorite for a reason! $159. skhoop.us

Anxiety/Insomnia Mama

Corala Blanket

Have you ever tried a weighted blanket? If there’s anything mamas need, it’s a good night of sleep…and 45 percent of the population currently suffers from “poor or insufficient sleep.” Not all weighted blankets are created equally (and many are filled with dangerous chemicals) so when a trusted friend who suffers from insomnia due to her chronic pain recommended Corala, I knew I had to test it out. This special weighted blanket uses lead-free pure glass beads that somehow make you feel more secure, relaxed and calm.  It comes with two duvet covers–one for summer and winter–and when it gets dirty, just throw the covers in the wash. If you’re a poor sleeper…or just enjoy the calming effects of snuggling up to a blanket by the fire after a long ski day…the Corala is a fantastic gift that comes with a 1-year warranty and a 30-night trial with free return and delivery. Get our exclusive 15% off coupon code at checkout: MHM15.  $199.  coralablanket.com

Best (and Coziest) Footwear for Mamas on the Go

Teva’s Ember Moc 

I’m not gonna lie. When I first saw Teva’s Ember Moc shoes, I thought they looked like a mini Moon Boot. But then I saw the light…and felt the toastiness. This shoe merges the warmth of a down sleeping bag with sneaker-like wearability and a collapsible heel (so there’s zero guilt when you’re too lazy to put them on correctly).  The slip-on style has water repellent treatment and a unique combo of moisture-wicking nylon ripstop, cozy ribbed collars, cushy PU footbeds, convertible heel counters and durable rubber outsoles. I initially planned to wear them for apres ski in the lodge or snuggling up around the campfire but they’ve become my go-to everyday winter wear. My husband is a convert as well and loves the Ember Mid, an updated high-top version of Teva’s classic Ember Moc. Lest you feel tempted to insert your twinner jokes, we’ll just enjoy being warm, dry and cozy over here.  Ember Moc $75; Ember Mid $90. teva.com

The Fit Mama

Fitbit Charge 3

I still remember once upon a time when I got my first Fitbit and became obsessed with getting my 10,000 steps…while all my friends in my online Fitbit community judged me when I did not. Well, the Fitbit is all grown up and the Fitbit Charge 3 was voted the 2018 Fitness Tracker of the Year by Wareable.  Remember when you used to cheat and wave your arms around to get more steps? This smart device automatically recognizes exercises like runs, swims, elliptical, sports and more and records them in the Fitbit app. The Fitbit Charge 3 tracks 24/7 heartrate and tells you how many calories you’re burning all day and during workouts so you can stay on track toward your goal. It’s swimproof, tracks your sleep and the Fitbit app can even track periods, record symptoms and see a predicted ovulation calendar. The Fitbit Charge 3 automatically syncs to computers and 200+ Android, iOS and Windows devices and if you sometimes need a timeout from your kids? Find moments of calm throughout your day with personalized guided breathing sessions based on your heart rate. This, my friends, is a match made in Mile High Mama Heaven.  $149.95. www.fitbit.com

The Cookin’ Mama

Half Baked  Harvest: Super Simple

I first stumbled upon Half Baked Harvest on Instagram and was immediately hooked! Tieghan Gerard is a Colorado food photographer, stylist, recipe developer, and cookbook author who creates all her recipes from a gorgeous restored barn in snowy Summit County.  Her newly-released cookbook features a hearty mix of savory, sweet, healthy, and indulgent recipes with 125 easy recipes, fewer ingredients, foolproof meal-prepping, effortless entertaining, and everything in between. Must-try recipes include the Snickerdoodles with Egg Nog Frosting, Browned Sage Butter Chicken Pot Pie, Carne Asada Tacos, Pumpkin and Sage Lasagna, Buffalo Cauliflower Bites and Golden Butternut Squash Soup. $17.99. amazon.com

Homebody Mama

LL Bean’s Daybreak Scuffs 

I first spotted LL Bean’s Daybreak Scuffs on a gift guide last year and tried to order them but they sold out. I didn’t make that mistake and bought early this year because there’s nothing like greeting the day in these cute slippers emblazoned with an image of one of your favorite animals or an outdoor motif. These scuff slippers pair durable construction with fun colors and adorable styling and slip-on with the convenience of open-backed mule slippers while the wool clog style upper features high-pile fleece sock liner to balance warmth and comfort. $64 llbean.com/llb/shop/70223

LL Bean’s Wicked Plush Robe 

While I was journeying down the LL Bean rabbit hole, I stumbled upon what they claim is “the coziest robe we’ve ever worn” on their website. I whole-heartedly second that motion!  With its Sherpa-trimmed hood and cuffs, this 100% polyester plush robe is brushed on both sides for an extra-plush feel. It has generous front patch pockets and a removable tie belt and inside tie. Pair it with their Wicked Plush Throw and you won’t want to leave home this winter. $99 llbean.com/llb/shop/123523

Always Cold Mama

Smartwool’s Best Sock Finder and New Intraknit Base Layers  

Are you always cold when you’re outside? Well, your underwear just got smarter with Smartwool’s new Intraknit™ Merino wool base layers. With less seams (and more comfort), they offer body-mapped ventilation in gender-specific zones to help keep you dry (because it’s about time someone figured out men and women sweat differently).  When Smartwool started making socks 25 years ago, their founders simply wanted to be able to enjoy the outdoors longer without getting cold toes…and now, they’ve figured out how to keep your whole body warm and dry without adding bulk. P.S. Be sure to check-out their “Best Sock Finder” which is like a dating site to find your perfect sock for adults and kids with a lot less heartache. 250 Zip Top $150; 250 Bottoms $130; Socks: vary in cost. smartwool.com 

Skida Headwear and Accessories

I first became hooked on Skida when I saw their Bento Box Alpine Neckwarmer (sushi, anyone?)…and I fell in love with this company even more when I learned the backstory. Skida (Swedish for ‘ski’) was started by high school ski racer Corinne Prevot who sewed the fashionable hats at her mom’s kitchen table. Today the company makes fleece-lined hats, headbands, neck gaiters, and the most darling scrunchies, selling to about 300 stores around the United States. Their Nordic ski unlined hats’ poly-blend fabric is breathable and moisture-wicking, perfect for winter walks to the park, snowshoeing or Nordic skiing. And if you can’t narrow down their many choices of bright, fun fabrics? Your friends and family will delight in one of each. Cost varies.  skida.com

The Cool (and Sustainable) Mama

Costa Sunglasses Untangled Collection 

When I think ‘sustainability,’ sunglasses don’t exactly come to mind but that is exactly what Costa Sunglasses have somehow managed to accomplish.  The raw material for their “Untangled Collection” frames is made with recycled fishing nets and the styles use other lower-impact materials such as recycled nose and temple pads and recycled aluminum logo detail. The key to Costa’s success is their polarized lens technology that cuts down on excessive glare. All of their lenses have its patented color-enhancing 580® lens technology which provide 100 percent UV protection and polarization, and selectively filter out harsh yellow light for superior contrast and definition while absorbing high-energy blue light to cut haze and enhance sharpness. What does all that mean? These glasses perform superbly when you’re enjoying the great outdoors with your family…and you can look and feel good about wearing them. Starting at $199. costadelmar.com

The Fun Mama

The Micro Kickboard

Who says kids get to have all the fun? That’s why I’m putting Micro Kickboard’s Swiss-designed scooters with sizes for the entire family on my wish list this year.  We’ve all been there. You’re trying to teach your kid to ride a bike and can’t keep up. Or a casual stroll around the neighborhood isn’t so casual when your kids are on their scooters and you’re trying to speedwalk next to them. Designed for adults, the Flex Series boasts a tall T-Bar handle with a maximum height of 37″ above the deck (41″ from the ground) that accommodates most adults. At just 10 lbs, the Flex is lightweight enough to simply fold, pick up and carry. The high-quality hand grips are comfortable, even after a long ride.  These features put it at the top of our list for any adults looking to shave some time off their commute, or just for kickin’ around the neighborhood with their kiddos. $199. microkickboard.com

The Colorado-lovin’ Mama

YoColorado

Evidence that digital marketing actually works: YoColorado appeared in both my Instagram and Facebook feeds within a 24-hour period which I took to be a sign to further investigate.  YoColorado’s visionary clothing and accessories are inspired by outdoor lifestyles, thoughtful design, and quality manufacturing.  Their Colorado apparel store offers a wide variety of designs for men, women, and children. They have everything from Colorado t-shirts, hoodies, fleeces, and socks to hats, bags, patches, and stickers. The diverse culture, stunningly beautiful scenery, and ever-evolving landscape of the Rocky Mountains energizes their brand’s creative style (follow their killer Instagram account for Colorado travel inspiration as well). My product de choix is their Sunset Fader Trucker Hat. I’ll take one in each color, please.  $32. yocolorado.com

The Accident-Prone Mama

Phoozy Xp3 Series Thermal Case 

My smartphone has had many adventures, including being dropped in the lake and face-planting on a jagged rock during a selfie. What I’ve long needed is the Phoozy Xp3 Series Thermal Case, a thermal capsule that offers the ultimate smartphone protection from the elements including cold, heat, water and even drop protection (to military standards which means they’re also kid-proof).  There are four different series (Apollo, Apollo II, Ipad/Laptop and XP3). The XP3 has the most bang for your buck and can be used to protect radios, extra battery packs, drone batteries, insulin and epi-pens. The company just became the exclusive phone case and technology protector with the PSIA-AASI (Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors) so you know it’s gotta be good. $49.99 phoozy.com/pages/snow

The Crafting Mama

Fun and Easy Crafting with Recycled Materials 

I kinda fail in the crafting department but Kim McLeod’s new book Fun and Easy Crafting with Recycled Materials is a no-brainer. With more than 2 million followers on Facebook, 400K on Pinterest and 117K on Instagram, Kim is a proven popular resource for both parents and kids for fun, easy and exciting crafts projects. The book features 60 cool projects (along with 12 tear-out templates) that re-imagine paper rolls, egg cartons, jars, cardboard and more, with ways to transform them into colorful decorations, amazing wearable masks, hats and jewelry or even sturdy desk organizers, puzzles, kaleidoscopes, indoor mini-gardens, dinosaur terrariums and paint palettes. Kim provides a varied selection of budget-friendly, eco-conscious projects that are great for imaginary play, bedroom decorations, gift-giving and more. $17.99. amazon.com

The Splurging Mama

SKEA

 If you’re a woman with sophisticated tastes, then SKEA is the brand for you! This Colorado-based, family-owned mountain and lifestyle brand is designed for women by women who love winter.  They use the highest quality fabrics and a vibrant color palette each season with designs that are classic, yet contemporary. Most importantly, SKEA gives you the versatility you need for your active lifestyle with everything from jackets and parkas to fur borders to down vests to sweaters, vests and shawls. Not only does the company create beautiful women’s ski apparel,  they do a lot of charity work and partner with the Shaw Center in Vail, the Ski Museum in Vail and Denver Clothes to Kids. skealimited.com 

Night Out Mama

The Denver Passbook

If you need an excuse to get out more, let this be it.  The Denver Passbook is a culinary tour of the Mile High City featuring two-for-one entrées and other offers at more than 125 restaurants. A sampling of the great restaurants you’ll find include the Chophouse, 10 Barrel Brewing Co, Bad Daddy’s Blue Bonnet, Comida at The Stanley Marketplace, Corner Office, CRUSH Pizza + Tap and more.  This is a gift that keeps on giving all year long. $45 (currently on sale). $45.  diningoutpassbook.com

 

 Happy Holidays!

 

Holiday “glitter grief” and an angel named Claire

I lost my mother in April.

It was a slow, painful death after a 30-year battle with Multiple Sclerosis.  Though she was larger-than-life, she wanted a small, intimate graveside service and we treated everyone to Chinese food at her favorite restaurant following the service. There were a lot of hilarious memories shared over a delicious plate of ginger beef–just the way she would have wanted it.

My childhood was heaped in tradition. Visits to my grandparent’s farm. Big, joyful celebrations. When I went away to college, she sent me care packages for every holiday that I assumed would stop when I graduated but they continued for many years until she was too ill to send them…and my dad took over. 

For the most part, my grieving has been sporadic. I have been mourning her for years, as anyone with a loved one who has an incurable disease can relate. But I wasn’t prepared for how difficult the holidays would be. As I unpacked our holiday decorations, so many of them held memories of my mother. A crafting goddess who was a successful restauranteur, she handmade so many treasures that she passed on to me. As I decorated the tree with my daughter, I found a lace angel ornament I have never noticed before, one that was undoubtedly gifted by my mom: Mothers are really angels in disguise.

I cried. She probably gave it to me when I first became a mother, not knowing how much it would impact me on my first Christmas without her.  I love these sentiments adapted from George Shelley:

Grief is much like glitter. In the original time of tragedy, it’s like throwing a big handful of glitter up in the air. Then you attempt to clean it all up, as you don’t want to have to see that everywhere & be reminded of that pain. Over the next few days…weeks…years – you’ll find remnants of glitter everywhere, tucked here & there. Triggering you of the pain. The ‘grief glitter’ will be found in many nooks & crannies of your life. As years go by, there will be less glitter found in those secret places. But when a small glimmer of glitter appears….your heart will always go back to that moment of great loss.

I gave the eulogy at my mom’s funeral. It was chock-full of hilarious stories and some sad ones, too. Following the service, Claire Neville walked up to give me a hug. For much of her life, my mom was the life of every party but as her condition worsened, she shut out most people except for her family.

And Claire.

This 80+-year-old widow–who has known her share of trials and heartache–refused to leave her, often bringing her thoughtful gifts and staying with her when my caregiver dad needed a break.

So, I was surprised by what sweet Claire told me at the funeral. “Oh, Amber. I just loved hearing all of the fun stories about your mom. I never knew her back then and it makes me so happy to hear about her full, wonderful life.”

Mic drop.

Claire had been such an integral part of my mom’s life that I never realized her interactions with her were solely in her later, difficult years. 

How many of us can say that we have stood by someone during their darkest days, weeks, months and years, no matter how much they attempted to push us away? Our world needs less frenzied Black Friday shopping for the “perfect gift” and more gifts of kindness, love and mending of broken hearts without expecting anything in return. 

This Christmas mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love, and then speak it again. -Howard W. Hunter

Because you never know what kind of an impact a simple, kind gesture can make. 

Join Our Movement for Accessible, Affordable and High-Quality Childcare

Denver mom Beth Slaboda decided to look into going back into teaching a few years ago. She had been working as a private part-time math tutor in the evenings and she thought going back would give her family a little more consistent income. She was wrong.

“We looked into childcare for our two kiddos and quickly realized that any extra I would make teaching (after paying for childcare) would be equal to or LESS than what I was making tutoring. I have such respect for single parents…I don’t know how they do it!”

Beth is not alone–Colorado has some of the priciest childcare in the country. According to the Economic Policy Institute’s 2019 report, a year’s worth of childcare costs thousands more than in-state college tuition over the same timeframe. A year’s worth of infant care is also higher than the average annual cost of housing in Colorado.

Can we just process that for a moment? Your child’s daycare costs more than college and housing. 

Being able to provide for our families is at the very core of who we are as parents. When I was approached by Colorado-based Affordable Child Care Now!, I was immediately struck by the urgency of their bipartisan message: “Many of the Presidential candidates have told us they are not hearing from their constituents that childcare affordability is a crisis.”

LET US BE HEARD!  By adding your voice, you are a part of the collective megaphone advocating for the importance of accessible, affordable, quality childcare.

The Stats Don’t Lie

So, why care about childcare, even if you are not directly impacted? According to the campaign’s research:

  • Investing in high quality, early childhood education and care pay off. Every dollar we spend now saves up to $11 in later spending on social programs, criminal justice costs, and more. 
  • Children who participated in high-quality early childhood education had higher college graduation rates and rates of employment at the age of 30 than peers who did not have access to high-quality early childhood education. 
  • Not only does high quality, early childhood education and care provide the foundation for a child’s success later in life, it can also break the poverty cycle. We know that investing in our children today will save taxpayer dollars later on.

Take Action (It’s Easy!) 

Go to Care for All Children to learn more about how your signature can influence the government to take a two-generation approach to their policies and investments—an approach that is both feasible and sustainable for working parents and preparing our youngest learners the opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed. 

By signing the petition you are agreeing to raise your voice as a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, neighbor, employer, childcare provider, as someone who benefits and loses in society when we do not stand up for young children, hard-working families, and our economy.

It’s time to call for affordable childcare for all children by signing the petition:

 

 

 

Across the country, Americans are calling for equal access to affordable care for all children. Take a look at who is supporting the movement in your region and roll up your sleeves to move the needle. Let’s make a difference in the lives of our children and Colorado families!

Mile High Mamas is proudly partnering with Care for All Children. Make a difference in the lives of Colorado families. 

We Wrote The Book On Music Lessons … And We’d Love To Give You A Free Copy

I’m not a Mama… but I’m a parent of two.  You might say I’m a “Mile High Dada.”  And in my business, I work with parents and families every day as we all continue our community quest to raise the next generation of inspired, confident people.

That quest is my central mission – and I’m passionate about it!

That’s why I started the school more than a dozen years ago… why I wake up excited every morning… and why my friend Marty Fort and I wrote the book on Music Lessons in Littleton, CO.

As we detail in our book, I Fell in Love with Music: Why I started Littleton School of Music, music lessons aren’t really about music.

Not entirely.

No, giving your child the gift of music love – from playing music at home to enrolling them in a safe, professional “musical family” like ours – is really about developing the kind of confidence, persistence, and positivity we all want our future adults to enjoy.

Of course, among the many “outside activities” you and your child could choose – from athletics to hobbies – music school is just one option.  As a parent, you’ll want to evaluate every “fit,” from what seems right for your individual kiddo, to how an activity will work within a limited family budget.

We’re all looking for the best for our children – and that means, among other things, the best “bang for our buck!”

So I’d like to offer you a free copy of I Fell in Love with Music.  I think you’ll find it helps you make a truly informed choice, not just about Littleton Music Lessons, but about how to evaluate all the options for your child.

Here are some of the things you’ll learn from the book:

  • My personal story – how music actually saved my life
  • How to tell if your child’s ready for music lessons – not every child is
  • What you can do at home to help your child love music
  • How music lessons help in ways far beyond music itself (academics, for instance)
  • The best ways to measure your kid’s progress
  • Details about the most popular lesson types (guitar, keyboard, percussion, and voice)
  • Common myths about Piano Lessons, Voice Lessons, and more

… and more.

Clearly, I’m a big believer in music lessons for children.  I know first-hand how powerful music can be in positioning a youngster for lifelong success

Now that school’s in session, and children (older and younger) start looking for other things to do, it’s a great time to learn more about wholesome, safe, productive activities.

As hundreds of our school’s families have discovered, music might be just the ticket.

So let me share with you a copy of my book. As a parent, an informed choice is always a good choice.

Stephan Hume, founder of Littleton School of Music, appeared on the hit MTV show “Made,” and created the school in 2006.  His music degree is from the University of Colorado (Denver), and he lives in Littleton with his wife, Lauren, and his young son and daughter.

 For your free copy of the book, call (303) 972-7625 or email info@littletonmusiclessons.com.  Supplies are limited. 

 By Stephan Hume, Littleton School of Music