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Laugh, Cry and Listen to These MileHighMama Mothers

Did you miss last year’s inaugural “Listen To Your Mother” shows in Denver and Boulder? No worries. The short vignettes from 2013 have been archived so you can laugh and cry in understanding and amusement from the comfort of your own home.

5 Favorite Family-friendly Restaurants in Boulder

When you live in a place that’s named “Foodiest Town in America,” dining out becomes a part of the lifestyle. However, when you have two picky eaters in tow, you have to choose your culinary destinations wisely. Will there be enough adult-friendly options for mom and dad? Will there be enough healthy-bland options for the kids? Lucky for us, Boulder gives us a wide-variety of choices – and price points – to keep everyone in our family happy.

 Here are our top picks:

 The Southern Sun

 One of the biggest perks of our yuppy/hippy community is the Sun family. The Mountain Sun opened its doors back in the mid-90’s appealing to the young downtown-hippy crowd with their fancy microbrews and high-quality-no-nonsense good food. When they opened a slightly larger sister pub, The Southern Sun, several years later, the hippies-turned-families flocked. Piles of super-delicious-what-do-they put in-those-things-anyway nachos and community games make this restaurant a top choice for our family.

 Murphy’s

After soccer on Thursdays we like to stop by another Boulder staple, Murphy’s Grill, in North Boulder. Much to our delight and surprise, this is also when Mr. Lamont, the local magician, happens to do table performances. (I tell you ever since meeting Lamont, the magic tricks are never-ending at my house.)  You can hear the oohs-and-ahhs from around the restaurant as Lamont stops off for his five-minute performances. And, to top it all off the food is pretty darn good, too! A kid’s menu that offers broccoli or carrots as a side – that my four year old will actually order? Awesome!

 Mustard’s Last Stand

 One of our favorite things to do is to ride our bikes along the creek path to downtown Boulder. Sometimes, we get hungry along the way. Lucky for us, Mustard’s Last Stand is a quick, easy stop for a fun lunch. Not only do they serve up the best dogs (burgers, sandwiches and fries, too) this side of the Wrigley Field, they will also supply you with a blanket for a creek side picnic! The kids love the corn dogs. I love the veggie dogs. Yum!

 Backcountry Pizza and Taphouse

 When mama needs Mr. Pesto, mama needs Mr. Pesto and Backcountry Pizza and Taphouse has what mama needs. Since I’m really the only one into a pesto, fried chicken, tomato and kalamata olive pizza, it’s a good thing that Backcountry Pizza has a lot of menu options that appeals to the entire family (even the in-laws) with burgers, salads, sandwiches and, of course, pizza. A selection only matched by their extensive beer list. Throw in the game room and this restaurant is a crowd-pleaser every time.

Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato

 If you consider ice cream a food group – and I do – then you will most certainly LOVE my last pick – Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato. Good thing we’re biking distance, so we can work off some of those sinful calories. We love to enjoy our Death by Chocolate, Funky Donkey and Carmel Oreo scoops from one of the oversized couches or on the outside patio. If we’re in a hurry, we like to grab a homemade cookie/ice-cream sandwich for the road.

 As our foodies-in-training grow and their taste buds mature, we look forward to expanding our restaurant ventures.

 What are your favorite family-friendly Boulder restaurants?

Guest blogger Susan lives with her husband, two young sons, and super-cute puppy in Boulder, Colorado. When she’s not chasing her boys on the ski slopes or watching them on the sidelines of the soccer fields, she helps start-ups with social media and online marketing. Susan is social media junkie and you can often find her live tweeting from just about everywhere she goes.

Summer Adventures in the Boulder Area

Mountainous, Organic, Natural, Hip, Green, Fresh Air, Outdoorsy, how would you describe your neighbors to the North? As a mom of three, let me take you through some of the family friendly activities that you must know about. Some things that are just so fabulous you will have to get in your car and find yourself driving this way. Of course, if you prefer to bike, that would be fine too.

What do ponies, humongous hay bales, a crazy zip line, sand in crevasses of your body that you didn’t know you had and one extremely large turkey have in common?Sunflower Farms, of course. Located just south of Longmont, no summer is complete without a trip to this old fashioned farm. There truly is something for everyone to enjoy. My animal lover can’t get enough of feeding the goats. She’s been handing over fistfuls of corn since she learned to walk. My fearless boy swings from the zip line until his hands turn red from holding on so tightly. The littlest one experiments with sand and swings from the biggest baby swing ever. The kids can also enjoy the pond, huge tree house, hay bale maze and more. Check their website because their hours change with the season, but it is well worth adding to your summer agenda.

Become One with Nature – There are so many options for hiking, biking and hanging out in nature, how can you decide? You can’t really. With it being summer, I can’t help but mention

Make a Difference in Boulder: Musicians Raising Funds to Help Youth Battling Addictions

Take a moment with me and think back on your teen years. No doubt, doing so will bring back painful, embarrassing, humorous and touching memories. Was there someone, maybe a parent, who came along side you during the rough times and irresponsible decisions to keep you going down the right path?  Maybe you had hobbies that kept you out of trouble and gave you a direction for the future – the time spent developing skills was time we didn’t have to give addictions and harmful habits a foothold in your life.

It’s no secret that the struggle with addiction is very much a human one. We’ve all struggled with addictions of one kind or another. If you think you haven’t, I have one word for you: Facebook. Some seem harmless, while others carry brutal consequences.

A group of musicians in Boulder is seeking a way to make a difference in the lives of young people who have battled addictions and who are seeking hope and a better (addiction-free) future. These talented folks perform Sunday worship at The Well church of Boulder and have long been praying for an opportunity to connect with musicians and engage the culture of the city of Boulder. Doors were closing left and right. Finally they shared their vision with a non-profit halfway house for young people in Boulder. AIM House swung their door wide open and a partnership began.

Seth DadySeth Dady is heading up the group seeking to start The Listening Well studio. He is a professional musician and lead worship pastor at The Well church in Boulder and is no stranger to the power of music. Having begun training at the young age of 8, he pursued music continuously throughout his childhood and teen years (including spending lots of time at his Uncle Steve’s recording studio).

In college, Seth studied everything from guitar and vocals to audio engineering. After marrying his high school sweetheart, Seth spent 3 years as the front man for Christian hardcore band Astoria Arms. After graduating in 2006, the band dissolved and Seth and his wife moved to Colorado to pursue ministry. Since moving here, Seth has been running live sound for concerts all over the western slope. He has worked with incredible talent (including Grammy winners the David Crowder Band, Michael Martin Murphy and Dean Dillon, as well as Flyleaf, Suzy Bogguss, Asleep at the Wheel, and many many more).

When I heard that Seth was heading up a new venture called The Listening Well, I was intrigued. A trip to the project’s webpage told me that the project involves the building of a music studio that will be used to directly affect the lives and futures of teens and young adults who have battled addictions in the past, but who are now working hard to prepare for lives and careers in the real world. All this will be accomplished in partnership with AIM House of Boulder and a new shop called Factory Made (a place the AIM House young adults artistic outlets and resources to a fresh start in life through internships and workshops).

These details intrigued me, so I got in touch with Seth and grilled him on the details.

When I asked Seth, “Why music? Why is that the way you’re looking to shape futures of kids battling the aftermath of addiction?” he summed up the reason behind The Listening Well, “I think its a great outlet for anyone. I love playing music to relax, or when my mind is full of thoughts or ideas. It’s good medicine. Playing music can be a great source of camaraderie and community with other musicians as well as a great place to put your energy and life’s frustrations, failures, joys, victories, etc. into song. King David in the Bible often wrote songs and poetry to express life’s joys and sorrows. It’s an incredible artistic outlet.”

So, how exactly will The Listening Well find and engage with recovering youth? “Many of the individuals [at AIM House and Factory Made] play music and come from musical backgrounds, so they wanted to give them an opportunity to channel that into something they could possibly pursue an education or internship in once they were done with the program. When the studio space is finished, it will not only serve as a place to rehearse, write, and record for the community of The Well, but also for therapy sessions with AIM House that end with jam sessions and musical workshops with Factory Made. We will be partners in this together, shaping and engaging our culture.”

How will The Listening Well affect the future opportunities of the kids who complete the program? The hope is that they can gain experience to pursue an education in music or an internship at a studio. So much of today’s job opportunities and career paths are oriented around and asking for experience. The art industry isn’t much different. Gaining experience working in and being around a studio environment can prove to be extremely important for future endeavors for these individuals. Our goal is to come along side them and serve them with the gift of music

Lastly, I posed the obvious question: What will the money be used for? “Recording studios and equipment are not cheap, so we are starting small and needing to purchase some basics to get this thing up to speed as a functioning studio. Since most of the heavy lifting has already been done with the building and initial purchases for equipment, the money raised will be spent on purchasing the remaining necessary processors, microphones, cables, and mic stands to finish making this a working studio.”

I get it – we are all pinching pennies these days. The economy is bad and we’re all having a rough go as a result. Money is tight. Bills need to be paid. The painful truth is, we are less likely to crack open our piggy banks for charitable causes. Though most of us won’t be able to give $100, $1000 or more, we can give up our weekend treat stop at Starbucks for The Listening Well. Will you join me in helping to make this worthy cause a reality? I appeal to you as a mom to give a few dollars for these kids who may or may not have parents who care.

Every donation of $10 or more gets a special “Thank You” gift. Cool, huh?

Check out The Listening Well campaign here, or take a moment to watch Seth talk more about the mission of The Listening Well below:

 

Theatre-Hikes Colorado: Into the woods with Hansel and Gretel

Once upon a time, a mother and her children set out for an adventure. They got into their magic carriage and headed to the enchanted land of Chautauqua in the kingdom of Boulder.

The trio met a passel of other families with kids ages 2 to 12. It was the custom to wear hats with brims and to squirt onto themselves a special potion that would protect their skin from burns, as well as to carry their water in curiously transparent waterskins.

Some nice thespians at a picnic area offered them blankets to carry with them on the rest of their journey. The group set out on its quest for nature, beauty, entertainment and mild exertion in the Chautauquan wilderness.

Before long, a PLAY broke out, one with actors and a minstrel!

Hikers young and old were captivated by the tale of Hansel and Gretel. They laid down their blankets and watched the story unfold. The woodcutter’s family was so hungry! The wife was beside herself for sending her children into the woods to pick berries! The father came home with horrible tales from the village of a witch that inhabited the woods — alas!

The group picked up their blankets and walked the trails to help the woodcutter and his wife find their children. Lo and behold, the adventurers encountered this.

And this.

But no matter the beauty around the hikers, there remained two children to save — from a horrible witch!

Fortunately,  Hansel and Gretel were clever enough to ask for help from their audience, and soon the woodcutter’s family was reunited.

Two hours after they began, the mother and her children finished the 2 mile loop and found a nearby inn that provided nourishment for the hungry adventurers.

And they all lived happily ever after. At least until the next chore time.

~~~~~

Want to get your Theatre-Hike on? There are three more chances to see Hansel and Gretel at Chautauqua:

  • Sat., Jun 25, 2 p.m.
  • Sat., Jul 2, 11 a.m.
  • Sun., Jul 3, 11 a.m.

Tickets are $19/adults, $15 children 10 and under, plus a service charge. Discounts are available for Chautauqua and Colorado Mountain Club members. See Chautauqua.com for tickets and information on this and other family events.

See also CO.Theatre-Hikes.org for Hansel and Gretel in Greeley and Sedalia, as well as information on the autumn play-hike in October, Frankenstein. The author’s children have already told her that they are most definitely going to attend.

Not Your Typical Tea Party

Last week, Amber and I were invited to head up north to Celestial Seasonings’ 40th Anniversary Event. We were going to partake in the celebration and meet the Blend Master, Charlie Baden!

And, I was going to try my hardest to refrain from asking if the event was sponsored by the Letter T.

When we arrived at Celestial Seasonings, we were greeted with quite an elaborate spread of foods, beverages, and a full evening of entertainment. We realized that this wasn’t just a 40th Anniversary Celebration, this was a reunion. There were employees from all eras and areas attending. Some had flown in for this event. Everyone had name-tags with their names, former (or current) titles, and the years of their service.

You could tell that they weren’t just coworkers; they were family.

That’s what struck me the most about Celestial Seasonings. Yes, it’s a successful Colorado company. Yes, it’s a company that started out in small-town Boulder and grew to a market of 60 countries. Yes, the event was a Zero Waste Event, meaning every single piece of trash from the party was either composted or recycled. But, what struck me the most was the passion for not only their product, but their people.