Is It Tea Time?

Combining a couple of my favorite things – getting goodies in the mail and tea – Simple Loose Leaf has it in the bag (er…not really since it is loose leaf)!

I’ve gone to tea shops and not certain of what type to purchase. Do I feel like Black Tea, Green Tea, Herbal, or Oolong? Do I purchase based on the way one smells today – when tomorrow I may be in a different mood? Each month you are sent at least four (4) loose leaf teas.

In this month’s box. There were five teas! The Cranberry Cider Herbal Tea, Lavender Sencha Green, Ceylon Supreme, Pumpkin Spice Rooibos (which I absolutely LOVED) and Bird Nest Pu’er.

I did have my own pot with a strainer built in. This worked perfectly to brew a couple cups at once.

Here’s a little about each of the teas we got this time:

  • Cranberry Cider Herbal: it was sort of sweet with cinnamonny (is that a word?) kick kind of reminded us of mulled wine that I don’t let them have. And way less expensive than Glogg.
  • Pumpkin Spice Rooibos: I used it as an after dinner treat on a cold Colorado night. Made me think of all the yummy pumpkin spice stuff that Starbucks is so famous for. We did serve this one with creamer and sugar. Tasted like dessert.
  • Ceylon Supreme: the card said it was from Sri Lanka (cool global exploration). I liked the nutty kick. Was even better with a splash of Vanilla Almond Milk.
  • Lavender Sencha Green: While the card said that this would provide clarity…I didn’t feel all that much more clear than normal. 😉 But the scent was delightful.
  • Bird Nest Pu’er: This is the only one we have not used. It looks like a tea pellet. But the card included said that it does have slimming effects – so I may be totally into that part when we get around to trying it.

We (my daughter drank it with me too) can’t wait to get our next box! She liked the Cranberry Cider Herbal (and I liked that it doesn’t have caffeine) and I liked the Pumpkin Spice Rooibos. What kind of tea do you like? Would you try others?

*For clarification, I did receive a three month membership to Simple Loose Leaf tea as part of a promotion for bloggers. I do however, love tea. I do love mail and may continue (paid on my own) after the promotional period).

Chicago In A Weekend

Several years ago, I won a trip to Los Angeles to see Taylor Swift in concert. I took my daughter. I have felt that I owed a trip to my son. (I’m one of those moms that tries really hard to make both my kids even!) So as his 16th birthday approached – I learned that I had achieved Companion status on Southwest Airlines. So I invited him to pick a destination and we would go there for his birthday. (I work with HelmsBriscoe – so I believed that I had hotel taken care of).

He decided that he wanted to go to Chicago. He also said he didn’t want to go unless his sister could go with. So, I booked my flight. I got his for free (companion) and then used some points for her flight. We were on our own Southwest Vacation!

Our agenda:

Saturday: Arrival at Midway at approx 9:50. Get picked up by my friend, Jennifer (who works for Starwood). She took us to The Gwen where we would be treated to an amazing suite and adjoining room. Thanks to the Chicago CVB (Choose Chicago) we were treated to tickets to the famous Field Museum. So the kids and I set out to walk across the park(s) to the museum seeing “The Bean” (officially called Cloud Gate) along the way. We also made sure to stop by a hot dog cart and get a real Chicago Dog. We messed around in the museum and then walked “home” to The Gwen. We did go out in the rain/snow again and got dinner at Gino’s East. Gino’s took a really long time. Despite being warned that it would take a while – we stayed. I felt satisfied that I had made sure that my kids got the quintissential Chicago food (Hot Dog and Pizza).

Sunday: Sunday I let the kids sleep in a bit. Then we headed out to the Willis Tower. I asked the kids if they would like to get an Uber or if we wanted to walk. They said walk. While it was only a 1.5 mile walk. It sure seemed longer in the Chicago cold. The Willis Tower had a thing called The SkyDeck on the 103rd floor. Where you can literally step out on a glass box (jutting outside of the building) and be above the city. We were glad we went that day as it was much clearer than it had been the previous day. Then we went to the John Hancock Building off Michigan Avenue to Tilt! and 360 Chicago. Once again, we were treated to amazing views – and literally tilted out over the city. For lunch, we headed to Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch. But I think more than the food – or even who Harry was my son really liked the interactive Chicago Sports Museum (the interactive exhibits were really fun) – and admission is free with a certain purchase amount at the restaurant.

We headed back to the hotel then grabbed an Uber to the Colorado Avalanche v. Chicago Blackhawks game at the United Center. The atmosphere in the center is amazing! And Chicago really does love their Blackhawks. We had great seats and enjoyed the game (even though we – the Avalanche – lost). We were a little worried being the only people in Avalanche gear that we would be heckled – but the guys who sat next to us said, “no, not in Chicago – we are a sports town and just really like a great competition.” They were right!

IMG_1250[1]

Monday morning: Sadly, we had to fly back to reality. Although I thought I was a bit funny – when my daughter noticed on the flight tracker that it said we had 3 hours left in the flight, despite us being about an hour into a two and a half hour flight. I said very calmly, maybe we got on the wrong plane and we’re not headed back to Denver. She kept looking out the window very nervously until touchdown at DIA. #HomeSweetHome.

I need to send out a special thank you to Starwood Hotels (Jennifer and Haley) – our hotel host; Choose Chicago (Dawn) – for tickets to Field Museum, Sky Deck, 360 Chicago, Tilt and BLACKHAWKS (Dawn at Chicago and Steve at Blackhawks); and of course Southwest Airlines for my companion pass and easy to redeem points.

We had a great time in Chicago and may have even inspired a future Chicago resident in my son.

Where would you take a Southwest Airlines weekend get away? What would you do when you are there? Do you look at the Southwest site to get ideas? (There are lots of great ideas/sales right now)

Denver Deals: Stocks Show, Free Days, and more

I am the deals editor. I don’t often play the Powerball (and I rarely have cash because I can’t track where it goes). But I decided this week to play. I mean really, if it is $1.3 Billion – with a “B” – I may win right? Do you dream about what you will do with your money? That was exactly what I was thinking on my run yesterday. But I realized that Deals are so ingrained in me I would still probably look for a deal – a way to make my money go further. Would you?

Stock Show. The National Western Stock Show and VISIT DENVER have joined together to say thank you and celebrate the passing of ballot measure 2C with a FREE day at the 2016 Stock Show.  Denver voters and all stock show fans will receive free grounds admission on January 19 during the 110th National Western Stock Show, January 9-24, 2016.

Free Days. Visit either the Denver Botanic Gardens or National Parks for FREE on Monday, January 18 (The kids are out of school anyway because of Martin Luther King Day). If you like to plan a little further ahead check our schedule of free days for the first half  of this year!

Noodles and Company. Kids eat free on Jan 14, 21, and 28 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at  Noodles & Company. Get a free kids meal with the purchase of any regular entrée at participating locations. The kids menu includes spaghetti & meatballs, mac & cheese, buttered noodles and grilled chicken breast, as well as a drink and two sides. There will also be fun for kiddos during that time!

Celebrate Winter in Estes Park on Jan 16, 2016.  Part of a two-day celebration of winter with many events happening with clinics and igloo building.  There is even snowshoeing at this event.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Movie. It’s Bloody Lovely.  You and your (teen) daughter are invited to an advance screening of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES on 2/2 in Denver.  Visit www.sonyscreenings.com/PPZMamas to download your complimentary admit-two pass. (While supplies last. Passes do not guarantee admission as theater is overbooked. Please arrive early for a chance to get in. Cell phones and recording devices will not be permitted into the theater.) PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES opens in theaters February 5th! Check out the website for more info: https://www.facebook.com/PPZMovie (rated PG-13)

The Nest. Get $10 tickets to DCPA show, “The Nest”. Thanks to the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a limited number of deeply discounted tickets through the DCPAccess program are available. No promo codes needed — if a DCPAccess ticket is available for a show date, the option to purchase will show up on their site or will be offered by their ticketing staff. On sale Tuesday, January 12 at 12 noon. About The Nest: When you have a seat at the bar called The Nest, no conversation is off-limits, whether you’re speaking or eavesdropping. That is, until a stranger walks in with a lucrative proposition. Pulitzer Prize finalist Theresa Rebeck’s plays “may make you laugh or shudder (or both)” according to American Theatre, and with its feisty humor and scorching dialogue, this explosive new comedy holds a cracked mirror up to friendships, romantic relationships and families. *Date night idea

Camp Experience Act Out.  The ladies of CampExperience will be at Act II Consignment in Littleton where we will Donate Our Duds to help charities, drink fantastic wine and eat snacks and learn some fashion tips from Dana Lynch PLUS get 50% off one item…………Act NOW to see the details and register!  January 14th Act II Littleton Donate Your Duds Party 5-8 pm. Bring friends to this free event.

Simple Loose Leaf. One of my favorite things to do is to enjoy a cup of tea at the end of the day – adding that to my love of receiving mail = AWESOME! Simple Loose Leaf 25% off Gift Membership or Ongoing Subscription signup – Use code: 25HOLIDAY
http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php
PretzelMaker. Through January get a pretzel for just $1 at Pretzel Maker.

Winter Ski Directory. We’re thrilled to launch the Colorado Family Ski/Ride Directory that focuses exclusively on families–from daily lift ticket prices to the cost of childcare to where to get the best deals….all in one convenient place so you can compare and contrast.

 =======

Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!

If you’re on Twitter follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out.

Kids Eat Free Mile High Mamas has rounded up a huge listing of local restaurants where kids eat free or for a discount with a paying adult.

Run Your Own Race

As multitudes of people have set those New Year’s Resolutions (and maybe already dropped off the band-wagon at the gym), created pretty collages like an elementary school project calling it a dream board, or maybe you have designs on something bigger – make more money, travel or to quit a bad habit.

This year I am choosing one simple resolution that is pervasive to help me achieve all the other things I could put on a dream board, be healthy, make more money, blah blah blah. That is – to  Run My Own Race. Yes, it’s that simple.

I fully admit that I have a bad case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I want to be at everything, wonder why I wasn’t invited to that gathering, I spend too much time mooning over what someone else’s life is like on Facebook (and other social media). I hear about the great trip they took or look at a photo of friends in fabulous outfits, or hear about the great client that they got that will mean a giant paycheck.

I decided this year – I want to be that person that someone else looks to and says “Hey she’s got a pretty fantastic life.” Not really. What I really want – is a mind set that says, I don’t really care what others think of me and for me to really do the best that I can do. I want to define myself and say that I’m AWESOME no matter what anyone else thinks because I’m doing what makes ME happy. That means I have to drive after my own dreams, I have to go after my own goals, I have to find my own resources and mentors.

That may even mean I literally run a race – or just live better as a member of the human race!

What is your resolution? Have you thought of the other questions? WHY are they important to you? WHO do you want to inspire with your Goal Achievement? WHAT will it meant to you to Achieve them? WHAT will become possible when you Achieve them?

Denver Deal: January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month

I grew up in Steamboat. And yes, we had skiing as our gym class in elementary school. After I had my kiddos I had not gone skiing in a long time mostly due to cost and I wasn’t sure if my kids would love it. Then when my son got his free pass in 5th Grade (back then there was not the Vail Epic School Kids offering it to Kindergartners) – he challenged me to learn snowboarding. The first time was not pretty (I could not figure out how to stop the stupid thing and was toted to the bottom of the ski area strapped to a sled provided by the lovely mountain staff). After that, I did get a lesson (on a cheap deal in January since it is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month) and the rest is sort of family history. I love snowboarding. I can’t wait to go every year! It is great fun with the family and yes, you can even get DEALS to do it. If you’ve never been….start now!

Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. We will continue to update you as we learn about great deals for Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month but here are a few to get you started.

  • Arapahoe Basin – Arapahoe Basin Ski Area’s Super Sunday lessons are morning, half-day only (2.5 hours) and include a lift ticket. Adults (ages 15+) are $80 and children (ages 3-14) are $100. Equipment rentals are not included but guests can find alpine ski and snowboard rentals on-site at the Arapahoe Basin rental shop. Super Sunday lessons are available January 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 as well as Friday, January 8 as Arapahoe Basin participates in the World’s Largest Lesson. For more information, visitwww.arapahoebasin.com.
  • Aspen/Snowmass + Limelight Hotel – New this year at the Limelight Hotel, the property introduces the Beginner Incentive Package that will make any newbie to the sport a skier for life. Offered in conjunction with the Aspen Snowmass Ski & Snowboard Schools, the package includes three full days of adult beginner lessons and four nights at the Limelight Hotel. Daily lunch is included in the experience, and the property’s local guides will escort skiers and riders to the slopes each day. Ski or Snowboard boot rentals, skis, snowboards and helmets are included. Guests also have the option to rent goggles, gloves, jackets and outerwear upon arrival from local retail partners.The package is valid during Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month from Jan. 2-17, 2016. Pricing for this all-inclusive package starts at $1,778 per person. Book now by visitingwww.limelighthotel.com or calling (844) 854-3387.
  • Copper Mountain – Copper announces Ski and Ride School University: No More Excuses for Winter Sport Never-Evers. Inspired by National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, Ski and Ride School U offers newbies aged 18 and older a hassle-free and affordable option to catch the winter bug. For $199 the package includes:Three ski or snowboard lessons, Lift tickets, Equipment rentals, Close-in parking, Lunch on the 2nd and 3rd day. Plus, upon graduation and completion of the third lesson, Copper will award participants a free season pass so guests can progress further on the slopes for the remainder of the winter. Quantities are limited and the package must be purchased in person at Copper Mountain. For more information, please visitwww.CopperColorado.com.
  • Eldora – Eldora Mountain Resort (EMR) is offering the Mountain Explorer Children’s Learn to Ski and Snowboard Package for $129. The day package includes an all mountain lift ticket, all day rental, and all day lesson, with snacks and lunch. Reservations are recommended; visit http://www.eldora.com/lessons.children.html for more information. For adults, EMR is offering the EASY 1-2-3 for $129. The day package includes one day of lower mountain lift access, all day equipment rental and 3.5 hour lesson (2 hours AM and 1.5 hours PM). Visit http://www.eldora.com/lessons.daily.html for more information.
  • Loveland – All children (ages 4-14) regardless of ability who pre-purchase or complete 3 full day lesson packages receive a free, unrestricted season pass to keep practicing their skiing or snowboarding skills for the rest of the season. Children’s full day lesson packages include lesson, lift access, rentals (ski or snowboard) and lunch.  Full day lessons are from 10am through 3:30pm daily. Phone reservations are available or guests can register at the Loveland Valley between 8am and 9am. Participants who pre-purchase can enjoy the season pass all winter long. Pre-purchase price is $336 for ages 6-14 skiers & snowboarders (Includes Season Pass); $360 for ages 4-5 skiers (Includes Season Pass & early drop off)
  • Monarch – Kids ages 7 and up who have never been skiing or riding before, get the package including an all-day lift ticket, a ski or snowboard rental, a helmet rental, and a 4-hour group lesson for just $139. Plus, take the lesson package between the dates specified you will receive a free lift ticket for your next visit this season! Book the lesson on their website, skimonarch.com. (http://www.skimonarch.com/learn-to-ski-month/
  • Crested Butte – During the month of January, first time skiers and riders, ages 15 and older can sign up for a first time beginner adventure lesson with the Crested Butte Ski + Ride School fro $79. This package includes full-day ski or snowboard lesson, full day adult lift ticket (valid for limited lift access on the day of the lesson) and 1/ off a single-day equipment rental package. (Expires 1/31/2016).
  • Steamboat – Guests at Steamboat can build confidence while they learn in a safe, controlled, terrain-based environment with instructors that guide them every step of the way. Steamboat’s Learn to Ski/Ride Package opens the slopes with two days of lessons, rentals and lift tickets for just $199 from Jan. 4-31. Learn to Ski/Ride is available for adults and children ages 1st Grade and older. For more information, visitwww.steamboat.com or call 800.299.5017.
  • Sunlight – Skier Appreciation Day at Sunlight (January 8) offers $20 lift tickets to all skiers and snowboarders with 100 percent of the proceeds being donated to the United Way of Garfield County. In addition, on January 10 Sunlight will host Student/Teacher Appreciation Day, with $20 lift tickets for students and free lift tickets for teachers.
  • If you got the Vail Epic School Kids, use your free lesson and equipment rental this month. Call to your favorite resort (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, or Keystone) to make your reservation.
  • Winter Park – Winter Park Ski + Ride School’s multi-week Fish Programs can accommodate children from age 3 to 14. With the 7 week Piranhas Program, 5 week Barracudas Program, or the 3 week Minnows Program, kids will have a blast while making new friends, and developing new skills on the slopes. Groups are broken down by age and ability level, from beginner to expert. Programs include instruction from the same coach each week, GPS tracking, and lunch. Programs for the month of January begin at $259 and may be reserved here:http://www.winterparkresort.com/plan-your-trip/lessons/kids-multiweek-lessons.aspx
  • Wolf Creek – Wolf Creek Ski Area offers a variety of ski and snowboard packages to help introduce never-evers to the sport. During the month of January, Wolf Creek is offering a four-week Camp Robbers clinic for kids. For $231 ($264 for non-Season Pass holders) lift ticket, ski rental, four hours of instruction, lunch, and snacks are all included each week. Children will be grouped with the same children and instructor each week for the clinic. Not only will the kids improve on their skills, but also this class design will encourage socialization and friendship over the four-week span. Mountain safety, fun races, and a terrain garden are all featured in this program. For more information, visithttp://www.wolfcreekski.com.
  • Estes Park, COJan 16, 2016 – Part of a two-day celebration of winter with many other events happening with clinics and igloo building.  This is a snowshoe only event. (It’s not just ski and snowboard month!)

Winter Ski Directory. We’re thrilled to launch the Colorado Family Ski/Ride Directory that focuses exclusively on families–from daily lift ticket prices to the cost of childcare to where to get the best deals….all in one convenient place so you can compare and contrast.

 =======

Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!

My Car Birthed A Bean Bag

So after recently moving to my own house in Roxborough area. I had more space than I did furniture to fill it. My son mentioned that he wanted one of those really giant bean bags for what he’s calling “his man-cave” in the basement.

I started by shopping for them online. When I realized that they were well over $200 each, I decided to start looking on Craigslist to see if I could bargain for one at a lower price. I found one that said it was in a pet free, smoke-free home. The seller did warn me that it was rather big and I would not be able to pick it up in a regular car. No problem. I cleaned out all the snowboard gear in the back of my Jeep and headed toward Aurora.

Upon my arrival, I saw that the bag was indeed big – it looked like it was in good condition and I had bargained the seller down to just $20. (A virtual steal in my mind). She said she would have her room mates there (two guys) to help load it into my car. It seemed to slide in pretty easily. I paid her the money and headed back toward my house. (I was by myself, my kids were with their dad and I was trying to do this as a Christmas present for my son – who plays football and could certainly have helped me move it).

When I arrived to my house – I quickly realized that I was not going to just slide this thing out of my car. I was going to have to push and pull and heave and ho…about 20 minutes later from the inside of my car pushing toward the outside the bag dislodged. I was certain it looked to my neighbors that I was absolutely crazy. (But secretly hoping that no one was looking out their windows on a cold, dark December night).

I then dragged the bean bag over to the door of the house. When I then realized I could not easily push it through the door jam. So once again – push, pull, heave, ho. Twenty minutes later I got it through the door. Now what? Now the neighbors can’t watch as I wrestle it down the hall and toss it down the stairs (letting gravity take it to the basement). I finally get it down there in all it’s glorious oversizeness. But now there is NO WAY I was going to be able to hide it. So I relaxed on it (I had worked out to get it there) and then affixed a giant bow.

When the kids got back home. My son seemed to love it and my daughter treated it like a mat at her Cheer Gym. All seemed to be good.

The next Saturday, my precocious little neighbor girl says hello. Bounces across the street with her friend in tow and asks – Did your car have a bean bag baby the other night? Yeah, I guess it did look like my car was birthing a cow or a bean bag.