Summer Bucket List

If someone ever asked me what my favorite season is, I always respond with an emphatic SUMMER! There is something so divinely awesome about the long warm days of summer. For most people it is also the time to slow things down – not have such a frenetic pace (especially those of us who are parents who drive our kids in circles to school related activities). I’ve only recently admitted to myself that I’m a planner – every summer I plan to knock these items from the summer bucket list.

  1. Swim at the lake. I live near Chatfield Reservior. There are several ways to enjoy the lake. No matter if it is dropping my (kids) kayak in the water, renting a stand up paddleboard or hitting the roped off swim part. Nothing says summer to me quite like hanging out at a lake on a hot summer day.
  2. Visit a national or state park. Again if I go over to Chatfield I also knock visiting a state park off my list – but usually what I mean by this is going on a hike. Living in Colorado we are very lucky that we have many options open to us. Lucky for us Colorado Day (the day Colorado became a state) is August 1 and that typically means free entrance to Colorado State Parks or we can get free entrance to National Parks August 25 on National Park Service Day.
  3. Around a campfire. I would say tell ghost stories around a campfire – but honestly I don’t like scary stories…so let’s just say stories or sing. No matter if you really are going to be at camp or not – there are several options to have a safe fire right in your backyard. It is just a fun time to connect with the others around the fire with you…and maybe make a s’more or two.
  4. Camp. I tried to take my kids camping once shortly after I divorced. We went to the Sand Dunes. I borrowed a tent from my parents which was pretty old – and the sand really is no place to anchor a tent. You can rent a tent from REI (I should have done this instead). But it was fun and the kids tell stories of it years later (the fact that the tent literally fell down makes it funnier). But even if you don’t mess with a tent or with actually going somewhere – you can always camp in your back yard or even in your living room (I was in an apartment – so camping in the common areas really wasn’t a good idea or even really an option).
  5. Ice Cream Patrol. When I was a youngster my dad would gather all the kids in the neighborhood,  we would all climb into his little jeep and head down to BaskinRobbins. He would buy everyone an ice cream cone! There was not usually a reason – just a “because.” This was back in the days before seatbelt laws so kids were hanging out the back and sides of the jeep – with the doors off and the back rolled up.
  6. Drive a convertible. I was lucky enough to tool around in the jeep (which in my estimation is the ultimate in summer vehicles). But, there is something completely summer and different when you take a ride in a convertible or a jeep with the doors off than just riding around in a mini-van with all the windows rolled down.  If you don’t own a convertable rent one just for the day or the weekend!
  7. Watch a movie outside. We went to see a movie last summer on the grass just outside the Alamo Draft House in Littleton (at Aspen Grove Shopping Center). The movie was free and it was quite festive. We saw Hunger Games – prior to the movie they had a character dressed up as Effie, archery, popcorn and more. This year, we will be hosting our own Friday Free Movie. We got an inexpensive projector that we can hook up to our computer or phone and show movies! Host your own or go to a community event (or both).
  8. BBQ. Either host one or go to one. A rite of summer is eating food that has been cooked caveman style – over a flame. (If you feel like sharing your best recipe…email it to me). It doesn’t have to be expensive – it can be hot dogs and hamburgers or something bigger like ribs. Who’s recipe is really better KC BBQ or Louisville?
  9. Take me out to the ball game. When my son played baseball (he now focuses on football) we had our fill of ball games. But summer just isn’t summer without a ball game. Going to the Rockies doesn’t have to be expensive. There are rock-pile tickets that can be just $8 each and even better when you go on $1 hot dog day (promotion). No matter if you watch the game or the people it is bound to be fun. If you can’t make it to the game – make your own. You can buy a whiffle ball and bat for something like $1 at Dollar Tree!
  10. Read a fun novel or flip through a magazine. Reading is a whole different thing when it has not been assigned by a teacher. Choose your own escape – or a beach novel. Something perfect for outside – or just take your time flipping through the pages of a magazine. (One of my favorites is National Geographic Traveler – so I can dream about being on a beach somewhere).
  11. Picnic. So I’m not a great cook. That isn’t a secret. What is a secret is that if I take that same food outside and serve it at a picnic table or on a beach blanket – a simple sandwich, chips and lemonade seem that much more tasty.
  12. Stargaze. I can’t honestly tell you what the Leo constellation looks like (I’m a Leo). But with cool apps you can point your phone at the sky and it will define what each star, planet or constellation is. It is fun to sit out on a clear summer night taking in the awe of the sky – or even noticing the path that the airlines take (they take one right over my house so it is fun to watch them track the same path about 5 mintues apart from each other).
  13. Grow a garden. For the first time last year, I had my own garden. I didn’t have high hopes. The last time I tried I inadvertently pulled the actual vegetables I had planted – fearing they were weeds. This time I planted starters (so I could see what I actually planted – and could recognize what a weed was). I was so excited that I actually grew my own zucchini and green peppers. I had basil coming out my ears…and oh my the raspberries (my favorite). For just $1 a packet of seeds this is a fun reason to be outside all summer long!
  14. Meet the neighbors. In Colorado we hole up in our houses in the cold winter months. The only time I see my neighbors is when there is a big snowstorm and we all have to shovel or when they are driving away to work. This past summer, we made a point to put our chairs on the FRONT porch a couple nights of the week. To just “be”. We were outside so the neighbors could see us. It was fantastic meeting everyone. I look forward to that again.
  15. Find the Freebies. Summer seems to be the time for free entertainment. We have free concerts by local bands all around town, the obvious free fireworks displays at 4th of July and as previously mentioned lots of free movie showings. I write about these freebies quite often on MileHighMamas.com. Check out my annual free concerts list – which will be posted in late May.

No matter what you do this summer it is certainly bound to be fun! What is on your annual summer bucket list? What is your favorite summer tradition?

Denver Deal: IHOP, Sonic, 7-Eleven, Lowe’s, Ace and More

I used to fancy myself as a bit of a fee spirit – not really conforming to schedule and rigidity. However it was recently pointed out to me that I am more and more a schedule person. I think being a mom has really turned me into that. I have to know which child is going where, what they need (even though they are teens and typically pack it themselves – but sometimes we have to go to the store to buy stuff) and I usually write the cool FREE events I write about here on my calendar. If I don’t have my calendar up we might miss something. I guess some things DO change.

IHOP.  IHOP is celebrating 57 years in business July 7 with 57 cent short stack of pancakes.

Sonic. Thursday, July 9 Sonic will offer 1/2 price off ice-cream cones all day! Now that is an awesome summer treat!

Free Days

Celebrate 7-Eleven Day.  July 11 (get it? 7-Eleven) 7-Eleven will give away free small slurpees. It also starts 7Rewards week with other great freebies all week long.

Lowe’s Build and Grow. Lowe’s FREE Build And Grow clinic is this Saturday at 10 a.m. Their Avengers Summer continues with Black Widow! Register your child and they can build this Sky Cycle inspired by “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble!” Watch the Animated Series Sunday Mornings on Disney XD! Visit marvelkids.com for Avengers games and more!

American Idol Stops in Denver. Get your FREE tickets to see the auditions live (but the judges won’t be here). The event will take place at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, July 10. Kids 12+ can go and be part of the filmed audience.

Ace Hardware Highlands Ranch. There is still space for Wednesday’s ladies grill class put on by Chef Jason Morse of 5280 Culinary. Join us July 8 from 11:00-12:30 as he teaches healthier grilling techniques (we’ll have crafts available to keep the kids busy during that time). Then the kids (preferably ages 9+) can take a grill class of their own from 12:30-1:30. Learn more about this great day and reserve your spot here:  http://www.myaceonline.com/girls-grills-class

Ongoing

Free, healthy summer meals for Colorado kids and teens. Summer should be a fun and enriching time for all Colorado children, but for many it represents a time when they are at the greatest risk of hunger due to lost access to school meals. Thanks to a statewide collaboration to address child hunger, 533 community sites across Colorado will provide meals to children up to 18 years old at no cost this summer.  Colorado families can find nearby summer food sites by using an interactive map at KidsFoodFinder.org or calling the statewide, bilingual Hunger Free Hotline toll-free at (855) 855-4626.

Free Outdoors Movies and Concerts. Denver is chock-full of great, talented musicians that play around town for free – and what is better than a movie outdoors on a cool summer night among about 500 of your closest friends? Don’t miss our round-up of free outdoor movies and concerts this summer.

Harkins Summer Movie Fun. Harkins Summer Movie Fun program for kids is back again this year. Kids can enjoy a movie a week for 10 weeks, for less than $1 per film. Make Harkins Summer Movie Fun for kids an annual tradition for your family. All adults must be accompanied by children.  Tickets are on sale now at participating locations. Movies this summer include: Boxtrolls, The Lorax, Rio 2, Dolphin Tale 2, Curious George, Nut Job, Puss in Boots, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and Penguins of Madagascar.

Cinemark Movie Clubhouse. There’s nothing quite like spending a hot day in a cool movie theater.Cinemark has a 10-week film fest of its own: $5 for 10 movies when purchased in advance at cinemark.com.  If you delay and purchase at the theater, movies are still just $1. Most locations start on Wednesday, June 2 with screenings starting at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and/or Wednesday. The film line-up includes The Croods, The LEGO Movie, Dolphin Tale 2, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Penguins of Madagascar, Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Alvin and The Chipmunks: Chip Wrecked, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days and The Nut Job.

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading. Kids can earn a free book of their won from Barnes & Noble (one of my favorite stores) in three easy steps. Step 1: Read any 8 books and record them in the Reading Journal (PDF). Step 2: Bring the completed Reading Journal to your local B&N store. (Find a Store). then Step 3: choose a FREE BOOK from our selection on the Reading Journal list at the store… Enjoy reading!

Free Denver Walking Tours Denver parents, kiddos, and visitors alike will be able to see and experience downtown Denver in a new way. They’ll be able to take advantage of Denver Free Walking Tours’ new two hour daily tours that leave at 10 a.m. daily, starting in Civic Center Park, then wind through downtown past more than a dozen of Denver’s distinctive landmarks, and end in front of Coors Field. No reservations needed and tours are every day – rain, snow, or shine.  There’s no up-front cost for this fun, educational opportunity for kids and parents but tipping is strongly recommended. If you’d like a tour specifically geared to your kids, Denver Walking Tours offers group tours for a nominal charge so grab your friends for a fun day of learning this summer!

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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.

Denver Deal: Sonic, JC Penney, Movies and More

Happy Father’s Day! My dad always cheered my sister and me on when we scored a great deal. I always thought that was the girl thing (you know, mom clipping coupons to go to the grocery store). But if we could get a buy-one get-one free or a fun “extra” that we couldn’t really afford, my dad  is always the first one to cheer us on. His birthday is near Father’s Day so we presented him with coupons from a bunch of places freebies this year – he said, “this will be the best week ever.”  I hope this is your best week ever too!

 Kneaders Bakery & Café will open Friday, June 26 at 7:00 a.m.  To celebrate their Grand Opening, the first 100 customers will receive a complimentary meal of Kneaders famous French toast! With 3 locations in Colorado and over 35 locations throughout the west, Kneaders Bakery and Café specializes in authentic European hearth breads that are made fresh daily. The fast-casual restaurant also offers a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches and 40-50 different pastries in a charming, family-friendly environment.  Their Arvada location will open at 7945 Wadsworth Blvd and will serve customers Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Michaels’ Passport to Imagination. If you have crafty kids, be sure to take them to Michaels on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays where they can get their craft on from 10 a.m.-noon. Cost is just $5 (or $12 for three sessions) and you must pre-register here. You’ll have time at the end of session to doodle, play and create with the products from that week’s sponsor.

Lakeside Amusement Park savings. Groupon is currently offering the following deal: Admission and Unlimited Rides for Two or Four at Lakeside Amusement Park (Up to 44% Off). There are two options: $27 for admission and unlimited rides for two (Up to $45 value) or $50 for admission and unlimited rides for four (Up to $90 value). The all-access admission allows guests to enjoy the park’s bevy of activities, such as a roller coaster, the merry-go-round, and Kiddies’ Playland.

SportsAuthority Football Field Day.  Sports Authority Football Field Day for kids ages 6 to 14, hosted by Sports Authority and USA Football’s Heads Up Football initiative. The high-energy event will allow participants to train where the Denver Broncos play their home games, Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The training will include a strong emphasis on safety where players navigate through stations dedicated to improving specific skills, such as passing, catching, running, Heads-Up tackling and more. The event is June 28. There are morning and afternoon sessions. Sports Authority Football Field Day is free and open to the public. To reserve your spot on the field and for more information, please click here

Sonic. We know summer is here when I get the hankering (seriously, did I just use the word hankering?!??) for ice cream shakes and other sweet yummy drinks. Apparently, Sonic believes the same as they offer half-price shakes all day on Thursday, June 18!

Bath and Body Works. Bath and Body Works is having their semi-annual sale starting June 1 (going through the month). Great bath and body care including fragrances, lotions and bath soap at up to 75% off!

Free Movie. Best Friend. Hero. Marine. You and your heroes are invited to a special advance screening of MAX on June 22! Visit http://www.wbtickets.com/MAXMamas to download your admit-four pass! Please note that seating is NOT guaranteed, so please arrive early for a chance to get in! MAX in theaters June 26!

Greek Festival. Friday, June 19 through Sunday, June 21 experience Greek culture, food, drink and dancing at the Greek Festival. The party happens at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Tickets are $5 for adults, Kids 12 and under get in free.

JC Penney Bonus Cash. Kohl’s has been doing it for years – spend $50 get $10 back in Bonus Cash. I recently received an email that JC Penney is also doing the Bonus Cash offer (same deal – spend $50 get $10) through this Sunday, June 21. Plus, they have additional discounts of extra 20% off!

QDoba Buddy Pass. QDoba is offering a buy one get one free entrees this Tuesday (June 16) and Wednesday (June 17). Just say “Mid-Week Buddy Pass” when you place and pay for your meal. Qdoba is also offering a free entree when you put $30 or more on your Q Cash (like the Starbucks phone app where you can pay from your phone).

Ongoing

Free, healthy summer meals for Colorado kids and teens. Summer should be a fun and enriching time for all Colorado children, but for many it represents a time when they are at the greatest risk of hunger due to lost access to school meals. Thanks to a statewide collaboration to address child hunger, 533 community sites across Colorado will provide meals to children up to 18 years old at no cost this summer.  Colorado families can find nearby summer food sites by using an interactive map at KidsFoodFinder.org or calling the statewide, bilingual Hunger Free Hotline toll-free at (855) 855-4626.

Free Outdoors Movies and Concerts. Denver is chock-full of great, talented musicians that play around town for free – and what is better than a movie outdoors on a cool summer night among about 500 of your closest friends? Don’t miss our round-up of free outdoor movies and concerts this summer.

Harkins Summer Movie Fun. Harkins Summer Movie Fun program for kids is back again this year. Kids can enjoy a movie a week for 10 weeks, for less than $1 per film. Make Harkins Summer Movie Fun for kids an annual tradition for your family. All adults must be accompanied by children.  Tickets are on sale now at participating locations. Movies this summer include: Boxtrolls, The Lorax, Rio 2, Dolphin Tale 2, Curious George, Nut Job, Puss in Boots, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and Penguins of Madagascar.

Cinemark Movie Clubhouse. There’s nothing quite like spending a hot day in a cool movie theater.Cinemark has a 10-week film fest of its own: $5 for 10 movies when purchased in advance at cinemark.com.  If you delay and purchase at the theater, movies are still just $1. Most locations start on Wednesday, June 2 with screenings starting at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and/or Wednesday. The film line-up includes The Croods, The LEGO Movie, Dolphin Tale 2, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Penguins of Madagascar, Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Alvin and The Chipmunks: Chip Wrecked, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days and The Nut Job.

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading. Kids can earn a free book of their won from Barnes & Noble (one of my favorite stores) in three easy steps. Step 1: Read any 8 books and record them in the Reading Journal (PDF). Step 2: Bring the completed Reading Journal to your local B&N store. (Find a Store). then Step 3: choose a FREE BOOK from our selection on the Reading Journal list at the store… Enjoy reading!

Free Denver Walking Tours Denver parents, kiddos, and visitors alike will be able to see and experience downtown Denver in a new way. They’ll be able to take advantage of Denver Free Walking Tours’ new two hour daily tours that leave at 10 a.m. daily, starting in Civic Center Park, then wind through downtown past more than a dozen of Denver’s distinctive landmarks, and end in front of Coors Field. No reservations needed and tours are every day – rain, snow, or shine.  There’s no up-front cost for this fun, educational opportunity for kids and parents but tipping is strongly recommended. If you’d like a tour specifically geared to your kids, Denver Walking Tours offers group tours for a nominal charge so grab your friends for a fun day of learning this summer!

  =======

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.

 

Denver Deal: Free Concerts and Movies Summer 2015

What does summer mean to you? Does it mean sitting by a pool? Taking a hike? A picnic in a park? In addition to all the great free days at attractions (posted here), we are lucky to have several venues who have free entertainment from free outdoor concerts to free movies and more. Denver is chock-full of great, talented musicians that play around town for free – and what is better than a movie outdoors on a cool summer night among about 500 of your closest friends? I say nothing! Nothing is better.

June

Week of June 1 –

Week of June 8 –

Week of June 15 –

Week of June 22 –

Week of June 29 –


July

July 4 Festivities –

Week of July 6 –

Week of July 13 –

Week of July 20 –

Week of July 27 –

 August

Week of August 3 –

Week of August 10 –

Week of August 17 –

Week of August 24 –

Week of August 31 (and Labor Day Weekend) –

  • Taste of Colorado