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 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.

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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: McDonalds, Sonic, Driver Training, Consignments and More

I’m sort of obsessed with mail. I love getting mail. I subscribe to a bunch of magazines and get so excited when they arrive. I have even joined some of those “of the month” clubs. I thought this was just my obsession until my daughter asked me, “hey mom, when is that Try the World Box coming?” It came the very next day. This time the country was Japan. Each month they focus on a country or region and we get to taste a few goodies from that location. It is lots of fun to have an at home learning experience.

McDonalds.  McDonald’s introduced a new app for customers that delivers advanced capabilities from the convenience of your smartphone. By downloading the new app and registering, receive a National offer for a FREE large sandwich from McDonald’s, while also taking advantage of offers throughout the state of Colorado that are now offered locally beginning September 21st. Available only for the first 8 million downloads.  When you download the app must also must register to receive national offers. 

Sonic. Sonic is celebrating National Ice Cream Day (I Scream!) with cones for half off on Wednesday, September 23.

Free Day.

Elitch Gardens Broncos Special. Touchdown! Elitch Gardens Theme Park is excited for football season and is celebrating that Orange-and-Blue-Fever with the lowest-ever ticket prices. Announcing a Fan Flash Sale boasting a discount ticket worth tackling, Broncos fans will be able to score big and purchase a general admission ticket for just $18, as a shout out to #18 Peyton Manning, for one day only on the day following every Broncos win from September 13 through October 18.

Free Driving Training. On September 26 and 27, the Bridgestone Teens Drive Smart Driving Experience is coming to Denver. This free, half-day driver training program that provides teens with knowledge to make better decisions while driving. The program features a safe, hands-on driving introduction for teens in a fun, supervised environment. At the Driving Experience, we teach teens various driving maneuvers, demonstrate the effects of distracted driving and show them ways to help keep their vehicle running at peak performance. A valid learner’s permit or driver’s license is required to participate in the Teens Drive Smart Driving Experience. http://www.teensdrivesmarttour.com/

Kids Consignment Sale Season. It that time of year again! Mile High Mamas has published our guide to Children’s Consignment Sales this fall where you’ll get bargains on kids’ clothing for newborn-preteen, toys, strollers, furniture, baby equipment, books, shoes, maternity items and more. Sales this week:

  • September 24-27Just Between Friends of Douglas County. Thursday-Friday 9 a.m.–7 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.–3 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (half-price sale). $2 admission all days. at Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock
  • September 25 and 26CLC Mops – New To You Consignment Sale. Times: TBD at 8997 South Broadway in Highlands Ranch.
  • September 25 and 26. Kids ReNew Consignment Sale. Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-noon (white tickets half-price on Saturday) at Shepherd of the Hills Christian School, 7691 S University Blvd. in Centennial
  • September 26. SuperTwins of the Rocky Mountains Sale 9 a.m.-noon. $1 admission at Wheat Ridge High School
  • September 26. Darling Doubles. 8 a.m.-12 p.m.; 12 p.m.-1 p.m. (half-price sale). $2 admission. At Adams County Fairgrounds in Brighton

Hey fourth graders: Do you want to see America’s natural wonders and historic sites for free? Earlier this year, the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative was announced that all fourth grade students and their families would have free admission to National Parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges and waters for a full year starting in the 2015-2016 school year. That day has come so grab your fourth grader and be sure to sign up now at https://everykidinapark.gov/.

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: Qdoba, McDonalds, Free Days and More

I have been a guest to several shows at the Denver Center for a couple years now. There are some shows that stick out in my mind such as the big-name ones like Wicked and Annie! But the ones I seem to like the best are the ones that surprise me. I really liked Peter and the Starcatcher a couple years ago, and The 12 earlier this year.  That is why I’m very excited to see LookingGlass Alice. The show is supposed to be about Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole. The description says it is funny and imaginative transporting audiences down the rabbit hole to a circus-infused playground. It is only here September 11 through October 11 and tickets are part of the Denver Center’s reduced-price ticket program.

Free Days

Free Driving Training. On September 26 and 27, the Bridgestone Teens Drive Smart Driving Experience is coming to Denver. This free, half-day driver training program that provides teens with knowledge to make better decisions while driving. The program features a safe, hands-on driving introduction for teens in a fun, supervised environment. At the Driving Experience, we teach teens various driving maneuvers, demonstrate the effects of distracted driving and show them ways to help keep their vehicle running at peak performance. A valid learner’s permit or driver’s license is required to participate in the Teens Drive Smart Driving Experience. http://www.teensdrivesmarttour.com/

Free Women’s Vitality Event. On September 19 from noon-4 p.m., come to Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy in Greenwood Village for personalized health and wellness solutions. Enjoy free mini-facials and makeovers, free product samples and save up to $20 with in-store coupons! http://www.pharmaca.com/womens-health.aspx

Qdoba BOGO. Qdoba is offering a buy one get one free (entree) mid-week promotion this week, September 8 and 9th. Just mention Buddy Pass when you place and settle your order.

McDonalds Free Breakfast. Mom used to say, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and once again, mom was right. On Wednesday, September 9, McDonalds is offering FREE breakfast to kids kindergarten through 8th grade. From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. kids can get apple slices and their choice of an Egg McMuffin or Egg White Delight McMuffin and milk or Minute Maid orange juice.

Kids Consignment Sale Season. It that time of year again! Mile High Mamas has published our guide to Children’s Consignment Sales this fall where you’ll get bargains on kids’ clothing for newborn-preteen, toys, strollers, furniture, baby equipment, books, shoes, maternity items and more. The sale this week is Just Between Friends of Arvada September 9-13.

Red Robin Fundraising. Red Robin’s Burgers for Better Schools! In case you needed a reason to eat at Red Robin, here’s another. They’ve launched a national program that they’ll give 1% of your total bill back to your selected school EVERY TIME YOU DINE AT RED ROBIN! No more waiting for a special fundraiser nights that include the entire school in 2 hours- this is all day, every day and even Grandma in Ohio can help little Jimmy’s school here in Colorado.  If you are not already a Red Robin Royalty member, sign up for free and select a school to support BEFORE visiting Red Robin!  http://www.redrobin.com/betterschools

 Denver Theater. They are doubling their reduced-price ticket program to provide access to even more people and more shows — even occasional Cabaret and Broadway productions! Plus, you can now order online as well as in person and by phone. Tickets cost $10.00 EACH (with additional $1.50 service fee per ticket). Limit of 4 tickets per production. Some of the shows currently available are LookingGlass Alice (which I’m excited to take my kids to), As You Like It, Tribes, A Christmas Carol, The Nest, All The Way, Fade, Sweeney Todd, The SantaLand Diaries. Each has a specific on-sale date.

Hey fourth graders: Do you want to see America’s natural wonders and historic sites for free? Earlier this year, the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative was announced that all fourth grade students and their families would have free admission to National Parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges and waters for a full year starting in the 2015-2016 school year. That day has come so grab your fourth grader and be sure to sign up now at https://everykidinapark.gov/.

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

*This post is also on MileHighMamas.com