I say this all the time... but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's all about love and food, two of the best things in the world. And there used to be a time when I spent a big chunk of the long weekend addressing our Christmas cards and getting them ready to mail. I fell off that tradition over the past few years, but Zazzle is helping me get my mojo back. Have you heard of Zazzle? In general, they allow you to created personalized gifts from photos. Specifically, they have really lovely options for holiday cards. They have given me $150 to spend at their store and actually get some cards out this year. My mother will be utterly thrilled.
We just got back from Costa Rica! It was my second time, and the first for my boys. I had gone last year for a conference, and was able to do some excursions, but I was determined that this trip would be all about family travel fun, especially for parents of tween and teen kids. After lots of planning, I really feel like we were able to see a huge part of the country in only 10 days. We missed Tortuguero National Park on the east side, but it just was too far to go out of our loop. (So keep that in mind as you look through our itinerary, if that is really important to you.)
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post by AT&T but all words and opinions are mine.Our son Dex is about to turn 13, so we continue to slowly expand his freedoms on the phone. In the beginning, we had really strict policies about who he could text, but as he goes through middle school - he is gaining more casual friends that he wants to - and should be able to - communicate with on the regular. But how do we allow him more wiggle room while still being protective? AT&T introduced me to their Smart Limits service and app... it's been the perfect compromise for us.
Before that, how about a refresher on tech tips for families?
The weather has been crazy all over lately, right? Here in Denver we have had flash floods and tornadoes. Not just out on the plains - but in town! Luckily my son, at nearly 13, has an easy time understanding what to do. How to we help the little ones, though? PBS KIDS to the rescue! Both Arthur and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood will be airing new episodes on September 8th dealing with just this issue. (New episodes of preschool math series PEG + CAT will also premiere that week.)
Do your kids play Minecraft? Of course they do. Every kid on the planet does, right? As a parent, I am super impressed with the game because of the creativity, resourcefulness and collaboration it inspires. Not to say I actually understand how it all works - but my 12 year old son Dex sure does. It's pretty much what he did all summer, y'all. And the Minecraft got even more organized when Super League Gaming came to Denver and held an event in our local movie theater. We got a taste of what the actual League is like (Fall registration open NOW for cities all over) when a bunch of kids and their parents set up on laptops and played various challenges against each other on the biggest gaming screen you have ever seen (yes, in the actual movie theater). Dex's best game was 4th place, but he was more stoked to meet and interview the event's special guest Parker, aka You Tube star ParkerGames.
I have to make a confession. It's taken me a long time to get to like wine. It's always sounded and smelled good to me, but I rarely chose it. Even still, I definitely tend to like my wine sparkly and cold. That's why on holidays my best friends (who are also our family away from family) usually have bubbly on hand. We also have had semi-annual sangria parties around mid-June, where lots of red and white wine is mixed with juice and spritzer. Fourth of July is quickly approaching which means a picnic and fireworks with the aforementioned best friends. Sometimes we will go to an Outlaws lacrosse game because they play in Mile High Stadium, thus placing us directly UNDER the fireworks... But lately we have had more low-key gatherings. So we can enjoy each other and avoid the crowds. This year, we are planning to do a little of both over at Dick's Park with the Colorado Rapids at their free 4th Fest. Tailgating and carnival stuff, plus fireworks later in the evening. This way we can do a picnic too - since we much prefer to bring our own drinks and food than buy corndogs. I'm especially excited this year because I have Gloria Ferrer Blanc De Noirs for the festivities.
It seems that every band that I loved from the 80's has got back together and is touring. Culture Club has always been on rotation, and not just their biggest hits. Boy George has one of those voices I could listen to forever and I can't wait to photograph them at Chatfield on July 20th. And when I mentioned this on Facebook a ton of people got really excited about these guys coming to town! The good news is that Denver Botanic Gardens shares our love of Culture Club!