Super Science Saturday at NCAR Puts the Fun Into Science!

Super Science Saturday is this Saturday, November 7, 2015.

Super Science Saturday is such a fun family-friendly Boulder event! Bring on your littlest and biggest science explorers for a fun filled day from 10 am – 4 pm. This annual event at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) brings kids and adults together to explore hands-on activities, think about new ideas, and learn about science. This year’s theme is “LIGHT”!

Activities and Events:

Location: NCAR Mesa Lab at 1850 Table Mesa, Boulder, CO 80305. 
See the map for more location details. 

Date/Time: Saturday, November 7, 2015 from 10am to 4pm

Get more details on Super Science Saturday:

Got an Amex Business Card? Support Small Biz and Save $20 from Amex

You can support small, local businesses AND save $20 when you spend $100 now through 11/28/15. If you have an American Express Business Card [or a few] you will need to register the card for this promotion, spend $100 in one purchase at a store Amex shows as local [Grand Rabbits, Satellite, B Town Wine and Spirits, and so many more!], then you will magically get a $20 statement credit. Free $20 – thank you, American Express!

Here is how to get your $20 statement credit:

  1. Register your businesses card [you need to sign in before using the link] – follow this link 
  2. Find a participating small business – here is the small business map
  3. Spend $100 in one purchase by 11/28/15
  4. Watch for your statement credit. In the past I have received a notification immediately that I had a qualified purchase and Amex was applying a $20 credit.
  5. I registered both of my Amex cards [both primary and secondary cards on one account], so don’t forget to register all of your cards.

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Ghosts. Goblins. Halloween Celebrations in Boulder for the Kiddos.


Where to go. What do to with your kiddos on Halloween. Boulder has options! Here are a few of the best ones around…

What will you do with your kids on Halloween? Share your best resources here so we all know what to do and where to go.

Pearl Street Mall’s Annual Munchkin Masquerade – Each Halloween, Downtown Boulder is invaded by thousands of tiny ghosts & goblins, dinosaurs & dragons, fairies & princes, super heroes and animals of every size, trick-or-treating along Pearl Street. 2 to 4pm, rain or shine on the Pearl Street Mall. More information here. October 31, 2015 for safe and fun trick-or-treating along the Mall.

Fairview High School’s Trick or Treat Street – Fairview High School opens it’s doors to young trick or treaters. They decorate the hallways and hand out candy in the rooms. Fun for the small kiddos! More info here. October 28, 2015 from 5 to 7:30pm.

South Boulder Recreation Center’s Halloween Carnival – Celebrate Halloween with active, indoor family fun! Join the fun at the SBRC from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, 2015. $5 per child (ages 3 to 8) includes all activities such as carnival games, crafts, face painting, prizes, snacks and more! Wear your costume! More details here or Online Registration

Colorado Railroad Museum’s Trick or Treat Train – The Railroad Halloween Town is a safe place to enjoy Halloween. Catch a ride behind the historic locomotive in vintage passenger cars hosted by conductors and engineers in full costume. The Trick or Treat  Visit all the Town’s special stops to fill your treat bags and tickle your funny bones. Try a visit to our “not so spooky” haunted railcar or the Olde Railroaders silly graveyard. And, get a great picture of your costume as you pause in front of our Pumpkin Patch. Train departs every 30 minutes between 10:00AM and 4:00PM. Museum Members and children under 2 are free, $5 for children (2-15), $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (over 60). More info here.


Free Money! Thanks, American Express!


Want to travel for free or cheap? Want to save your family cash on a regular basis? I have the points and miles bug and I hope that sharing this info will help others save money & open up travel opportunities you never knew existed. My family has been doing it. Your family can too! Today I will start by looking at what you may have in your wallet already – An American Express Cards

Save today on things you already spend money on!

If you have an American Express card you can be saving money by simply Tweeting codes they send out. Seriously – Amex sends out codes, you use them, then you purchase items where you normally would and you get cash back. Here is how it works!

Step 1: You have sync your American Express card with your Twitter account. You can simply create a Twitter account just for this purpose. How to sync your Amex account with Twitter. It is really easy to do – don’t get intimidated! Once you sync your card and Tweet, then when you spend on your Amex you get a statement credit.

Step 2: Figure out what you already spend money on that they promote. Here are some current deals which are outlined in a Dan’s Deals post here. Tweet these codes before you spend money.

Whole Foods: Tweet #AmexWFM, spend $75 at Whole Foods on your Amex and get $10 back

Sam’s Club: Tweet #AmexSamsClub, spend $20 and get a $20 statement credit. I went online and ordered a $50 gift card for a teacher gift and got $20 on my statement immediately. I think of it as free money.

Pharmaca: Tweet #AmexPharmaca, spend $40 and get $10 back. I just purchased a gift card for $40 and immediately got the notice that I would earn a statement credit.

Home Depot: Tweet #AmexHomeDepot, spend $75 and get $15 back. I love supporting McGuckins, but sometimes there are things I can only get at Home Depot.

Other shopping options you may like:

  • The Container Store: #AmexTCS $15 off $100
  • Sur la Table: #AmexSurLaTable – $10 off $50

Step 3: Spend at these locations with your synced Amex card and you will get an almost immediate email from Amex acknowledging that you spend on a synced card. Next you will see a statement credit for the amount mentioned. I don’t advocate spending just to save money! Make sure you are particular about what you spend on.

Sync Many Amex Cards

Don’t forget you have to sync your Amex card before you spend. A trick is that you can sync as many Amex cards as you have. So if you and your spouse both have a card you can sync, tweet and spend with both cards. I did that at Pharmaca and got $20 back on a total of $80 spent because I used 2 Amex cards.

I find this a fun game! I have saved hundreds of dollars this way. It is just a small part of cracking the miles and points game that I am playing. But every bit counts!

Do you use points and miles? Do you engage in saving small amounts in other creative ways with credit cards? I would love to hear about how your family is cracking the points and miles game! 




Kids Deserve The Good Stuff Too! A Review of Zeal Goggles


Wearing his Zeal Dominator goggles!


Zeal Optics is a local Boulder company making quality goggles and glasses. I love their products! They are innovative and eco-conscious including some really forward thinking options in their lineups [learn more]. My favorite sunglasses ever came from Zeal – but they are long gone at this point!. I wondered if a company like Zeal would make sunglasses or goggles suitable for kids.

My questions about Zeal products for kids:

Would they fit kids?  Would they be comfortable on a smaller face?  Would they hold up to tough kid behavior?  Would quality make a difference?

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 3.51.00 PMWe reviewed a pair of Zeal Dominator goggles. They are great looking, so both of my kids immediately wanted to wear them. Good start! The issue was that they both like to wear their goggle under the helmet. Not a good thing for this particular pair. The plastic part on the side is too long to fit comfortably under the helmet. This issue didn’t dissuade my younger son from trying them over his helmet. The fit was perfect! They were extremely comfortable. And the best part is that the lenses on these goggles make a big difference! He loves them in all light – flat, bright, fog, etc… He likes to sing their praises a lot! He will say things like, “If I had my old goggles I wouldn’t be able to see here.”

Answers to my questions about Zeal products for kids above:

Will Zeal products fit kids? YES!

Will they be comfortable on a smaller face? YES, they love them!

Will they hold up to tough kid behavior? YES & NO, the lenses did pop out once, but they were easy to put back in and they have not scratched after a half dozen uses [that’s great for my hard living kids]. The goggle strap stays in place all the time too because there is some sticky stuff on the band in just the right place, so no more goggles sliding over the helmet when it’s off and dropping to the ground or being endlessly frustrating.

Will quality make a difference for my child? YES, he loves that they adjust well to light changes and fit really comfortably.

Kids’ Revew [1-5]

Overall: 4

Liked: “The way they made it easier to see when I ski!”

Didn’t Like: “I cannot put them under my helmet.”

Parents’ Review [1-5]

Overall: 4

Liked: They seem sturdy, flexible and good quality. The lenses make a big difference for kids skiing. My child felt more confident than when they wore their old goggles.

Didn’t Like: I think it’s important that goggles fit over or under a helmet – especially for kids since under the helmet is the style now. I also am conscious that these goggles can be expensive and a big investment – especially for families – so I know the price tag of over $100 could be unaffordable for some families.

Thanks to Zeal Optics for allowing Boulder Families to review your products! We really enjoyed testing and reviewing these goggles!

#Skiing #Kids #Families #Gear #GearReview #Getoutside

ALL Colorado K-5th Grade Kids Get An Epic Kids Pack [4 days of FREE Skiing at 4 Colorado Vail Resorts]

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Elementary kids in Colorado – It’s your lucky day! Colorado elementary school kids don’t have to wait until they are in 5th/6th grade to get their own ski pass – now Vail Resorts is offering their new Epic SchoolKids Colorado Pack and it offers FREE skiing to ALL elementary school children. Vail Resorts just announced that they will be offering Colorado K-5th grade kids a FREE pass as part of their newly launched Epic School Kids Colorado Pack program. That means 4 days of FREE Sking at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge. Vail Resorts is saying that this is a limited time opportunity, so I say get over to Boulder Ski Deals – see below for what you will need to provide them as proof of eligibility.

Current School of Shred [this is the old 5th/6th grade FREE ski program] participants can get the same deal for their child who is going into 6th grade next year – 4 FREE days at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, and Breckenridge.


The Epic SchoolKids Colorado Pack is a FREE program for Kindergarten through 5th graders that provides skiing and riding at each of the state’s top-ranked resorts: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone (restricted: 11/27/15-11/28/15, 12/26/15-12/31/15, 1/16/16 and 2/13/16-2/14/16.)  It includes one FREE first-timer ski or ride lesson with equipment rental during the month of January. (The first-timer lesson is only available from 1/5/16-1/31/16 as a part of “Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month” and is not available 1/1-1/4/16 or 1/15/16-1/17/16.)  Additionally, Epic SchoolKids Colorado Pack provides unlimited summer 2015 scenic chair lift rides at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone.


Parents can take their children to a participating Front Range Colorado Ski & Golf, or Boulder Ski Deals location to register their child in person. In Boulder – just head to Boulder Ski Deals. Take a look at what you need to bring below.


The parent must bring

  • The child must be present at the time of registration
  • A physical copy of the student report card/transcript/school ID or birth certificate
  • A physical photo of the student (no sunglasses, hats or others in the photo)


Want more details? Epic School Kids Colorado Pack

The CU Wizards Are Here. Let Them Engage Your Child In The Wonders Of Science!

wizard-0The CU Wizards program is an ongoing science discovery program presented free by CU professors on a variety of topics. The presentations are geared towards kids in grades 5 to 9, but everyone is welcome! These are fun, interactive, intense, silly, engaging presentations so take a look!

The next CU Wizards program is March 14, 2015: Waves & Radios: The Physics of the Information Age

CU Wizards website

Wizarding schedule


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Lions, Bobcats, Lynx, Oh My – Natural Selections Offers Guided Hikes for Families in and around Boulder

Lions, Bobcats, Lynx, oh my! Natural Selections is the educational arm of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks that offers hikes and activities to get the whole family outdoors and learning about our natural environment. They offer events for families at least once a month, year around – even in the snow! These events are fun, educational, entertaining, engaging, and all about the natural environment all around us.

Upcoming Hikes for Families:

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Some of these hikes require registration, so check in before hand. You can get on their email list to get advance notice of upcoming events:

Thanks to Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks for engaging Boulder kids in nature!



The Capital Is Calling: Washington D.C. is a Great Family Vacation Option!


Washington, D.C. is a great family vacation option! The history is rich and no matter the age of your children they will recognize some of the iconic monuments & locations in D.C. Not only is this an amazing learning environment for the kids, but the Smithsonian’s and all the monuments and memorials along the National Mall are free. Even though D.C. is not a beach vacation or an amusement park, it is vibrant and alive with tons of options for the whole family!

DC2We spent four amazing days in D.C. with our kids, ages 9 & 11. We could have spent longer, but four days worked out well. We got to see a lot, but not at a frenetic pace. My whole family agrees that we would head back without hesitation!

The Highlights of Our DC Trip:

Kids: The Flight Simulator at the Air & Space Museum in Virginia was their favorite!

Parents: Seeing the space shuttle at the Air and Space Museum in Virginia, and walking along the National Mall seeing the iconic memorials and monuments, especially the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

Whole Family: Capital City Bikes Tours – Monuments & Memorials Sunset Bike Tour. This DC2
was an amazing tour that took us through the streets of D.C. at sunset. We stopped at the major monuments and memorials and were treated to juicy details we never would have known without the guide who was super knowledgable! Older kids can have their own bikes and the younger ones can join on a tandem.

DC Government Tours: Our trip was a last minute decision so we did not get to participate in a lot of the organized tours of the government. If you plan ahead you can request a tour of the White House and/or the US Congress. Depending on the age of your kids – these can be a really memorable experiences! Try to put in a request at least 3 months ahead of time if possible.

Local Tours: Take a bike tour with Capital City Bike Tours. They can usually be booked last minute and offer you guided tours of the monuments and memorials of D.C. You can also take a self-guided tour of the National Mall. Find a brochure from the National Parks Service.

Smithsonian Museums: I have fond memories of spending time at Washington D.C., museums.  I specifically remembered the Air and Space Museum, so I was excited to take the kids back! We spent the most time at these museums: National Museum of Natural History, the Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American Indian. They were all great options and entertained the kids for hours. Each has a cafeteria so you can take a break, or grab something from a street vendor right outside along the National Mall. The American Indian Museum has a really great cafeteria we heard people rave about and after trying it we concur. It offered delicious food based on the different Native American regions so it was unique and educational, but the kids still enjoyed the food.

The most memorable museum – the one we had to drag our kids out of – was the Air and Space Museum in Virginia – this one you have to drive for – but this location houses all the over sized space toys like the space shuttle, war planes, bi-planes, and tons more. Also, there are flight simulators on site and the kids LOVED these. It was almost impossible to get them out!

Other Museums: There is also the International Spy Museum that is amazing and really engages the kids. It isn’t a Smithsonian so it does cost to go in. We thought it was worth the cost!

Outdoors: Take a walk on the National Mall – which is a actually a National Park – so look for Junior Ranger program information for your kids. They offer activity booklets your kids can do along the way all the while becoming a Junior Ranger replete with a badge and stamp when they complete this booklet. We found ice cream and pretzels along the National Mall which offered a great break and a burst of energy for all of us on those hot summer days. Of course you can explore the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and other outdoor locations too.

Getting There: United Airlines and Frontier Airlines offer direct flights to Washington, D.C. from Denver.

General Words of Advice:

1. Take your time! Go slowly and don’t schedule yourself too tightly. There is so much to do you will want to get it all in, but if you are traveling as a family, pick your top sites and hit those for sure. Everything else is icing on the cake.

2. If you go in the summer it can be really hot, so consider going early or late to avoid the middle of the day heat – even if you are planning to be at the museums!

3. Bring good walking shoes. Seems obvious, but you walk a lot and so good shoes helps!

Have tons of fun exploring the rich history and educational opportunities in Washington, D.C.!

How Memories Are Made: Family Travel Through Nicaragua and Costa Rica

“There is a great hotel in San Jose!”, was my son’s response to our friend’s request for suggestions of what to do in Costa Rica.

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For almost three weeks we traveled throughout Nicaragua and Costa Rica – all eight of us – two families traveling together. We intended to have an adventure so we spent our days on volcanoes, zipping through the jungle canopy of Costa Rica, surfing in San Juan del Sur, hiking through the heat and humidity of a remote volcanic island, and riding horses. It was all adventure, but not all of it as positive as others; during the course of the trip the kids’  backpacks had been stollen and the kids managed to puke all over at least two hotels. It was an amazing [multi] family adventure! It really was. Honest.

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San Jose Marriott

When I think back on our trip I remember watching the sun set on the Pacific Ocean while drinking smoothies along the coast in Nicaragua, my husband remembers “Tyler’s Place” where we stayed to surf and explore Nicaragua. BUT if you ask my kids they will tell you that there is a great Marriott in San Jose!

They did just that the other day. We have friends who scored last minute United Airlines mileage tickets to Costa Rica and knowing we had been there, asked for recommendations. I offered up mine in a detailed email. In the soccer carpool this friend asked my son this question and he offered what was most vivid in his mind – The Costa Rica Marriott Hotel in San Jose. This friend sent me an email to confirm this was his response. We both laughed. Then I started thinking about how it could possibly be that my son’s best memory of our extended family trip was of a hotel?

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The white sheets!

Until the other day I hadn’t thought about the moment when we got to San Jose, after a long drive and our stollen backpack fiasco, for a long time. It reminded me that you cannot always predict what memories will be indelibly etched in your children’s minds. What will make the biggest impact. You just never know! In this case I believe it was the contrast of the relatively rustic way we traveled for close to three weeks, the stollen backpacks, being sick, then the safety of this simply luxurious hotel.

When we walked into the hotel it felt cloistered. It felt safe. It felt welcoming. The sheets were so white. The beds so tall. The restaurant had the most amazing buffet any of us had ever seen. They prepared anything the kids requested. My kids noticed ALL these details. All of them. We had not left Costa Rica but the Marriott made us feel like we had been swept up into the best of all worlds – local culture and amenities galore. This experience is indelibly woven into the fabric of my children’s beings. They may forget the other amazing things we did on our trip, but they will not forget this simple luxury.