Tumble Books For Your Kids: Free Talking Books On Your Computer + More…

Tumble Books are a great resource of online talking books, puzzles, videos and more for kids. If you have a library card, you have access to this great resource!

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 5.37.40 PMTumble books are mainly focused on early readers, but I noticed some educational video titles that would be suitable for kids a bit older too. Fun videos on Barcelona, Benjamin Franklin, and many more.

The Tumble Books are talking books, but the books have also been transformed to be a bit interactive so they are more engaging to kids. I found myself mesmerized by a few of my kids’ favorites.

To get to Tumble Books:

1. Go to the Boulder Public Library Youth Section

2. Click on the Tumble Books Link

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3. Pick the type of Tumble Book materials you want to view: Picture books, chapter books, videos, etc…

4. Now search for the titles you like or browse for one that your child will enjoy… It’s really easy! No wait lists. Just click and go.



BVSD Open Enrollment Time Is Just Around the Corner

Open Enrollment. These two words bring strong emotions to the parents of Boulder. For some who chose to enroll their kids in their neighborhood school, open enrollment in the Boulder Valley School District [BVSD] is not a big deal. Phew! For the 40% of us who do open enroll our children it can be stressful.

So what is open enrollment in BVSD? Any child can go to any school based on availability by entering their child into the lottery system called, Open Enrollment. All families in BVSD can look at all schools to see which one seems to meet their child[ren]’s needs best. There are many choices [charter schools, focus schools, and neighborhood schools] and each has it’s benefits and drawbacks. But ultimately many Boulderites choose to open enroll their children in an attempt to try and find the best fit. For more details on open enrollment click here.

BVSD Open Enrollment Dates:

December 1, 2014 through January 16, 2015

Finding the BVSD school that is the right fit – School Tours:

All BVSD schools offer school tours during the open enrollment process. To tour a school you need to go during their scheduled school tours. To find open enrollment school tours dates/times – BVSD Open Enrollment Tours

There are two main types of BVSD schools:

Neighborhood Schools: These are the schools that are designated for your neighborhood. Your child can always get into these schools if you live within the boundaries. You DO NOT need to open enroll to these schools if you are in the neighborhood, but you CAN if you want your child to go to the school, but you are NOT in the designated boundary.

Focus/Charter Schools: These are open enrollment schools that serve ALL of BVSD. There are NO designated neighborhood boundaries for Focus and Charter schools. You MUST open enroll to these schools. 

To help you visualize the open enrollment process here is the BVDS open enrollment flow chart [the one they have up is from last year, so the dates are incorrect, but the content is good otherwise]:

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For Boulder Families with younger children there are a few schools that have open enrollment options for preschool, such as Community Montessori. For these schools, open enrolling at preschool age is the best way to secure a slot for your child. So even if your child is too young for elementary schools, taking a look at the open enrollment process can be really helpful. Likewise, the award winning Peak to Peak Charter School has open enrollment policies that favor those who have applied many times. They are all a bit different, so it is best to do your research!

Open enrollment happens for a limited time. You MUST apply to open enroll your child between December 1, 2013 and January 16, 2014 to get into the lottery. To get an open enrollment application head to the BVSD website. Good luck to everyone open enrolling a child this year!

Free Days: Get In On The Fun!

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 10.51.18 AMThere was recently a question about finding Free Days. Free Days are great! They are specific days when some of the best museums around town are free. This means you can stay as long as you like without feeling like you just dumped down a lot of money. It increases the fun!


A lot of these Free Days are in and around Denver. Consider planning a picnic lunch if it’s a nice day. Or stop by Downtown Denver and take a ride on the 16th Street Mall Shuttle just for the fun of it!

SCFD Free Days include awesome locations such as:

  • Denver Art Museum
  • Denver Museum of Natural Science
  • Boulder History Museum
  • Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Denver Botanic Garden
  • Colorado Railroad Museum
  • Denver Zoo

November Free Days


December Free Days

Want to plan a trip or just see what Free Days are coming up? Check out the SCFD Free Days Calendar 

#getoutside #freedays #free

2014 Pumpkin Patches AND Halloween Events In and Around Boulder


Cottonwood Farm. Pumpkin patch, hay maze, animals, antique farm equipment. Plenty of fall produce, including decorative gourds and corn bundles. Free admission. (Wagon rides cost extra). Open daily 10:00 to 6:00pm  cottonwoodfarms.com.

Munson Farm. Pumpkins, fall fruits, vegetable. Hayrides, corn maze, pumpkins. Free kids pumpkin with purchase if you print out the first page of their website. Free admission. Open daily 9:00 to 6:30pm. Valmont Road and 75th Street, Boulder, CO. munsonfarms.com.

Red Wagon Farm. Pumpkins, winter squash, apples, and more produce! See farm animals (alpacas, llamas, goats, chickens, geese!) and enjoy the Straw Bale Maze! Free admission. Open 10:00 to 6:00 daily through Halloween. Red Wagon Farm Website.

South Boulder Pumpkin Patch. Grand Opening October 11 & 12 noon with food trucks and lots of fun for all. Saturdays & Sundays noon to 6 and weekdays 10/20 through 10/31 from 4 to 7pm. 3485 Stanford Court, Boulder, CO 80305. SoBo Pumpkin Patch Facebook Page.



Munchkin Masquerade – October 31, 2014 Bring your younger kids down to trick or treat amongst their peers along the shops on Pearl Street Mall. Always a family favorite! The kids are adorable in their costumes. The treats are everywhere. It could not be more fun. October 31, 2012 from 3:00 to 6:00pm rain or shine. For more information visit DBI Website.

Colorado Railroad Museum Trick or Treat Train – October 25 & 26
Family-friendly Halloween event features rides in the vintage passenger cars with conductors and engineers in full costume; a “silly” graveyard; and a pumpkin patch. 10am-4pm at the Colorado Railroad Museum, 17155 W. 44th Ave., Golden. October 25 & 26. Colorado Railroad Museum Website.

The Great Pumpkin Race & Halloween Carnival – October 27, 2014
Purchase a pumpkin and watch it race down the lazy river with the rest. Winners receive prizes like free rec-center passes. Carnival games begin at 4 to 5:30pm; pumpkins launch at 5pm sharp; the pumpkin-carving contest is at 1:30pm. Bob L. Burger Recreation Center, 111 W. Baseline Road in Lafayette. 303-665-0469 City of Lafayette Website.

Time to Start Thinking Skiing! Get Free Ski Passes for Your 5th and 6th Graders!

IMG_0070If you have a 5th or 6th grader it is time to start thinking about getting them their Free/Cheap Ski/Snowboard passes. The way it works is that there are two different programs: School of Shred & Colorado Ski Country USA. They both offer 5th graders free skiing, but at different locations, so you want to get both! They offer 6th graders cheap or free skiing depending on the program. More details below.

5th Graders: You get 4 days of free skiing at all Colorado Vail Resorts: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and A-Basin [School of Shred]. In addition you get 3 days of free skiing at 20 other Colorado ski resorts including Aspen, Buttermilk, Steamboat, Copper Mountain, Winter Park, and many more [Colorado Ski Country USA]. And you also get one free ski/snowboard lesson and equipment rental through both programs – so essentially you could take 2 free lessons with rental gear if you are new to skiing or snowboardng. They really want you to get good!

6th Graders: You can purchase a pass for 4 days at all 20 Ski Country USA resorts for $99 [these are the smaller resorts]. This is a screaming good deal! School of Shred on the other hand is offering the same deal for 6th graders as they did for 5th graders–4 free days of skiing at their resorts.

It is time to get your child[ren] registered! Don’t forget to register for both programs – especially if you have a 5th grader!

School of Shred Passport – Sign Up

Colorado Ski Country USA Passport – Sign Up

Have fun skiing/snowboarding!

Instacart. Insta-Groceries. Get $10 off…

instacart-logoIn case you haven’t noticed there is a new grocery biz in town – Instacart. This new service delivers groceries to you within a few hours – so when you are running around trying to juggle it all – school pick up, soccer practice, getting dinner on the table, getting in some exercise – this service could actually be a lifesaver! And they deliver from Whole Foods, Costco & King Soopers!

I must disclose that Instacart got ahold of me to try their new delivery service and write about my experience. But I am always honest about reviews and give an honest assessment of the products or services! In the same vein as Uber who revolutionized that art of hailing a cab, Instacart is working on revolutionizing how we shop. They are not game changers they are simply improving on a product that was available in the past [but not at Whole Foods and Costco].

Details of Instacart:

  1. Order online - Instacart.com
  2. Order from Whole Foods, Costco or King Soopers
  3. Get delivery within a few hours
  4. No delivery cost if you meet a minimum order amount – $35
  5. Delivery hours – 9am to Midnight

They asked me and I gladly Instacarted. This was within the first few days of their Boulder launch. Here is how it rolled out – I used my computer. The website was easy to use. It did not include all products but it had enough. I purchased about $30 of groceries at Whole Foods. So far so good! Then I got a message that there were a few items unavailable – did I want them to replace those items with like items or remove from my order? Good question.  I was glad I was only working in my house and not on a run since I had to think about that one. Then they texted saying they would be a bit later than promised – not big deal as this was one of their first days and I was in no rush. Just happy not to be going to the store for those last minute groceries. The shopper showed up on my door step with all my groceries in a very cute Instacart bag. It felt so indulgent I almost had to pinch myself!

I give Instacart a B+. I would certainly try them again! I would always purchase the minimum to avoid the delivery fees. Want to give them a try? They gave me a code so readers can try their service and get $10 off your first purchase.

Get $10 Off Your First Order @ Instacart – http://inst.cr/t/kRFDz7 

What do you think about using Instacart? Will you use them? If you tried them, will you use them again?


Boulder’s Kids Eat FREE List Updated!

Calling foodie kids and families! Who said there is no such thing as a free lunch? Here is how you can get even – take your kids out for a free meal in Boulder! My families favorites include – Wahoo’s and Under the Sun Eatery & Taphouse. Which of these great deals does your family enjoy most? 

Boulder Listing – Kids Eat Free! 


  • Larkburger invites kids ages 12 and under to eat FREE every Monday from 4 p.m. to close when an adult spends $9. 2525 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder. 303.444.1487
  • Under the Sun Eatery & Taphouse offers Kids Eat FREE opening to 6pm.
  • Spooners Frozen Yogurt offers 50% OFF for Kids after 6pm every Monday. They are located in 29th Street Mall.
  • Cafe Mexicali [Baseline just East of 28th] offers FREE kids meal with an adult meal purchase.
  • Boulder Beer offers Kids Eat FREE after 5pm off the kids menu.


  • 4580 offers Kids Eat FREE [10 & under] when family is seated in dining room by 6pm.
  • Oscar Blues in Lyons offers Kids Eat CHEAP on Tuesday. Kids eat for 99 cents off their kids’ menu. 303 Main Street, Lyons. 303.485.9400


  • 4580 offers Kids Eat FREE [10 & under] when family is seated in dining room by 6pm.
  • Wahoo’s Fish Tacos serves up to two FREE kids meals for every $10 adult meal purchased after 4pm on Weds. Kids must be 12 or younger. 2790 Pearl Street, Boulder. 303.473.9072



  • What restaurant should go here?If you know of one I’m glad to include it on the list.


  • What restaurant should go here? If you know of one I’m glad to include it on the list.


  • Centro Latin Kitchen has Family Night each Sunday where Kids under 10 receive a FREE kid’s entrée (choice of any entrée from the Centro kids’ menu) with the purchase of an adult entrée after 5 p.m. 950 Pearl St., Boulder. 303.442.7771.
  • Under the Sun Eatery & Taphouse offers Kids Eat FREE opening to 6pm.

Everyday Discounts for Kids

  • Moe’s Original Bar B Que offers Kids Eat Cheap Every Day. Kids 10 and under pay $2 for their kids menu daily. They are new in town, but delicious!
  • St. Julien/Jill’s offers free meals for children 3 and under when they eat off the children’s menu. 900 Walnut St., Boulder. 720.406.9696
  • The Taj offers Kids Eat Free under 5. Between 5 and 10 years kids pay 1/2 price for meals. 2630 Baseline Rd., Boulder. 303.494.5216
  • Smiling Moose provides a Free Kids Meal with the purchase of any sandwich, chips, & a drink. Coupon is at the link above. 3223 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder. 303.530.2700.
  • Wild Mountain Brewery offers Kids Eat Free on the first Tuesday of each month. For kids 12 and under with a paying adult. 70 East First Street, Nederland. 303.258.WILD.
  • Casa Alvarez offers Kids Eat Free every day with the purchase of an adult meal. Just join their club-it’s free, easy and you get the discount the same day. 3161 Walnut Street, Boulder. 303.546.0630.

Don’t forget to always call ahead to make sure these restaurants are still offering their Kids Eat Free deals as they are subject to change at any time.

Skiing Every Month in 2014 = Building Grit in this 12 Year Old!

My oldest son has a goal to ski every month this year. Good goal for a ski obsessed kid! [See this 12 year old’s ski video] So this weekend my husband took him to St. Mary’s Glacier to get in his August skiing. It turns out skiing has become a great opportunity for father-son bonding. It’s also great overall family bonding, but this was of the father-son genre. The take home for our family – It’s the Process that Matter Most, Not the End Result!

The process is so much more than making the turns – but it includes the turns! The process is talking about open ended questions on the way up the mountain to the destination. The process is getting on the pack and loading it up with boots and skis and gear and stuff, then putting said pack on this 12 year olds back and hiking up about a mile to get a few turns. A mile up hill. A mile to find just enough snow to make those necessary turns that he committed to earlier this year.

Sometimes the skiing happens at #Vail or #Breckenridge or #CopperMountain, but in the summer it has happened by earning his turns. I’ve got to believe this process helps create grit in my son! Grit that will help him in get through the tough parts in his life. Grit that he will call upon when he needs to hike that last mile or finish that tough homework assignment. There is nothing as important as having grit, so when Kai tells me about his experience and how it was tough but he did it, I take a deep breath that fills me up inside. I know the process and these experiences will fill him up in the end.

Take Homes from this Adventure:

  • Follow your passion
  • Do it even when it’s tough
  • Enjoy the process
  • Find a way to bond – something you enjoy doing together!

Interested in what a 12 year old can do skiing? Check out this video Kai made of his skiing!


Great Boulder Family Hike – Forsythe Canyon

On the look out for a new hike? Check out Forsythe Canyon just up Magnolia Road. Our family went there on a hike recently and it was fantastic! What we liked most about it:

  • Easy access
  • 2 miles round trip
  • Terrain is good for all ages – even the little ones!
  • Waterfall – always good to have something you are heading towards to motivate!
  • Water along the way – including pools where the water cascades over smooth rock and kids can take a dip if they want!
  • Shady – in spots
  • Fun exploring a cave and other side attractions!

Get the full scoop on how to get there and more about the trail – here!

Hiking and Learning and Exploring – Oh My! Natural Selections Offers Family-Friendly Hikes and Educational Opportunities!

IMG_2813Love hiking? Enjoy learning? Want to connect your kids to nature? The City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks department offers ongoing nature hikes and educational opportunities throughout the year. These are well run, engaging programs that offer something for everyone – some of their programs are even wheelchair accessible. These programs are family-friendly and so engaging for Boulder Families!

Here is a list of their upcoming August programs:

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These are always free and open to the public. Sometimes you do need to make a reservation, but that is the exception. I have seen many of those programs fill up, so if you like something you see reserve it! You can subscribe to Natural Selections and receive email updates on upcoming events weekly – here. Just go to the pull down menu and select – Natural Selections – and you will be in the know!

Read more about how Natural-Terrain Schoolyards Reduce Children’s Stress Levels – here. This is a great CU study!