The Ice Rink at One Boulder Plaza

Colorado is fabulous for many reasons, but the awesome selection of outdoor activities with the sun shining overhead is just amazing.  Add a bit of family bonding, holiday cheer, and hot cocoa and you’ll have memories to last a lifetime. 

The Ice Rink at One Boulder Plaza is at the top of my holiday excursion list for a few reasons…

1. You can’t beat REAL ICE.

2. The location is perfect – a quaint little plaza near Pearl Street in Boulder, CO.

3. It’s a great size for little ones still working on their skills.

4. Staff is surprisingly helpful.  They were helping a little girl (and her dad) learn to skate the day we visited.

5. You’ll find warm beverages and shopping around the rink if you’re in need of a little break.

It’s just a short drive from Denver and there is plenty to do in the area… shopping, entertainment, and unique dining options are abundant on Pearl Street.  Plan to spend the day and enjoy the beautiful Christmas lights as the sun goes down.

Skate rentals available if you don’t have your own!  Details and extended holiday hours at: http://www.bouldericerink.com/index.php?3kdqem.

The Spirit of Christmas Aboard the Santa Express

In the spirit of Christmas and reminiscent of the well-loved Polar Express ~ a large, mid-century locomotive adorned in holiday lights awaits several little passengers dressed in warm holiday jammies.  A bit of cold winter air adds to the shiver of delight as they hop on board this magical train for a journey like no other, to a destination at the far, top of the world (deep in the Royal Gorge) where one special guest of honor will offer…yes, the first gift of Christmas!

We were delighted to be part of the beautiful commencement of this year’s Santa Express Train ride, aboard a beautifully refurbished train car, through Colorado’s Royal Gorge, departing from the Santa Fe Depot in Cañon City.

Hearing the loud, train whistle, we climbed on board, small hands clenching magical tickets with anticipation and joy.  The professionally dressed crew and several of Santa’s elves welcomed us and helped us to our large, cozy seats in the coach car.  Our tickets were properly punched and we were warmed with delicious hot cocoa, freshly baked cookies, and classic holiday carols lead by Santa’s charming elves.  We sat comfortably as our train made a smooth journey along the Arkansas River in the dark of the night, making twists and turns below the steep, rugged walls of the gorge.  During our 1 ½ hour ride, we wandered through the cars making a stop at the Concession Car for sodas and snacks then to the Sunshine Falls Bar Car for parent beverages. Dodging obstacles and fairing icy rails, we bravely endured the voyage to our final destination, the North Pole.

Santa Express passengers bundled up and made their way to the Open Air Car to take in the spectacular views of the stars in the night sky, towering peaks on either side of us, and of course, the twinkling lights of the brightly lit North Pole.  My seven-year-old’s only concern with the experience was that he thought the pole at the North Pole was much bigger than the one we saw – beyond that he didn’t question it much, wink.

Now that we had Santa on board, it was just a matter of time before he made his way through our car.  As he did, our children eagerly made their requests and received a special gift reminding us all that the spirit of Christmas lies in our hearts.

Experience the magic of Christmas with your family this year: Tickets are available online at SantaExpressTrain.com or by calling 1.888.724.5748.

*All tickets include hot cocoa, cookies, a special gift for children, a visit with Santa Claus and heaps of holiday cheer. Dinner and photos with Santa are offered at an additional price.

Limelight Turns Everything Green at Shrek the Musical!

Once upon a time, in The Kingdom of Far Far Away lived a large ogre and his donkey…not your traditional love story fairy tale…or is it?

Shrek the Musical is making its way across the country spreading contagious laughter with wittingly unrefined, oafish humor – sounds odd no doubt – and yet this show is tremendously charming and amusing with a deep, endearing message including a catchy theme song, “Let Your Freak Flag Fly.”

I had the privilege of interviewing two young, debut performers in the show – Scarlett Diaz and Madison Mullahey.  These talented young, ten-year-old girls are traveling across the U.S. and taking on three separate roles – each playing young Fiona, young Shrek, and Grumpy Dwarf.  Madison explained that while she loves being on stage and doesn’t get nervous, the heavy make-up and bulky costumes are sometimes a professional challenge.  Scarlett agreed and explained that traveling is another challenge because one parent must be there at all times, so siblings at home are left with just one parent and everyone misses being together.  No doubt these two girls, along with their families are making great sacrifices to do something they are passionate about and to bring us quality Broadway entertainment.

By opening night, I was ready for an evening out!  I had spent several days caring for sick kiddos and had just gotten everyone well.  I had been eagerly anticipating this review, especially since friends from Oklahoma had called to tell us what a hilarious must-see Shrek the Musical was. So, I wasn’t sure if the tingle in my stomach was excitement or if it could be something more – I grabbed a grocery bag and stuffed it in my purse – just incase. 

The show was fabulous, as I had imagined.  The cast was spectacular and amazingly talented with flawless performances. Surely, when young Scarlett and Madison dreamt of performing on Broadway, images of green ogres and the odd characters of Duloc didn’t enter their minds. Yet, these two lovely little ladies have found a way to make even the strangest of characters look good. I was impressed.

As the show came to a close, I began to feel a definite churning in my stomach, and it wasn’t just props to Shrek and his crew.  As the pleased crowd stood to give an ovation, I doubled over, my face deep into the plastic bag and let my freak flag fly.

As Shrek would say, “Not Everything Beautiful is Pretty!”

As for Scarlett and Madison…keep an eye out for these ambitious girls.  Both are beautiful and pretty – not to mention talented – and have several prospective roles in mind for the future.  You may spot Scarlett playing Annie or possibly big Fiona in a revival cast.  Look for Madison in Wicked or playing Ariel in The Little Mermaid.  I have no doubt that these talented little ladies will make their way beyond Far Far Away…if they so choose.

Holiday Gift Ideas 2010

Coming Soon! I’m currently scouting the web and local shops in search of the hottest gifts this season.  I’m thinking unique, hand-made, earth-friendly, distinct, trend-setting, urbane, epic, debonair…oh ya, this is going to be good stuff ;)  Let me know if you have ideas/suggestions/helpful advice!

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