Vail Cascade Resort, Like Home (but better, shhhh)

You’ve heard the saying, “Your mamma don’t live here,” right? So, it’s sort of weird because I think my mother-in-law may have been at Vail Cascade Resort (my mom isn’t quite that neat, ha!). Seriously, this place takes care of you…like your mama but your mom isn’t there – your husband’s either, phew. 

When we first arrived, my daughter took one look around the room, completely ignored the amazing view out the window of the chairlift moving gracefully up the mountain, zoned in on the humidifier and said, “Look mom! They knew I have a cough!” She had a point, they knew our needs before we arrived. A bit eerie, maybe. Excellent customer service, definitely!

Turn down in the evening was most appreciated, the chocolates on pillows absolutely adored by my children, but what impressed me more than any amenity I’ve ever experienced was the one-on-one attention at Vail Cascade. Not just the kind greetings, valet service, detailed explanation of local restaurants followed by reservations and directions from the concierge…no, it went far beyond that. I had hours of one-on-one time with the public relations manager at the resort. We had a fabulous breakfast buffet at the newly opened Atwater on Gore Creek (amazing views) followed by a personal tour of the ski resort – thanks Kirsten!

The service isn’t the only aspect of Vail Cascade that I found exceptional — the ski-in/ski-out was fabulous. Rentals can be picked up and stored on the first floor, and the chair lift is right outside the door. Ski-in is an option, but what I preferred was the download right back to the doorstep. This was my first time riding in the wrong direction on a chair lift – you’d think I would have tried this before now, right? Well, let me tell you – it freaked me out! I’m not even afraid of heights and I had to close my eyes for a moment, ha. There’s a lap bar and everything, so I was just being a wimp about the whole thing. The second ride was much better and I was able to enjoy the amazing views.

The Mountain
Vail ski resort is known for some of the best skiing in the state. They offer private mountain guides at a very reasonable rate, and I’d highly recommend it – there is just so much out there – it could take days to discover what you’re really looking for. If you don’t go with a guide, be sure to ask someone to point you in the right direction.

If your kiddos are on the mountain, they’re going to love the fun obstacles and tree skiing Vail offers for youngsters. There are several beautifully carved wooden statues to keep their eyes up and help them navigate their way down the slopes.

Cascade KidVenture at Aria Spa
One of our favorite things about Vail Cascade was the entertainment offered at KidVenture. Our children absolutely loved stringing beaded necklaces and stuffing their own build-a-pet animals, “Spike the Dog” and “Huggy Bear.” Our seven-year-old participated in a boot camp, which included several exercises that he compared to Karate Kid training, ha. He thought it was just wonderful and his parents did too…as we enjoyed KidVenture from the gym, hot tub and steam room upstairs!

Kid Venture offers a variety of crafts and activities – all amazing quality and top-notch instructors. Check out the schedule before you go!

  

Obermeyer
Thanks to our Obermeyer sponsorship, we were warm on the slopes and around the town of Vail. We didn’t look too shabby either! Our outfits were equipped with Synergy fabric technology, Hydrolock FS seam seal and  RECCO avalanche protection system – a radar which, when activated can help locate a lost or buried skier.

If you like the look, here’s what we were sporting:

Noelle, avid skier for the “almost four” age group! 
Bliss Jacket $149.50
Marshmallow Stripe LoveFleece Bib $99.50
I-Grow shoulders and full system with adjustable interior waist drawcord and belt loops.  Windproof, water-resistant, breathable lining.

   

Silas, epic snowboarder, age 7
Brody Jacket $169.50
Bomber design comes to kids in faux leather, satin quilted lining and faux fir trim. A waterproof breathable insulated jacket with rib knit waist band, removable faux fur collar and our ‘I-Grow’ system for extended wear.
FMX Pant $79.50
(Freestyle Motocross) There isn’t a guy or girl who won’t want this one!!! Go fast and be warm. Fastex belt closure and double layer seat for the authentic rider.

Jaime – mom on skis, age undisclosed, wink
Kennedy Jacket $389.50
This is a true winter jacket integrating 20,000mm waterproofness with breathable, flexible material.
Royale Pant $249.50

Find Sport Obermeyer on Facebook!

Vail Photo Journal

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Growing With Obermeyer!

What are we up to this spring break?  Skiing with Obermeyer!

A leader in durable winter wear, Obermeyer brand ski gear is making an impression with ultimately functional, current, chic fashions designed for serious outdoor enthusiasts looking to play hard in style.  This company’s ‘I-Grow’ system for children is pure engineering genius, sure to be a trend-setting epidemic for the outdoor sport apparel industry and the answer to the inevitable ankle revealing high-water dilemma faced by mothers with sprouting youngsters – the question is, what are we going to do with all those extra bricks?

Earth-Friendly
This company, founded 1947 by Klaus Obermeyer, is not only a leader in cutting-edge design, but is forging the way for environmentally safe production and sustainable living.  Obermeyer headquarters is located in Aspen, Colorado, where this family business continually strives to provide a green initiative.  Some of Obermeyer’s environmental efforts include the provision of reliable eco-power to the community, the production of gear from renewable and recycled resources and design production centered on conscious energy efficiency.

Obermeyer’s commitment to using technically responsible products to improve the outdoor entertainment experience is evident in all business practices. The essence of the company revolves around the thought that…

We must step lightly on the planet, we are here for only a very short period of time really and it is not right to destroy something which gives us such great beauty and asks for nothing in return.”

More For Less
With Obermeyer’s ‘I-Grow’ system, your children can make use of their quality snow gear for more than one season, which is vitally important to those of us looking to dress our family on a livable budget.  By simply snipping the color coded threads, your child’s clothes can extend an additional 2 inches in the pant legs and 1 ½ inches the sleeves.

Obermeyer is a company worth checking out – I think you’ll love the colorful designs and attention to detail in this children’s outdoor clothing line…you’re children will love it too!  Friend Sport Obermeyer on Facebook!

Just Between Friends, Douglas County

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I had the opportunity to shop early this year at the Just Between Friends Sale in the new, larger location in Castle Rock.  The extra space is great and having the entire sale all in one room is very convenient.  Everything is sorted and well-marked, so be sure to come with a detailed list – and you’ll no doubt find a lot of extra goodies you don’t really need.  Parking was abundant and the check-out system has been revamped to flow more smoothly.  Several seasoned shoppers brought their wagons, so don’t be afraid to pull up in your moving van if that’s the kind of shopping you’re game for!

I shadow shopped with an expert this year – partly because I’m a self-proclaimed wimp at these things and because I figured I could use a good lesson from a bargain shopping authority.  My mentor loaded her wagon high, crossed off her list and snatched some great deals to stash away for her children’s birthdays and Christmas (loved this idea).  She explained that when she returns home, she sorts through her current belongings and pulls items for resale, which she will rotate between JBF sales in the area.  She has a full system, creating an art – and business – out of consignment sales.

Despite the fact that I’m still learning, I’d say I did quite well.  Some of the deals I picked up include: a floatie swimsuit for my three-year-old, Crocs for both kids, Abercrombie running pants for my son and a like-new denim Gap overcoat for my daughter.

I did notice that because consignees price their own items, there are similar items marked at various prices, so look closely.  I did see many excellent brand names and clothing in great condition – several items were brand new.  I had to bypass many gorgeous dresses, knowing that my little one would absolutely refuse to put it on (we’ll hopefully move past this stage soon).  There were also many baby items: strollers, car seats, you name it.  Definitely the place you want to shop if you’re in the market for this type of big gear!

Don’t forget your coupon! http://wineglasslipper.com/

Douglas County Fairgrounds, Castle Rock 
Friday, March 18 & a 50% off sale Saturday, March 19

Pillowcase Dress for Easter

A friend of mine sent me a photo of a beautifully made pillowcase dress for a little girl and asked if I might be able to duplicate the pattern. She’s expecting and, already having three adorable sons, is thinking she may be having a daughter this time around. If so, she’s anxious to adorn her in lovely dresses and bows, as most mothers would. I felt that same sentiment when Noelle was on her way, and remembering back to my years as a dress-despising tomboy, prepared myself for the day that my little sweetheart would reject her pink lace attire to sport ragged denim and cowboy boots…and here we are.

So, when I saw this lovely dress, I thought I’d give it a go, see if I could come up with a workable pattern and possibly, just maybe, convince my daughter that she’d look beautiful wearing it for Easter this year!

I took her with me to the fabric store and let her pick some colorful, coordinating looks. I made a big deal out of pre-washing the fabric, cutting the pieces, and pinning it all together. She was far more impressed with the pincushion, freckled with sharp pins, than the fancy dress we were making.

As I completed the final stitches, I asked her to try it on. Thankfully, a neighbor friend was here because when she objected, her friend happily skipped over and volunteered to model it…and then asked if I would make her one. Well, at least someone appreciated all that hard work, and I can still make a dress for my friends sweet baby – and it may even be a little girl.

These are the “simple” instructions I found online – altered for a more modern pillowcase dress:

1. With a pillowcase in mind, sew a wide hem on the bottom of two rectangles of fabric – this is the bottom of the dress (use length chart below and add 3-4 inches for neckline).

2. Pin right sides of rectangles together and cut armholes –  approximately 3 inches deep and in the shape of the letter “J” on the left side and backward “J” on the right. (I use the cutout fabric from the left side to duplicate on the right).

3. Fold neckline on front and back sides and seam each, leaving a tunnel for wide ribbon (the ribbon will tie in large bows over each shoulder).

4. Right sides together, sew sides of the dress and reinforce arm holes and neckline.

5. Trim and turn right side out. Thread ribbon through neckline tunnels, gather fabric to fit along the neck and back and tie bows on each side.

6. Use extra ribbon to make matching hair bows!

This concept can create a very simple dress or, with the addition of fun fabrics and ribbons, a detailed masterpiece. Regardless of how your creation turns out, your child will feel loved knowing that mommy made something special just for her – even if she refuses to wear it!

Sizing Chart (shoulder to hem):
6 mos. – 13″
12 mos. – 15″
18 mos. – 17″
2T – 19″
3T – 21″
4T – 23″
5 – 25″
6 – 27″

Choose Your Own Adventure – Spring Break 2011

The budding of life brings a fresh, new beginning – a soliloquy of nature resounding the promise of hope and new life. 

I absolutely love spring break in Colorado…a brief glimpse of what is to come, interrupted briefly by the grand finale of heavy, wet spring snowstorms, culminating just in time to let our hearts fill with joy at the arrival of gorgeous Colorado summer weather.  Springtime in the Rockies is a sight to behold, and by far my favorite season of the year!

With this transition in seasons comes prime opportunity for adventure, fun and learning in the Denver area.  With snow in the mountains, you can hit the slopes early – sunshine included – and head back down to town for an evening of capris and flip-flops.  You can shred and tan all in one day…some dare to combine the two but that looks cold to me, ha.

If you’re going to get the most out of your spring break, you’ll want to design a plan of action.  Call a family meeting, make a priority list, choose some “plan B” items, sort the details and be sure to watch the forecast daily – Colorado can keep you on your toes!

Plan with a Purpose
To make this year’s spring break really interesting choose a theme – something your children are interested in – and plan around it.  Include costumes and face paintings in your exploration of our amazing city.  Use cookie cutters to pack themed sandwiches and peanut butter tortilla snacks in your sack lunches.  Incorporate themed lessons in your activity choices – you’re children won’t even notice that they’re learning when they’re having this much fun. 

Volunteer
Along side your chosen theme, make an effort to volunteer in the community.  Contact a local venue and ask if your family can come help for a day.  This can also be a great way to visit an attraction you might not normally be able to squeeze into the fun budget.  Contact Volunteers of America if you are short on ideas – be sure to tell them your plan with a purpose and see what recommendations they make.  Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, build leadership skills and to instill empathy in our children.

Explore Denver
When making your adventure plans, focus on a specific area of town.  Here are some ideas, categorized by geographic area.  Remember not to over-schedule so that you don’t run out of steam too quickly! 

CENTRAL DENVER

  • Botanic Gardens (Denver) – Beautiful gardens indoor and out, March 20th, FREE Day. 
  • The Denver Firefighters Museum (downtown) – Adults $6, children 1-12yrs $4.
  • United States Mint Tour (downtown) – Discover how our currency is made and take home a souvenir, FREE.
  • Molly Brown House Museum (downtown) – March 23rd,  Meet the Headlining Women in Colorado’s History, tea and treats in museum store, $10.
  • Racine’s Restaurant (between Cherry Creek shopping and downtown) – Giant gingerbread pancakes and beautiful works of art, need I say more?
  • Steuben’s Restaurant (downtown) – Diner atmosphere, excellent kids meals with carrot sticks, cucumbers with ranch, edamame beans, fresh berries and choice of entree and side. 
  • Il Vicino (downtown & other locations) – Micro brewery, great food, charming atmosphere and kids can make their own dessert using pizza dough.  

Central Denver offers endless entertainment options for people of all ages.  I’ve purposely left out some of the main attractions and highlighted places you’ve possibly never visited.  Try something new this spring break!

NORTH

  • Hammonds Candy Factory Tour (Denver) – Learn how candy is made and sample something delicious, FREE
  • Adventure Golf & Raceway (Westminster) – Season opening Friday, March 11th, impressive atmosphere, fun for the whole family, prices vary based on activity.
  • Jumpstreet (Thornton) – Wall-to-wall trampolines, $8-$12 first hr, week day discounts.
  • Butterfly Pavilion (Westminster) – Adults $8.50, children 2-12 yrs $5.50.    

SOUTH

  • Hudson Gardens (Littleton) – $1.50 admission this year in celebration of their 15th birthday.  
  • The Streets at SouthGlenn (Centennial) – Beautifully lit at night with several places to stop for a bite to eat, see a movie at the new Hollywood Theater.
  • Westlands Park (Greenwood Village) – Spend an entire day here, huge park with something for everyone, FREE.
  • Pasquini’s (Lone Tree & other locations) – Great atmosphere, delicious Italian food and you can play with dough while you wait!
  • Yogurtland (Centennial) – Variety of frozen yogurt choices, add your own toppings and it’s only $.30/oz.  Great price for a family dessert night out!  

EAST

  • Wings Over the Rockies Museum (Denver) – Air and Space Museum, adults $9, children 4-12 yrs $6, under 4  free.
  • Wild Life Experience (Parker) – Adults $10, children 3-12 yrs $6, under 3 free.  
  • Monkey Bizness (Centennial) – Even big kids can play, climb and bounce here.  Children 12-23 months $3, 24mos – 18yrs $7.50, parents are free, check schedule for open play hours.

 WEST

  • Dinosaur Ridge (Morrison) – Exhibits, shuttle tour, and real dino tracks, just a few dollars/person, 3 and under are free.
  • Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave (Golden) – Adults $5, 6-15yrs $1, 5 and under are free.
  • Casa Bonita (Lakewood) – It’s about the atmosphere and entertainment, kids love it, menu is limited.  Euphoric memories from your childhood?  Visit again it hasn’t changed.  

VARIETY OF LOCATIONS

  • Letterboxing – Go on a real-life treasure hunt.  Letterboxes are hidden all over the Denver area!
  • Pottery Painting – Find a paint-your-own pottery near you!  Prices are per project and make fabulous keepsakes for parents and grandparents.
  • Outdoor Fun – Colorado offers endless FREE fun outdoors.  Choose a location, dress for the weather and have a blast!
  • Scrapbook – Be sure to keep a record of your spring break adventure.  Kids can practice journaling and note all that they are learning.

 HELPFUL RESOURCES

  • Restaurant.com - Enter a zip code and try something new…at a discount!
  • Science & Cultural Facilities District, Denver - With a mission for advancement and preservation of art, music, theatre, dance, zoology, botany, natural history and cultural history, this website provides a listing of excellent learning opportunities all around the Denver area – including a free days listing.
  • Denver 365 - For a listing of year-round area events.

 

What adventure will you choose this spring break?

Some venues provide group, local resident and senior discounts.  See individual websites for details.

Photo: Global Denver

 

Thursday Homemaking with Mile High Mamas

The first of my new series on homemaking debuts today with Denver Post’s Mile High Mamas: http://www.milehighmamas.com/2011/03/03/homemaking-a-power-to-be-reckoned-with/

Check it out and if you have a chance, let me know your thoughts or suggestions.  Stay tuned next Thursday to gain a true appreciation for the spouse whom isn’t blogging your family humor with the rest of the world!

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