I only realized how much my mom sacrificed for us after I became a mom almost 9 years ago. She was 25, and married off to a man she hardly knew (arranged marriages back in the day). Then, she was immediately setting sail (okay, she flew) to a country almost 10,000 miles away from her home for a new life. She left behind all she knew, the languages she spoke and the people she loved. Over the last four decades, she also moved all over the country for dad’s career, and stayed at home for us. She shuttled us to all our activities and school events. When we were sick, she stayed up all night worrying and caring for us. Her love didn’t end when we went off to college. She was always thinking of us. Mom sacrificed so much for us. She’s my hero, not just this Mother’s Day but every day.
This mother’s day is especially special for us. Mom recently started a journey that will be both difficult and have its triumphs too. Mom is private about her life so I won’t share more but we know she will do great! She is the strongest person I know because of all she did for us and all she sacrificed. Only a strong person can do that! My mom is unique and special, and loved by all who meet her. While I may not have mirrored everything she did, I am better off because of the choices she made for us. This mother’s day, I want her to know that she is my hero. Because of her sacrifices, I am here, living in a country with amazing opportunities. I am all that I am because of what she taught me and how she cared for me. I have her personality, her smile, and people often mistake me for her when I call them. There is a saying that “we live on through our children.” Well, if this is true, mom, I have lived and breathed you for 43 years, and will keep doing so as long as God allows.
Thanks for being one of two people who wanted me more than anything and doing your very best. Your children and grandchildren are proof that you do more than your best. Thanks for making mistakes along the way. We made better choices as a result of them. God has given you to me for 43 years and I pray he loans you to us for much longer. After all, he still wants you to teach your grandchildren a few things we didn’t want to learn. Finally, thanks for loving me more than anyone can ever imagine. Now that I am a mom, I actually don’t have to imagine. I only hope I can be half the hero for my children that you are for us.
My husband and I tried Dream Dinners, Wheat Ridge, Colorado, this weekend, and what a treat! Their March introductory offer ($74.95 value) let us pick six 3-serving meals from an expansive menu. Then, we made an appointment to go into the kitchen and assemble all six meals. The kitchen is very organized, clean, and all the ingredients are chopped, measured and ready for you to build and take home, freeze or eat right away. You go from station to station to assemble your meals. The proprietary recipe cards at each station guide you through the process and it’s quite simple to assemble.
Travis helped us at the Wheat Ridge location. He is such a delight to work with and learn from. You use bags or containers, and all items come with a step by step recipe card so when you get home and choose a meal, you are ready to go! No chopping, no buying of ingredients, no extensive prep time. You follow very simple directions to heat up/top or cook the food, and you’re serving up dinner in no time! This is perfect for family meals or for just two. The introductory offer is definitely worth a shot, and I encourage you to set up your appointment on line or call them. The staff is super friendly and helpful and on-site with you the entire time. You are offered a drink of coffee, tea, or other beverages, and we got to sample a scone 1030 am on a Saturday – it was delish! My husband was able to sample chicken risotto which is being offered on their April menu and loved it!
The kitchen has clean bowls, measuring bowls, and utencils throughout your preparation journey, and the instructions are so simple to follow, even color-coded. It’s super easy – we were in and out in an hour and that was including someone teaching us, and speaking with us about the offers. I also picked up sides from their sides and dessert freezer case, and we enjoyed potato pancakes and a dip for lunch. Yum! Tonight, my husband and kiddos are having cornflake crusted chicken tenders and a side of mashed potatoes (also from Dream Dinners), while I enjoy Risotto (a side dish). The vegetarian choices are slim to none here, but Travis told us that if you choose to leave out the protein on a 3-serving meal, you save 50% on that dish, which is a great deal.
Then, you can pick the protein of choice at home and assemble the meal at home, and still save time and money. For example, April’s menu includes a Creamy Chicken Risotto, and this item can be assembled without the protein, or the risotto can be made without the chicken or chicken packaged separately from the Risotto. At home, it can be made vegetarian for both a vegetarian and meat-eater to enjoy. My favorite was the side dishes because those for me are things the kids eat like mashed potatoes, potato pancakes, fries and garlic bread sticks. They complement all the meals you prepare at Dream Dinners, or can complement a dish you make at home. My husband prepared the cornflake crusted chicken tenders tonight and the house smells lovely! He loved the meal and said the flavors were perfect.
The only cons for me of this place was menu selection for a vegetarian, but if you eat meat and your family is not picky, this place is for you! Also, even if you are cooking for just two or three, I think the portions are perfect for one night and a left over for lunch the next day. With 3-servings, it goes a long way in our house. The minimum order after the introductory offer(six 3-serving meals) is twelve 3-serving meals, so it may best to split with a good friend if you are interested and cannot possibly maintain 3-4 meals a week on this. Partnering up with friends is a good idea. You can skip a month if you want or are out of town, and there is no contract or obligation. The best thing is about how long they will keep because they are packaged for freezing so you can thaw or take out when you are ready for them. All the instructions are different so follow the cards’ instructions carefully. Also, like Steve points out in the comments, this place is kid-friendly and if kids are into cooking, or mature enough to be involved in the kitchen, this place is perfect to bring him or her along to help you portion out the recipe, assemble the meal and add the ingredients of their choice. Who knows? If they take part in the assembly, they may actually eat it? What a concept!
One of the things I learned about Dream Dinners is that they do school fundraisers and give a size-able donation per family – each attendee pays $34.99 for THREE 3-serving meals of their choice and $10 of this goes to the school – that is 30% back of the school! What a great idea and you get healthy, fresh meals that the family can get 6 meals or more out of – what a deal!
My husband and I enjoyed our dream dinners experience and I would highly recommend you try the introductory offer. After that, you can figure out how to sign up because for us, twelve 3-serving meals is a lot considering how differently we all eat in our family, but if we can split it with a family, or two, I think it could work out. Also, make some room in your freezer because you are gonna need it. Dream Dinners has the four Colorado locations to choose from so you can go an try out their introductory offer. Also, if you are not in Colorado and you’d like to go in and try your Dream Dinners, you can see if there is one near you. Happy cooking and eating!
Giveaway: To enter to win, please comment below with what you’d do with one free 3-serving meal from Dream Dinners? Make sure you include your name and email when you comment- only I see your email. For this event, you can bring up to 9 friends (10 total including you) to build a meal and learn more about Dream Dinners while you enjoy provided appetizers, non-alcoholic drinks, and the opportunity to catch up with friends or colleagues. Also, for an additional $24.95 (normally $50 value), you can take three additional 3-serving meals home with you, ready to thaw and/or cook. The night out is a great deal and worth over $130 (depending on dish) and it’s yours for free. Just sign up and I randomly choose a winner using a plug in on wordpress. Finally, I hope you will invite me along as one of your party of 10. You will be notified by3/19/2016 if you win and winner posted here. Comments/entries close at 8pm MDT 3/19/2016. *Note: Contest only applies to Wheat Ridge, Colorado location
NOTE: We have a winner! Congrats, Heather – I will connect you with Dream Dinners & write you separately.
Required Disclosure: I was offered a free introductory offer from Dream Dinners in exchange for a honest review. The giveaway is also part of the compensation for readers who enter to win. The opinion expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
*warning: some of the images appear strange or rotated using Chrome. Sorry about that. It is a Chrome issue.
We visited the Denver Art Museum’s Samurai Exhibit today, on opening day, and it was a treat! The Art Museum is iconic in Denver, and showcases some of the most amazing works of art you will see. Do not miss this special, limited engagement exhibit while it is in town. Now through June 5, DAM is featuring the Samurai Exhibit.
The Exhibit: The exhibition Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection tells the iconic story of Japanese samurai through 140 objects from one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of samurai armor and accoutrements in the world.
Surrounded by murals and war regalia, visitors will be immersed in the life, culture, and pageantry of samurai in the 1100s through the 1800s. Exquisitely decorated suits of armor, helmets, weapons, horse trappings, and additional battle gear will be on display, demonstrating masterful craftsmanship.Samurai will highlight the artistic inspiration for these elaborate suits of armor.
Once you exit through the gift shop, the kids receive a sticker to make a seal. Cross over 14th using the bridge (level 2) where you will arrive at the North Wing and the Samurai-themed kids activity area called the “Just for Fun Family Center.” Parents can relax here and the kids can dress up as Samurai, make hats with their family crest/seal, and practice building sculptures with soft, large, hand-sculpted wooden rocks made by Sam Mobley. In this area, kids can play games, draw, and cut loose. The mural backdrop by artist Jena Siedler transforms you to Japan while you relax and play. We had a blast today at the Denver Art Museum!
Logistics & Information: The exhibit is family-friendly, but I recommend kids ages 5 and up will enjoy this, and not so much the younger kids. The museum provides you an audio guide at the entrance, and there is a separate number series for families versus adults to hear. For the family guide, a “tengu” speaks to you about the pieces and trains you and the kids how to be a Samurai. In folklore, the Tengu is a half bird, half man, and you meet him at the end of your audio tour. The experience was fun for my kids, and they stayed engaged throughout the exhibit. It is quite an extensive collection, and we were very impressed with how well it was displayed, explained, and laid out. The exhibit is handicap accessible, and easy to push wheelchairs and strollers throughout the museum.
Denver Art Museum does a great job with crowd control by doing timed entry for the special exhibit. This ensures everyone enjoys the exhibit without being trampled, or overcrowded. I wish other museums in the area would learn from this and follow suit. It is so pleasant to walk around, read placards and enjoy the exhibit, rather than being shoved and so crowded-in that you cannot see a thing. I absolutely love the Denver Art Museum for this reason, and this exhibit and the entire museum is enjoyable as a result.
You may buy your tickets on site, or online (by time), and it is not included with the general admission, so plan accordingly. Members get a special rate, and there are senior, military and other discounts available. Youth under age 18 are FREE at the Denver Art Museum but there is a $5 fee for them for this exhibit. Photography is permitted in this area, but no FLASH photography is permitted. The audio guides are well worth it!
The Museum is located near Civic Center Park, and there is ample garage open, but on Sundays, street parking is free. Check the events calendar. You can also park at the post office/federal building for $5, and walk a few blocks. There are plenty of private paid lots as well.
Required Disclosure: My family and I attended the Denver Art Museum’s Samurai Exhibit for free in exchange for an honest review and posting information about this special exhibit. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Don’t miss this Groupon Deal (active now) for The Museum of Art in Denver or click below, and search for other great deals:
Once you click here, search for Denver Museum of Art. There is an amazing membership deal right now, you can try clicking here too.
On March 1st, Baskin-Robbins, the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty shops, brought two of America’s most popular treats together to create its new Warm Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches and Sundaes. Additionally, Baskin-Robbins is introducing a new March Flavor of the Month, Cookie Jar Mashup, which features three classic cookies in one amazing scoop.
We went to our nearest location (Wheat Ridge), and I tried both the Cookie Jar Mashup flavor and the new warm cookie ice cream sandwich, and enjoyed both! You can even sandwich the Cookie Jar Mashup flavor in-between two or three of your favorite cookie flavors. The topping options are endless. For the sandwich or Sundae, you can also choose from sprinkles, nuts, almonds, fudge or other topping options.
The chewy, warmed to order cookie options include Dark Chocolate Chunk, Double Fudge, Peanut Butter Chocolate and White Chunk Macadamia Nut Cookies. You can put any of our favorite 31 flavors of ice cream in the cookie sandwiches, or sundaes. The new Warm Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich and Sundae lineup includes:
Warm Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich: Features a guest’s favorite ice cream flavor sandwiched between their choice of two warmed to order, chewy cookies, topped with rainbow sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles or chopped almonds. Guests can also “Make it a Double” with two scoops of ice cream and three cookies.
Warm Cookie Sundae: Features a guest’s favorite ice cream flavor served with their choice of two warm and chewy cookies, topped with their choice of wet topping, whipped cream, chopped nuts and a cherry. Guests can also “Make it a Double” with two scoops of ice cream and three cookies.
Baskin-Robbins’ March Flavor of the Month, Cookie Jar Mashup, combines OREO®, Chips Ahoy! and Nutter Butter cookie pieces with rich vanilla-flavored ice cream swirled with a chocolate-flavored ribbon. Cookie Jar Mashup is the perfect ice cream flavor for cookie lovers, and can be enjoyed by the scoop in a cup or cone, or as a fitting addition to a Warm Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich or Sundae. Next time you eat dinner, save room for dessert and definitely stop in and enjoy one of these. Even splitting them in half, you will really enjoy these warm/cold delights.
My family and I enjoyed our respective flavors today, and I sampled the Cookie Jar Mashup flavor, and really enjoyed how much flavor it has in each bite. My kids loved their flavor choices too! Go to your nearest Baskin-Robbins, and enjoy a warm cookie or two. And if you are like me, you can either get a sandwich, or enjoy your favorite 31 flavors and take a cookie for the road. I like all my flavors separated out so I can savor each one. However you like it, the options are endless.
NOTE: Baskin-Robbins is a registered trademark and used here for promotional purposes. OREO®, Chips Ahoy! and Nutter Butter are registered trademarks of Mondelēz International group, used under license.
Required Disclosure: I was compensated for this post in return for sharing information about this new promotion, and my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own, and the information is from Baskin-Robbins’ press release. This post contains affiliate marketing links.
If you’d like two free tickets to the Colorado Garden & Home Show, post your name (first name) in the comments below, and I will pick a winner tomorrow evening. The Colorado Garden and Home Show is an amazing show case of vendors across the front range and the vendors are offering special discounts to attendees. Lots of swag, and lots to explore. The show started Saturday, Feb 13, and goes through the 21st, but beat the crowds and attend on a weekday. You can either park on the street around the Convention Center (2-hr limit) or at the Convention Center itself, and explore as long as you wish. I am going back later this week to get a few deals I wanted to do research on first. Don’t miss this show, and if you want free tickets, comment below for your chance to win. Kids are free, so only adults need tickets.
Disclaimer: In exchange for free tickets to giveaway here, I was compensated with free attendance for two adults.