Category Archives: culture

Black and … Clear

I recently experienced my first parenting fail moment and thought I’d reflect on it and share.  We attended the nutcracker ballet last weekend, as we do each year, and I promised both girls they could pick out a nutcracker to take along.  Target had them on sale, but I thought they were regular priced at $10.   Due to the sale, not much stock was left at our local target, so the kids had to pick from a limited selection of left over, picked over nutcrackers, most of the ones left were painted black or brown.

20161218_181600My oldest picked an angel nutcracker, as you can see from the picture and there was also one Clara nutcracker left, but my youngest really wanted a soldier.  She calmly and quietly said, “I want a soldier, but I want a clear faced one, not brown-faced.”  I couldn’t help but look around, considering I am and they are Indian-American.  At that moment, their mommy became a whopping mixture of both brown and red-faced.  No one heard, but I couldn’t help but wonder where I failed as a parent that my child wanted a white nutcracker; a child, mind you who was born a month after the Obamas entered the White House and hasn’t seen any other President yet in her short lifetime.

Then I realized as we talked more in detail that they are just not exposed to multi-cultures here in our homogeneous, yet firmly liberal city or town.  My daughter said when we go to the shows, no one performing is like us, nor look like this soldier (the one she opted to buy).  She said everyone on the shows we watch are also clear-faced so she wanted what she thought was most appropriate for the nutcracker.  I told her in larger towns, and at the the traveling DCPA productions, multi-cultures are indeed represented, and it’s just that the local productions we see are reflective of the population in our local Colorado.   From the mouth of babes, though, it helped me understand that I do need to take more steps to expose my children to more Indian activities, and Bollywood productions, and perhaps even different cultural events.   At the Nutcracker ballet, a sweet young boy came up to my daughter who was hiding her nutcracker at first, and exclaimed, “I have the same one but mine has a pink face.”   I was screaming on the inside considering how embarrassed my daughter was earlier.  But, I also noted that color was indeed noticed by children this little, and that this is the reality of our world and it’s our job to educate and mentor our children.  I replied, “oh great… this is a unique one and can do the same things yours can.  Isn’t that great?”  He smiled and took off, but this small event really did open my eyes.

obama-cover-750x1125It made me realize that no matter how innocent kids truly are, they perceive things through activities, shows and such, and what we expose them to.  The American girl episodes do not help either with its cast of characters, or the TV shows they watch from time to time.  Everyone is “clear-faced.”  Children certainly don’t intend to discriminate in the same illegal manner that adults may, but they distinguish attractiveness based on what they see and experience, and TV and movies are a huge part of this.  My sweet young daughter was embarrassed about what happened, so I don’t force the issue any longer, but when possible, try to show her things I think will help her self-image, and perception of the world around her.   Ironically, as we checked out at Target, the people magazine cover struck me and my daughter smiled too as I showed it to her, but she was indeed embarrassed about her innocent comment earlier.  Black or white, it does not matter, but I hope we can see past race some day in their lifetimes.  Judging from who was elected President recently, his appointees and what he proclaims to stand for, I say we have a long ways to go.

Share

Wilderness Aware Rafting – Amazing family fun!

Rafting 2016 July 16We went rafting as a family for the first time.  The last time my husband and I went rafting was when we were still engaged to be married, so this was truly a treat.  Wilderness Aware (WA) is a great company, located in 20160716_123242Buena Vista, Colorado., and they do more than just white water rafting.  WA offers full-day and half-day rafting trips, a dinner float (this one is so cool), multi-day trips, including camping or B&B stays with rafting included.  You can also book zipline tours, horseback riding, and bike trips through WA.  Their website is great, easy to use, and offer discounts when you book on-line.

SAM_0647WA facilities are great!  The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and extremely helpful.  Once you arrive on-site, you can change there, buy water, and apply sunscreen (they provide this).  If you do a full day rafting trip, breakfast is provided on-site too!  You meet your guide and get your gear, and then receive a safety demonstration.  We had Isaiah as our guide and he really hit it off with our kiddos.  SAM_0654He even let my eldest row with him.  She loved it!

It was their first time, and the half day lower browns canyon (Class I and II rapids) really made them feel comfortable.  They are actually ready for Class III and IV now.  But mom and dad may not be, just yet.   The dinner float was assembling when we returned to Buena Vista, and it looks so interesting – You float down, and eat at a grill, and then return back. The views SAM_0660are breathtaking on the raft, and Colorado is so scenic, so I can imagine how much more amazing it would be to have a nice dinner and a glass wine along the Arkansas river while admiring the view.  We had fun rafting as a family, and I know we will return next summer, if not sooner, to take in some more of the fun.  We want to try zip lining as well, and Wilderness Aware is a great company to book trips through.   DCIM101GOPROThey are organized, and made us all feel special. They sent us information before the trip and kept us well-informed on construction in the area, best route to take, and what to leave behind in the car. All in all, our first rafting trip as a family was a huge success, and we are looking forward to a return trip very soon – thanks Wilderness Aware for an amazing whitewater rafting trip.

Disclaimer: I was compensated with a free family half-day Lower Browns Canyon raft trip in exchange for promotion and this post.  The review is honest, and the opinions expressed here in are my own.  

Share

Denver Art Museum Samurai Exhibit – Now through June 5th #SamuraiDAM

20160306_131418*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.

DAM 1 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.

The exhibition is curated in collaboration with the Denver Art Museum and The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection, Dallas. An exhibition catalog, Art of Armor: Samurai Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection, will be available in The Shops and online.

DAM 2DAM 3

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!

DAM 4Logistics & 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.

DAM 5Denver 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.

Share

N’awlins gal in Colorado – Parade of Mardi Gras King Cakes

New Orleans Tasty Donuts' McKenzie cake
New Orleans Tasty Donuts’ McKenzie cake

I grew up outside of New Orleans.  I moved to Colorado in 2002, and since then, have always searched for comparable king cakes for Mardi Gras. Nothing compares to New Orleans king cakes, so far, especially my favorite from New Orleans: McKenzie’s or Tastee Donuts, but here are some options you can try if you miss the Big Easy in the Mile High City.

 

Note: If you come across other options, please share them in the comments.  We want to hear from you!  

1)  Rheinlander Bakery-  I posted about Rheinlander king cakes and they even improved their recipe.  Below are my two previous posts on Rheinlander King Cakes.  Rheinlander is an amazing bakery located in Old Town Arvada, Colorado.  They have amazing pastries, coffee, and made to order cakes.  Their king cakes are good, and freshly made, and they have improved their recipe a lot.

Rheinlander King Cakes for Katrina Mardi Gras
Rheinlander

The bread has just enough cinnamon, and the icing and sugar are not overwhelming. King cakes vary in price based on size, and come in several different filling and flavor options.  I still tend to go with cinnamon but there is apple and pecan.  I do not like all the extra filling and things.  i like the idea of sweet cake with light icing and sugar.  I like how Rheinlander provides a baby and some beads and a history on the King Cake and the cheapest is generally about $24.99 (goes up every year).  I find this is a bit pricey for king cake, considering you can have one shipped with all the fixings for $30 (includes overnight FedEx).

Mardi Gras King Cakes for Katrina- Rheinlander Bakery in Arvada, Colorado

Happy Mardi Gras- follow up review King Cakes for Katrina & Rheinlander Bakery in Arvada

2) Whole Whole Foods carries king cakesFoods is the latest (just since 2014 for us) to start selling Mardi Gras king cakes and they sell these for about $14.99 – they go up each year.  You can choose from filled, generally raspberry, apple or plain cinnamon.
The sugar is a bit coarser and definitely different than the sugar on a traditional New Orleans king cake but these are not very sweet, and I like that.  The bread is fine, and the toppings are not overwhelming.  You can pick them up and they tend to be fresh, but as with all things baked in Colorado, you have about 3 days to enjoy, freeze or toss.  Things just get dry here quicker, especially bread and pastries.  Of course, you can always make your own, which Whole Foods encourages you to do.  Here is a recipe to make your own delicious knock off King Cake.  Will it come to close my favorite from New Orleans?  Probably not, but worth a shot!

3) King Sooper’s or Kroger’s – King soopers just introduced, this year (if they had them in the past, I never found it at my local shops), the Mardi Gras King Cake.  It is about $6.99 with the card, and is a round, flat (not risen very well) Cinnamon roll with icing on it and sugar.  The sugar is like the one from Rheinlander, but this cake is super sweet.  You can’t have a lot, but it is flavorful and basically a giant cinnamon roll with icing on it.  Add in the purple, yellow and green and some beads, and voila! King Soopers Mardi Gras King cakes It is a Mardi Gras king cake.  It’s okay, but the price can’t be beat for sure if you are having a Mardi Gras party in the Mile High City.  Since the Broncos were in the superbowl this year, I got myself a Blue, Orange, and White one this year in hope they do not get crushed like last time.  Don’t forget y’all, Peyton Manning is a hometown New Orleanean, even though he is QB for the Denver Broncos.

I plan to review more if you can share where I can get more King Cakes, but ’til then, Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler and have a very Happy Mardi Gras!

 


Share

The Game is Afoot at the DMNS #SherlockinDenver

sherlock-224x275

*Please note: This article was written as a guest post for Mile High Mamas, and is posted here.  For Denver activities and more, check out their website.

221B  Baker Street has been transported to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science from now until January 31, 2016.  This interactive international exhibit has several parts, but starts with the history of this character and and includes a replica underground train station (circa 1895) where you can receive detective’s notebooks (available in English and Spanish), and go station to station to learn about the different techniques and aspects for solving crimes.  At each station, you stamp your detective notebook or receive a decoder (read the instructions or ask for help), because each station is different.

Gathering techniques and punches in your book
Gathering techniques and punches in your book

At the end of the station, you get a special decoded message from Sherlock Holmes that tells you what to do next. The game is definitely afoot, as you examine a crime in a Victorian-era home, stamp your book so you can take clues with you and then walk the streets of London to gather clues. At each of the final stations, you analyze all the evidence with hands-on interactive stations.  Thegameisafoot

The various stations, include a sitting room at 221B Baker Street, depicting the very room where Dr. Watson and Sherlock discussed cases.  The various stations make it fun for adults and children alike to enjoy solving a case and exploring the concept that “things are not always what they seem!”

crime scene
crime scene

Be prepared for some fun, interaction, and a whole lot of Sherlock Holmes.  If you love a mystery and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creations, you will definitely enjoy this exhibit at the DMNS.  But, be careful and observe every detail, because “to a great mind, nothing is little.”

InvestigatingtheEvidence
Analyzing the evidence

 

A few things of note for this exhibit specifically:

  • You can take strollers, photos, but no flash photos, please.
  • Admission to this exhibit is extra, even for members.  But, special member discounts apply. 
  • Some of the content is not suitable for kids under age 10.  It depends on the child and what they can handle.  It’s a murder and analysis of evidence from a scene.
  • It is a complicated exhibited, so ask for help.  Plenty of amazing volunteers and staff are there to assist.
  • Attend on less busier days if you can, so you can truly enjoy this exhibit. Crowds make this exhibit tougher to enjoy/use.
  • It is open daily, except for Christmas day, December 25.

For more information, visit International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes

*Disclaimer: I wrote this piece for DMNS and Mile High Mamas as a guest blogger.  I received compensation in the form of free admission for my family.  The information and any opinions posted here are my own.

Share