Fall Fun in Denver

Fall in the Denver area can be a magical time for the entire family. From a health perspective, it is always a good idea to get outside, breathe in the fresh air and have fun! From pumpkin farms to corn mazes and haunted houses, there is an abundance of opportunities to get some exercise and make lasting memories for years to come. Below is a list of some of our favorite places for children and adults to enjoy this fall.

Pumpkin farms. Picking pumpkins is all about family fun. Enjoy enormous amounts of fun picking out those perfect pumpkins for this year’s Jack O’ Lanterns!

  • Flat Acres Farm is located at 11321 Dransfeldt Road in Parker and is open through Halloween. Don’t miss the hayrides and petting zoo!
  • Anderson Farms is located at 6728 County Road in Erie and is open through the first of November. Enjoy a rich family atmosphere with plenty for the kids to do.

Corn mazes. Get lost in nonstop fun at these area corn mazes!

  • Corn Maze at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through the 1st of November. Aside from corn mazes of different shapes and sizes, you can also enjoy pony rides, hayrides and giant pillow jumping!
  • Haunted Field of Screams, located at 10270 Riverdale Road, is open every Thurs-Sat from now until the end of October. Get ready for hair-raising thrills as you test your nerves by exploring the Haunted Field of Screams, Dead Man’s Night Maze or Zombie Paintball Massacre. For added chills, you can experience all three!

Haunted houses. Prepare to be thrilled and terrified at these heart-stopping destinations!

  • The 13th Floor Haunted House is located at 4120 Brighton Blvd. and is open until November 14th. Visit the 13th Floor Haunted House and discover the eerie truth behind the legend of the 13th floor!
  • The Asylum is open until November 1st at 6100 E. 39th and features three terrifying attractions. This year’s attractions are Primitive Fear: Patient Alpha, Post Mortem: The Escape and The Abandoned.

Other Halloween-themed attractions around town. Here are some less scary events that may be more suitable for younger children.

  • The Trick or Treat Train, at the Colorado Railroad Museum, is open from 10am to 4pm on Halloween. Take this historic locomotive ride while trick-or-treating through family-friendly Railroad Halloween Town!
  • Boo at the Zoo is located at the Denver Zoo and is open from 9am-5pm on Oct. 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1. Boo at the Zoo features trick-or-treating, animal exhibitions and entertainment the whole family will enjoy!

Do you have any favorite fall attractions to add to this list? Please share in the comments below!

Fall Home Maintenance

Even though summer temperatures are still blazing, those winter chills will soon be on their way. Now is the time to start thinking about fall home maintenance. Here is a list of some minor tasks you can perform around the house to prevent any expensive mishaps and unwanted dangers in the coming winter.

Put away garden hoses and disable sprinklers. To prevent costly damages from early freeze snaps in the beginning of the fall, make sure your garden hoses are removed from all outdoor faucets and make sure there is no residual water. Any remaining water can freeze and crack faucets and pipes. Drain and store hoses indoors for the winter. If you have a sprinkler system, turn off the main valve to cut off the water and open the drain valves to let the water flow out. Remember to empty all sprinkler heads of any water.

Seal cracks. Sealing cracks is a simple and inexpensive way to avoid high heating costs. Simply inspect the exterior of your home for cracks in the foundation, in the areas around windows and doors and near spots where wires and pipes enter the house. If cracks are found in these areas, use caulk to fill them.

Check your roof and clear the gutters. To inspect your roof safely, consider contacting a certified professional. Some telltale signs of damage that you can spot from the ground include rusted flashing and shingles that are missing, warped or cracked. Gutters should be cleared of leaves and other debris. Sagging gutters are a safety hazard and might be a result of water being trapped. Damaged gutters should be replaced.

Get your furnace ready. Be sure to get your furnace inspected by a licensed professional. Furnace filters should be replaced every two months. If your furnace is performing poorly or unpredictably, it is likely time for an inspection.

Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. This is a good time to make sure all the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your house are in working order and have fresh batteries so your family is kept safe this winter.

Don’t let the coming weather changes catch you off guard! Follow these simple tips and enjoy the many delights of autumn! Do you have more home maintenance tips? Please share in the comments below!

5 Basics for Back-to-School

Now that summer is winding down, this is the perfect time to start preparing your kids for the return of school. Because there are a lot of details to keep track of, this can be a very stressful and chaotic time. However, remembering a few of the basics will help you get this school year off to a great start!

Take your kids to the doctor. Be sure to schedule your children’s medical appointments prior to the beginning of the new school year. These include medical checkups, eye exams, dental appointments and hearing tests. Remember that your child’s medical records and vaccinations should all be up to date at the start of every school year.

Appropriate bedtimes. Your children likely have a much more liberal sleep schedule during the summer months. If that is the case, try to establish an earlier bedtime one or two weeks before school starts. If you have trouble accomplishing this, consider dimming the lights an hour or so prior to the designated bedtime or giving them a hot bath to calm their bodies down.

Meal schedules. Along with sleep schedules, this is also the time to adjust your kids’ eating schedules to support the levels of energy they will need throughout the school day. The regularity of breakfast, lunch and dinner should be reintroduced and upheld. Depending on your schedule, it might be easier to prepare school lunches the night before. Another option to help ease this transition is to prepare and freeze some easy dinners ahead of time.

School supplies. Stock up on school supplies early! Save your receipts to prepare for the possibility that some teachers may prefer students to use particular items for their class. Look for backpacks that are sturdy enough to handle the workload and regular wear and tear. When buying clothes, be sure to review your school’s dress code. After the supplies are purchased, appoint specific spots in the house for lunch boxes, backpacks and other supplies. This will cut down on the unwanted clutter that can occur during the school year.

Proper study area. Provide your child with a specific space in the home to do homework. This spot should be quiet, uncluttered and separate from household distractions. Setting time schedules for doing homework might also be helpful. The intent in doing all of this is to instill a sense of routine as well as the importance of doing schoolwork.

Hopefully, after reading these tips, getting your kids ready doesn’t seem so daunting. Remembering these basics will aid you in getting this school year going strong! Do you have more back-to-school tips? Please share in the comments below.

Our Favorite Fall Superfoods

Last week, we focused on different ways you can enjoy this beautiful fall season. At the top of the list was pumpkin’s power as an ingredient for seasonal favorites, like pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin pie. This superfood is more than just a delicious addition to recipes; pumpkin is rich in potassium and Vitamin B, plus one serving has about 20% of your daily-recommended intake of fiber. This is just one of the season’s superfoods, however, there are many other in-season fruits and vegetables that are both nutritious and delicious.

Check out our favorite fall superfoods and recipes below:

Apples: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” More important now during cold and flu season, this crisp fruit is full of antioxidants and four grams of dietary fiber per serving. Be sure to eat the skin to maximize the health benefits. Try this stuffed apple recipe from The Food Network for a sweet twist on traditional apple pie.

Brussels Sprouts: This vegetable has a mild, slightly bitter taste that makes it great combined with tangy and savory sauces like balsamic vinegar. Half a cup contains more than your daily dose of Vitamin K, plus these are a great source of folate and iron. Although I think they taste best by simply roasting with a little olive oil, garlic salt and pepper, this Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad is sure to please.

Cauliflower: The slightly nutty flavor of this veggie makes it perfect for fall side dishes, like a cauliflower mash. It has cancer fighting compounds and phytonutrients that may help lower cholesterol, plus it’s an excellent source of Vitamin C.

Parsnips: For a vegetable that’s not as well-known, parsnips resemble a white carrot and have a sweet, almost nutty flavor. They are great pureed in soups and sauces and are a good source of fiber and potassium. Try this Gingered Pear and Parsnip recipe for a delicious mix of tangy and sweet.

Squash: From butternut to acorn, winter squash has a finer texture and slightly sweeter flavor compared to its summer counterparts. Its think skin allows it to be stored for months and contains omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin A. There is no shortage of recipes for these versatile gourds, but they pair fantastically with other fall flavors like cinnamon and ginger. This hearty Beef and Butternut Squash stew is perfect for chilly nights, and this Squash Gratin or Roasted Squash with Brown Butter and Cinnamon both make delectable sides.

Sweet Potatoes: More nutritionally dense than white potatoes, sweet potatoes have lots of Vitamin A, iron and anti-inflammatory properties. This Thanksgiving favorite is also delicious roasted, or try them as a Sweet Potato Mash or in this Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup.

Dates: This middle eastern fruit is sweet and can be braised for stews, chopped for desserts or stuffed with almonds and cream cheese. Low in fat, they have high amounts of fiber and potassium. Impress guests at your next get-together with this bacon and date appetizer.

To find out more about these superfoods and many more, visit http://bit.ly/1tykOjO.

Cooler temperatures and falling leaves make this time of year perfect to cozy up to a fire with family and friends. Impress loved ones with scrumptious seasonal offerings, and the health benefits are just a bonus. We won’t tell if you don’t.

5 Ways to Stay Healthy This Fall

Summer is behind us. The leaves are beginning to fall, the weather is getting cooler, and football season is in full swing (go Broncos!). Fall also means shorter days and is often the time of year people have a harder time sticking to a healthy routine. According to YouGov, Fall is America’s favorite season, and we want you to get the most out of it.

Here are a few stay-healthy tips to enjoy the changing colors, crisp days and pumpkin patches:

Pumpkin is great for your coffee, and your health. Pumpkin is the official flavor of fall. You can find it at your local coffee shop, and in your favorite microbrew, but pumpkin is a lot more than just a flavor, a pie, or a jack-o-lantern. The pulp in pumpkin is high in Vitamins A and C. Pumpkin seeds are very healthy as well, containing lots of phytosterols to decrease cholesterol. If you are carving out a jack-o-lantern and want to save some of the insides; pumpkin goes great in just about anything including soups, cookies, and of course pies.

Eat healthy. Between football tailgates and holiday dinners, fall makes it easy to indulge. Try mixing in some delicious seasonal offerings like broccoli, beats, and Brussels sprouts for more fresh options.

Avoid getting sick. Nobody tries to get sick, but cooling temperatures also mark more individuals falling victim to illnesses like the seasonal flu and common cold. Getting a flu shot is a must, particularly for younger children and the elderly (read our earlier post on flu season). If you do get sick, stay at home. Going to work or sending children to school will only encourage the spread of illness. Remember, nobody wants your cough. Also, proper hygiene and sanitation (washing your hands, brushing your teeth, etc.) go a long way towards preventing illnesses.

Get outdoors and stay active. Colder weather means we spend more time indoors than during warmer months. But fall offers numerous outdoor opportunities. It’s a great time of year to sight see. As the Aspens change color, fall hikes are as scenic as any time of year. Fall is also an excellent time to try your hand at fishing. Brown Trout and Kokanee salmon are running (mating), meaning the fish are particularly active. There are numerous rivers and lakes within an hour or two drive from the Front Range. If it’s your first time or you want to try your hand at fly-fishing, hire a guide (like these guys: http://www.theflyfisher.com/).

Give back. Fall is the season of giving, and with Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, it’s a great time to help those less fortunate. Whether participating in a charity walk or feeding the hungry, there are so many opportunities to help those less fortunate. It’s a great reminder how fortunate you are, too.

Fall is wonderful to spend time with the family, give back to those less fortunate and improve your well-being. Get the most out of this wonderful time of year.