Kids Adventure Games coming to Big Sky, Montana

You know where Big Sky is, right?

No, not Big Sky High School.

Big Sky, Montana, the town that isn’t a town and is located in two counties: Gallatin and Madison. You may know it best by one of its primary attractions: Big Sky Resort.

Later this month, on August 23 (a Saturday), Big Sky will hold the Kids Adventure Games. According to the information I was sent, these games are held at “eight top resort destinations nationwide” and are “the only national outdoor adventure series created specifically for kids.”

Specifically, registration is open to kids ages 6-14.

Here’s the rest of the message I was forwarded, along with a video link!

The Kids Adventure Games builds confidence, promotes teamwork, and is THE most awesome-fun filled-adventure that a kid could have!  We believe in promoting a healthy active lifestyle for kids and expanding their view of what is possible.  Each of the events feature biking and hiking , along with some iconic challenges such as the Zip Line, Cargo nets, and Tarzan Swing.  The courses have all been carefully created for kids by our race director (and renowned adventure racer), Billy Mattison.

As an organization we want to spread the love for the outdoors and help kids challenge themselves in a fun, safe environment.  We also want to create a family friendly event that is inclusive of the community as a whole.  I have attached a video to give you a better idea of who we are and what we do.   I would ask you to get comfortable, turn up the volume, and click here:

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Our furry children and some pet pictures

Two kids, two dogs, two cats. One me.

Sometimes it feels like not a day goes by that I’m not cleaning up somebody’s body fluids. Oh sure, my husband cleans up the cat barf too – but we both know I do a much more thorough job.

Chickadee This is our Chickadee. Don’t let her pose in this picture fool you – she’s fast and she’s a jumper. Given half a chance, she’ll sail right over our fence and run for the hills.

Cat blanketMaybe we need to turn the heat up in our house a little. Whenever I do go sit down, I’m instantly covered with cats.

Kid blanket Or maybe we’re just a family that likes to cuddle. This is Landon laying on Harley, who doesn’t mind it in the slightest. In fact, Harley follows the kids around the house from room to room, constantly nosing their hands for some pets.

I was inspired to post these pics after browsing through the new Missoula dogs slideshow put together by my colleagues at the Missoulian. It just goes to show how much we in Missoula love our dogs. All 45 photos are great, but if I had to pick a favorite, I’d have to go with No. 34. How about you? Which one’s your favorite?

UPDATE: And here’s the new slideshow of cats!

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Fifth-graders get rotten lesson in sportsmanship at Helena tournament

Ugh, ugh, ugh.

This is the kind of thing I really can’t stand. A coach and a scorekeeper get into a fight – at a kids’ basketball game – and it’s the kids who lose out. Their entire tournament had to be canceled after police were called to break up the fight.

We’re talking about fifth-graders here. And during the season of goodwill toward all, no less.

“Police Chief Troy McGee says his understanding is that a coach disagreed with an official during a game on Thursday and the scorekeeper got involved, followed by numerous spectators.”

So the rest of the tournament was canceled.

“Helena YMCA CEO David Smith says it was a difficult decision, but notes that when a parent signs their child up for youth sports, they agree to a 12-point code of conduct. He said violence and poor sportsmanship cannot be tolerated.”

Of course, those parents and children probably thought the code of conduct wouldn’t have to be applied to people other than themselves.

Again: Ugh.

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Kids Christmas present no-nos: Keys to the car, shot of whiskey or electronic device

I usually don’t enjoy shopping, but I have to say that it is fun to shop for Christmas presents for my kiddos. They’re at an age when they think everything under the sun is marvelous. The wrapping is amazing, the toy is wonderful and the box it came in is super fun, too!

Recently I got an interesting email from the Environmental Health Trust warning parents not to buy electronics for their kids. I’ll refrain from comment and just share the message, below:

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Santa Claus is coming to town – downtown Missoula, that is

It’s that time of year again, when Santas start popping up everywhere you look.

Santa will be at the Florence Hotel in downtown Missoula this Saturday, Dec. 7 starting at 1 p.m., ready and willing to hear children’s gift wishes and pose for photos with them.

But his appearance will be only one of more than 20 family-friendly activities available in downtown Missoula this Saturday, including the 11th annual Parade of Lights. The parade will launch at 6 p.m. from the corner of Fourth and Higgins and head north to the red XXXXs. The Christmas tree lighting is planned for 6:30 p.m. As usual, there will be free coffee, cocoa and cookies! As well as public performances by various groups.

The Missoula Downtown Association sent the following schedule of events and list of sponsors to help you plan a fun winter weekend and express thanks to the appropriate folks for it:

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10 acts of kindness

Lately I’ve been focusing on helping my two children get along with each other better. They have a pretty typical sibling dynamic going on, as far as I can see. They love each other, and they prefer each other’s company most of the time. But they also compete for my attention and get on each other’s nerves.

So in an effort to draw their attention more toward the positive behaviors in their sibling relationship, I made a chart. Every time I catch one of them being particularly kind to the other, I write it down. When we get to 10, we all go do something super-special as a family – and they get to decide, together, what that will be.

There’s no time limit or time frame. I’ve lost track of how many times they’ve filled up 10 slots on the chart, but I know they keep track. They’ve gone weeks without me filling in a single line, and then they’ve poured out 10 acts of kindness toward each other in a matter of days.

Most recently, Willow used her own money at the grocery store to surprise Landon with two Hot Wheels cars on Thanksgiving. It was her own idea, start to finish; her way of expressing gratitude for her brother. Of course I wrote it down on the chart, and what do you know but that brought us to 10 acts of kindness.

The kids picked going to a movie, so we all went and saw “Frozen” the day after Thanksgiving. It was probably the highlight of our entire weekend – which was a highlight in and of itself.

I can hardly wait to start a new chart.

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Thanksgiving Day plans go ’round and ’round

That’s right! A Carousel for Missoula is OPEN on Thanksgiving! And from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., rides are free for everyone!


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Make Children’s Museum part of post Turkey Day plans PLUS a great gift idea for kids: all-day pass to Museum, Carousel

There’s no school on Thanksgiving, or the day after. Thanksgiving Day might be taken care of, but what to do with the kids on Friday?

Well, the Children’s Museum will be hosting a holiday open house, with free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. That’s one idea, and thanks go to the Plum Creek Foundation for making it possible.

Another reason to stop by the Children’s Museum might be to pick up an all day pass or two for the little ones on your holiday shopping list.

Both the Children’s Museum and A Carousel for Missoula are offering the Play All Day Pass, which comes in the form of a $7 wristband. It gets the wearer unlimited rides on the carousel for one day plus admission to the museum.

The carousel and the Children’s Museum are located just across a parking lot from each other, so the pairing makes sense on a number of levels. You can buy the passes at either venue.

“Kids love the carousel and they love the museum!” Children’s Museum manager Heidi Kendall said. “Since we’re so close together in downtown Missoula, we thought it would be a great way to make it extra easy for families to enjoy both attractions at once! Happy holidays, Missoula!”


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Time to get creative for Kids’ Holiday Drawing Contest

The kids and I are big on making our own Christmas presents each year. It’s fun, it’s thrifty and it’s a great way to spend time together – which is what the holidays are all about, right?

We have a rule that we absolutely cannot start any Christmas projects until after Thanksgiving. But we can still collect lots of great ideas. Oh yes we can.

And of course we’ll be making our own Christmas cards.

If your kids make their own cards too, you might encourage them to send one in to the Missoulian for the annual Holiday Drawing Contest. The Missoulian sponsors it, and publishes the top 25 submissions in the newspaper. The grand prize winner will become the 2014 holiday card for Youth Homes, Inc.


That’s a pretty good reason to participate. Another good reason to send that art in is that the first-place winners in each of two age groups will win $25. Which you could use to buy even more card stock, envelopes and glitter.

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An inspiring time to get started on MLK contest entries

On Tuesday, it was the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. On Friday, it will be the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy Jr.

Both of these events can be difficult things to talk about with kids. It helps that we have the soaring words of great leaders to guide the way.

Which makes me long for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, still months away. There’s a day to celebrate the ability of words to guide us through difficult times!

Western Montana’s young ones can start celebrating – and learning – today, if they wish, in preparation for the Missoulian’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. writing and art contest.

Each year, children from preschool age through 12th grade are welcome to participate in the contest by responding to a particular quote or theme from MLK. The theme for 2014 is “Keep Moving Forward” and the quote is “If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But my all means, keep moving.”

The deadline is for submitting original drawings, paintings or other artwork is Jan. 6, which is still plenty of weeks away.

But if you’re looking for a great seque between then and now, I think this particular week offers plenty of inspiration.

Here’s more information from the article:

Winners in grade categories pre-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12 will receive cash prizes in the written and art categories. Selected winning entries will be featured in the Missoulian.

Send entries to MLK Essay/Art Contest, Missoulian, P.O. Box 8029, Missoula, MT 59807.

The contest is sponsored by the Missoulian, MLK Day Planning Committee, NCBI Missoula and University of Montana Excellence Fund. Contact Debby Florence at 541-6891 or with questions.

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