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How to enjoy a supersized February.

by | February 2nd, 2016

Cold, snowy February may seem like the one month you’d prefer less of, not more, but this year it comes with one extra day. 2016 is a leap year, which means it’s the year made for ladies proposing to gents, according to Irish tradition. And for newborn “leaplings,” who beat the 1,471-to-one odds of being born on Feb. 29.  And for everyone in BackCountry who could use an extra day to fulfill that January resolution to have more fun. Enjoy the February activity ideas below.

Mardi Gras in Snowmass-Feb. 9
Can’t squeeze in a trip to New Orleans this month? That’s okay—Snowmass has been throwing the biggest Mardi Gras bash in the mountains for 34 years. With face painting and performers at 2pm, bead tossing at 3pm, a madcap parade at 4pm, and fireworks at 7:30pm, you may feel as if you’re in the Crescent City itself. Except for all the epic skiing and snowboarding that you’ll be able to fit in, too. This authentic fête offers Cajun-inspired fun for every age. Learn more.

Lovers & Lattes at the Sundial House-Feb. 13, 7:30am-10am
It’s the month of love, and who among us doesn’t have warm, special feelings about…coffee? As a kickoff to Valentine’s Day weekend, BackCountry shows its love by offering residents a complimentary cup o’ joe at the Sundial House. Sinfully Delicious Mobile Gourmet Coffee Cart will whip up a delicious cup of your favorite beverage while you enjoy breakfast treats and coffeehouse jazz with your loved ones. No registration required.

Lovers and lattes BackCountryCO

Denver Pops Orchestra-Feb. 18, 7pm-8:30pm
In the perfect run-up to the Oscars on Feb. 28, the Denver Pops Orchestra is going to feature some of the best music written for the big screen. (And happily, this concert is close to BackCountry, at the Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch.) Sit back with popcorn and candy as you listen to epic music from movies like Titanic and Pirates of the Caribbean from composers such John Williams, James Horner, and Hans Zimmer. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 day of event if not sold out. Discounts for military, seniors and children. Learn more.

Geeks Who Drink Trivia Night-Feb. 26, 7pm
First trivia question: What is Geeks Who Drink? Check out their website for a full description, but the short answer is this: A Denver-based company that hosts highly entertaining bar trivia events created by dozens of quizmasters, writers, fact-checkers, graphic designers, and artists. Geeks Who
 Drink will be hosting 
the first- ever trivia night at BackCountry’s Sundial House, where neighbors will face-off
 and show each other their trivia chops. Bring your friends, neighbors, and thinking caps for an awesome night. Indulge at Pike’s Pub will be open for business throughout the event. Snacks will be provided. RSVP through ActiveNet by Friday, February 19. Participants must be 21+.

Leap Day!- February 29
What will you do with this extra day? It’s a Monday, but don’t let that stop you from adding in a little something special for you (Dinner out? Calming yoga class or massage?) or the family. Check out these ideas for 29 fun things to do on Leap Day. 

For example, have your kids write letters to themselves they’ll open on Leap Day in four years. Try your hand at frog origami. Or tackle a household project that you only want to do every four years—say, organizing the basement.

leap day activities

BackCountry’s Princess and Superheros

by | January 26th, 2016

The Princesses and Superheroes of BackCountry met with Batman and Princess Elsa for an afternoon celebration at the Sundial House.

More fun: The best resolution ever.

by | December 30th, 2015

Lose weight. Save money. De-clutter. Yawn. How about a resolution with some real shelf life? “Have more fun this year” is a resolution we can all rally behind, and long past February. (Make your other resolutions, of course, but a few rewards along the way may help you keep them.) Besides skiing and snowboarding, fun activities are a little trickier to find in January—so here are a few suggestions to kick off your happiest year yet.

Winter Cultural Series: Arias and Ensembles-Jan 7, 7pm-8:30pm
Opera Colorado is coming to you, featuring a delightful evening of operatic and musical theater performances at Cherry Hills Community Church, just 10 minutes from BackCountry. Selections will be performed by Opera Colorado’s Young Artists—a talented crew of emerging professional opera singers—just as they would be on stage but without sets and costumes, creating an intimate and engaging experience. Tickets $7-15. Learn more about this and upcoming events in the series.

Highlands Ranch January events

Comedy Night at the Sundial House-Jan. 9, 7pm
What do you get when you cross a bouncer for the Rolling Stones, a veterinarian, and a professional stand-up comic? Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, a true Renaissance man, who mines his well-rounded life for lots of laughs. Performing for BackCountry residents at the Sundial House, Dr. Fitzgerald has opened for performers such as Bob Hope, Diana Ross, The Temptations, and The Neville Brothers. And yet he still maintains a busy practice at Alameda East Veterinary Hospital in Denver. All ages, $25 per guest. Space limited to the first 65 residents. Register online through ActiveNet or at the Sundial House by Monday, January 4th.

National Western Stock Show & Rodeo-Jan. 9-24
Denver may be getting more uber-hip by the minute, but the Stock Show is our annual check-in with our rugged Western heritage—which is pretty cool, too. This 16-day show is a smorgasbord of entertainment and learning opportunities. Choose from rodeos (traditional, Mexican, and African-American), a BBQ Throwdown, Catch-a-Calf contest, fiddle contest, horse shows, livestock exhibitions, and much more. Ticket prices vary.  Learn more.

Princess & Superhero Party-Jan 21, 4pm-5pm
Residents! Hold onto your cape (or tiara): Batman and Princess Elsa are coming to the Sundial House. Which gives your kids the perfect excuse to dress up (again) in their favorite princess and superhero garb. Join us for afterschool snacks and fun, but be sure to RSVP by Friday, January 15 at www.BackCountryLife.org. Open to the first 40 kids who sign up. See a video of last year’s event here.

BackCountry Rapunzel and Spiderman

Southwest Rink at Skyline-through Feb. 16
Free ice skating is a wonderful way to enjoy the season—and maybe assist in another couple of resolutions too. At Skyline Park in downtown Denver, this seasonal outdoor rink invites you to skate, play broomball, and enjoy other activities like face painting, holiday movies, a photo booth, and hot cocoa. Skating is free; rent skates for $2 or bring your own. Free learn-to-skate lessons are offered every Wednesday from 11 am-12 pm and every Saturday 8 am-10 am. Learn more.

When Christmas is a wrap, where do you put it?

by | December 22nd, 2015

When it comes to the holidays—like so many things in life—the build-up is so much more fun than the take-down. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah at your BackCountry home, chances are there’s some stowing away in your immediate future. Below are a few ideas to help streamline the process and make next year’s holiday set-up even easier. Cue the holiday music and eggnog one last time.

Holiday lights are the nemesis of many otherwise happy revelers. It seems as if they spend their off-season wriggling themselves into nasty knots. The solution? Wrap them neatly around sheets of cardboard before tucking them away. Or around a coffee can, poking the plug into the can through an ‘X’ cut into the plastic top. When it comes to those heavy-duty exterior holiday lights, keep them on a portable hose reel. The wheels and handle make them easy to maneuver around the yard while you decorate.

christmas light storage

Ornaments can be especially fragile (and chock-full of priceless memories), so storage that prevents jostling is crucial. Try an egg carton or apple box for your smaller round ornaments. Slip the larger flat ornaments into your stockings.

Real Christmas trees are (mercifully) tossed, but artificial trees occupy space in your basement all year long. Familyhandyman.com suggests sliding them neatly into sleek, 8” diameter concrete form tubes. So smart.

Décor, like wreaths, ribbons, and candles, needs a little creative TLC. While you can purchase specialty wreath boxes at places like the Container Storeyou can tackle that one for free. Slip the wreath over the neck of a coat hanger, then cover with a plastic dry cleaning bag to prevent a year’s worth of dust build-up. The same is true for larger items, such as a menorah or those awkwardly sized lawn reindeer—just save the dry cleaning bags or garment bags from your new suits and dresses.

Keep your big fancy bows from getting crimped by plumping out the loops with cardboard tubes wrapped in paper towels. You can use more of those paper towel tubes for storing slim candles or knee-high stockings for their larger counterparts.

Post-holiday sales can be a great opportunity to stock up on half-price gift wrap and bags. But where to keep them all—preferably uncrushed? One simple idea is to stash your gift wrap rolls in a nice-looking trash bin like this one. Or store them behind a wire closet shelf installed sideways behind a door jamb. Try hanging your gift bags from hooks on a tension rod in some out-of-the-way nook. This will keep them pristine and easy to choose from.

christmas wrapping storage tips

And if you want to take wrapping organization to a whole new, Martha Stewart-like level, watch her short video on how to create a “wrap and ship station.” It’s just as wonderfully persnickety as you imagine.

Lastly, some overall tips from Real Simple magazine. Label and color-code your boxes—think blue lids for Hanukkah and orange for Halloween. Have an “open first” label for the boxed essentials you need to kick off each holiday. Consider keeping a detailed content list for each box on your computer. And give yourself permission to toss or give away those items that never make it out of the box, year after year. After all, less stuff to put away means more time for more important things. Like eggnog. And sharing it with the people you love.

BackCountry’s Cookies with Santa

by | December 16th, 2015

BackCountry’s children enjoyed a special visit from Santa at the Sundial House.

Surviving the Holidays 101

by | December 14th, 2015

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Right? Right??? That’s what we all hope for, but sometimes the reality of gift-giving, shopping, entertaining, traveling, and hyper-inflated expectations can lead to major stress. And feeling stressed can, well, add to the stress of what’s supposed to be such a joyful time.

Sometimes all we need is a little attitude adjustment. For BackCountry residents, serenity is as close as the Sundial House, where all can indulge in some healthy me-time. Work out solo in the fitness room, or take advantage of small group or individual training (email wildirisrecreation@comcast.net or call Kim at 303-909-7977 for details). Or, perhaps a deep tissue massage is in order, in one of the Sundial House treatment rooms. (For appointments, contact Jodi Holmes at 303-908-2717 or Karen Hanna at 303-523-9781.)

massages at BackCountryCO

We also invite you to call upon the collective wisdom of the Shea Homes Surviving the Holidays Pinterest board. Here are some highlights:

Let’s start with a few general ideas for calming. These 10 ways to instantly de-stress will remind you to chill in your spare moments by perhaps sipping a mug of green tea for its theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation. Or by lighting a lavender candle before bedtime, which is proven to aid in drowsiness.

And speaking of sleep, consider stretching before you turn out the light. Here are some specific stretch techniquesincluding 10 yoga poses you can do in bed, plus some hip-opening stretches perfect for those of us who sit in an office all day.

Being sick during the holidays is the worst. So ward off trouble with these five tips for staying healthy, including drinking lots of water to counteract all the dehydrating schnapps and spiked eggnog. Also, try scheduling your workout before your parties (after putting in all that hard work, you’ll be less inclined to overindulge.)

The holidays can be stressful financially, too. Counteract all the spending with these suggestions for cutting costs. Taking advantage of seasonal sales at the grocery store is just one example.

holiday entertaining roast chicken

Entertaining can bring its own set of challenges, from planning guest lists and menus to making sure you have enough stemware. These dinner party tips include the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for Perfect Roast Chicken along with suggestions for wine glasses, party games, and more. And should your guests stay for the weekend, here are eight ideas for keeping everyone happy.

With all the activities and busyness, kids can pick up on the stressful vibe. Slow down and try meditating with your kids with these step-by-step instructions for getting zen. If your children tend to get frazzled by the sensory overload of the season, check out these coping mechanisms. And finally, if you’re traveling with little ones, you’re entitled to call in for reinforcements. These tips for traveling on airplanes with kids suggest 20 travel activities and a bag of surprises to keep them engaged, as well as bringing along a pair of pajamas to induce sleepiness.

Why the best parties happen at BackCountry.

by | December 9th, 2015

Some might say BackCountry’s festive streak is simply a function of the fun, friendly people who tend to move there. Or the very active HOA that’s always cooking up special events to help neighbors get to know each other. All true, but there’s another factor involved: BackCountry offers perfect places for entertaining, both at the Sundial House and in residents’ own homes.

The Sundial House is an award-winning gathering place where residents not only meet for community events, but can host private parties. Several venues provide superb backdrops for gatherings large and small. In more temperate months, cocktails around the courtyard fire pit, looking out over thousands of acres of wilderness, makes for a pretty memorable get-together. You could also host a Broncos watch party at Pikes Pub and Lounge or a lively, interactive dinner party in the demonstration kitchen and dining room. The community room is large enough for a wedding, but with intimate conversation areas perfect for smaller gatherings. (Residents, find more information about reserving the Sundial House at www.backcountrylife.org or contact John Lyon at 303-346-2800 or jlyon@ccmcnet.com.)

That said, BackCountry homeowners have some amazing places to entertain right in their own homes. Visit any of the model homes and you may find yourself dreaming up the guest list for your housewarming party. Every Shea home is designed for great entertaining, both indoors and out, since the great outdoors is so breathtaking in BackCountry.

Within the Shadow Walk Collectionthe Somerset plan is made for entertaining. Guests can easily mingle in thoughtfully connected spaces, such as the formal dining room, morning room, great room, and this kitchen, with a rounded island and breakfast bar. 

BackCountryCO kitchen new home

A grand vaulted entrance welcomes guests to the Northern Sky model in the Water Dance Collection.

BackCountryCO foyer new home

Once the party gets going, everyone will find themselves gravitating toward this gourmet kitchen, where the spacious morning room easily seats eight and extends out into a covered outdoor dining terrace. The formal dining room and butler’s pantry complete the space, which is perfect for your more traditional holiday gatherings.

Kitchen and morning room

Also within the Water Dance Collection, the Solstice model offers a special twist for get-togethers. A spacious hearth room connects to the great room, kitchen, and dining area. With a dramatic fireplace as its focal point, the hearth room is an inviting place to break off from the crowd for an intimate conversation.

Hearth Room Art Lights BackCountryCO

BackCountry Colorado new home Overall

Those looking for ranch homes and low-maintenance living (more time for parties!) should peek into the Alize model in the Whispering Wind Collection

This plan has a large great room with fireplace and a morning room that accesses a covered dining terrace, which is perfect for Sunday brunch with friends. Evening might inspire parties downstairs in the finished basement that comes standard—a perfect place to share movies and popcorn or a game of pool.

Alize Basement

Parties at the Sundial House, parties at home…BackCountry offers several places to entertain guests. Discover your own party headquarters here.

BackCountry’s Thanksgiving Craft and Snack

by | December 7th, 2015

The children of BackCountry enjoyed making an after school Thanksgiving craft at the Sundial House.

The family that plays together…

by | December 3rd, 2015

It’s true. Nothing brings a family closer than an impromptu pillow fight, game of hide-and-seek, or a side-splitting round of Apples to Apples. Happily, December holidays give us more time for the blissfully nonproductive, unrushed moments that we all crave. Whether your family’s traditions tend toward baking cookies or shredding moguls together, we’d like to suggest a few more fun activities, ranging from downtown to right here in BackCountry.

9News Parade of Lights-Dec. 4 at 8pm and Dec. 5 at 6pm
Scrooge himself couldn’t resist cheering on the festive floats at Denver’s most classic holiday tradition. In its 41st year, the Parade of Lights winds its way through two miles of Downtown Denver streets, starting at the City & County Building. This free holiday spectacular features marching bands, ornate floats, and a special appearance by Major Waddles the Penguin and Santa himself. Stake out your own spot or reserve limited grandstand seating for $16-19 here or call 866-461-6556. Learn more.

parade of lights

Hanukkah Begins-Sunday, Dec. 6 (sundown)
The large, active Jewish community in the metro area is bursting with ideas for celebrating the eight days of Hanukkah. Bring your family to a yummy Latke Taste-Off at Temple Micah on Dec. 5. The wondrous Festival of Lights (this year in Boulder), presented by the Colorado Hebrew Chorale, is on Dec. 6. And a heartwarming community Menorah Lighting is coming up on Dec. 9.

Cookies with Santa-Dec. 12, 9am-1pm
Holiday headliners are coming to the Sundial House: Santa, Mrs. Claus, and an elfin sidekick too. At this annual tradition exclusive to BackCountry residents, children can share cookies and Christmas wishes with these holiday celebs. Don’t forget your letters for Santa, wish lists, and cameras. Cookies and refreshments will be provided by Royal Crest Dairy. To minimize wait time, residents whose last names begin with A-L are welcome from 9am-11am, while those with a last name beginning with M-Z should plan to come from 11am-1pm. RSVP by Friday, Dec. 4th at www.backcountrylife.org.

santa and cookies

A Christmas Story, The Musical-Dec. 16-27
If you already know about the leg lamp, frozen flagpole, and “you’ll shoot your eye out!” from the 1983 movie, you’re sure to enjoy the musical version, direct from Broadway. Nominated for three 2013 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, the play is set in 1940s Indiana, where a bespectacled boy named Ralphie has a big imagination and one desperate wish for Christmas: an official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot Range Model air rifle. At the Buell Theatre. Ages 4+. Tickets start at $25.

A Night in Vienna-Dec. 31
After all that family time, how about a New Year’s Eve for just the two of you? Sit back and enjoy a Viennese-style concert of polkas, waltzes, and marches performed by the Colorado Symphony at Boettcher Concert Hall. Afterwards, stroll hand in hand down to the 16th Street Mall for fireworks and still be home to BackCountry long before the clock strikes midnight. Tickets from $29-$89.

 

Picture Your Pet | Official Rules

by | November 30th, 2015

Shea-Picture Your PetPicture Your Pet | Official Rules

Pets are important family members and can brighten our lives and our homes. This holiday season, we want to honor your four-legged, feathered, and scaly friends! Snap and submit a photo of your pet for a chance to win one of our fabulous prizes. Full contest details are below.

  1. From November 30 to December 11, 2015, enter a photo of your pet by posting it to the Facebook page of http://facebook.com/BackCountryCO. These photos can be of your pet in action, looking cute, showing off, hanging out with the family… Get creative! Add a caption to tell us a little bit about your pet and the photo. Please don’t forget to include your pet’s name.
  2. Only one entry per Facebook profile is accepted.
  3. Submissions will be gathered into a Facebook photo album located at http://facebook.com/BackCountryCO, which will be published on or around December 12, 2015. Photos must be received by 8 p.m. MST on December 11 to qualify.
  4. Voting is open from the time the photo album goes live until December 17, 2015. Vote for your favorites and encourage other non-furry family members and friends to vote too. To vote, voters will simply like their favorite photo. Please note: Only one action per Facebook account is considered as a vote.
  5. The contest is open to anyone age 13 years or older (per Facebook’s user requirements). Interested parties must enter and vote through Facebook. You are not required to be a Shea homeowner to participate, you are not required to visit a community or attend a sales presentation, and no purchase or fee is necessary to enter. Entrants must be legal residents of the United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or U.S. territories and possessions. Void where prohibited. Employees of Shea Homes and its affiliates, and their immediate family members, are not eligible.
  6. By entering, entrants give permission for images to be used for marketing and promotion on social media platforms, on websites, and in e-newsletters.
  7. The photo with the most votes at the end of the voting period will receive a $100 gift card to Wag N’ Wash Highlands Ranch, photo with the second most votes will receive a $75 Wag N’ Wash Highlands Ranch gift card, and the photo with the third most votes will receive a $50 Wag N’ Wash Highlands Ranch gift card. Prizes are not redeemable for cash. This contest is in no way affiliated with or sponsored by Wag N’ Wash Highlands Ranch, the Denver Dumb Friends League, or Facebook.
  8. Winners will be notified on or around December 18, 2015, via Facebook. Prizes will be sent directly to the winners, at no cost to them. Delivery may take up to three weeks. Winners are responsible for taxes, if applicable.
  9. In addition to the prizes awarded during the Picture Your Pet contest, BackCountryCO will donate $1 to the Denver Dumb Friends League for each new page like received from November 30-December 17, 2015.

In entering the contest you subject yourself to the Contest Rules and are deemed to have reviewed, read and accepted the Rules.

We look forward to seeing your wonderful pets!

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