Yes, it's only February, but now is the time to start thinking about summer camp options for your kiddos, especially since many camps offer an early bird discount! At Stapleton Family Karate, they're offering three different summer camps this year for your little Ninjas, Jedis, and Nerf warriors, and Stapleton Moms readers can get 10% OFF if you sign up for camp before February 28th. [ read more ]
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Early Bird Summer Camp Special from Stapleton Family Karate

[ Tuesday, February 20, 2018 | 0 comments ]

Yes, it's only February, but now is the time to start thinking about summer camp options for your kiddos, especially since many camps offer an early bird discount!

At Stapleton Family Karate, they're offering three different summer camps this year for your little Ninjas, Jedis, and Nerf warriors. Stapleton Moms readers can get 10% OFF if you sign up for camp before Wednesday, February 28th, 2018. Email to reserve your spot - all camps are held at Stapleton Family Karate, 8270 East Northfield Blvd, Denver, CO, 80238.

Here's additional information about each camp:

1.  Ninja Camp 

First, your child will learn how to walk, sneak, hide, and move like a ninja! Second, your child will learn how to use ninja stars (rubber ones), a ninja blow gun (with plastic darts), and how to use a ninja sword while fighting off the samurai!

This camp is every child’s dream camp and is guaranteed to be a HUGE hit this summer.

Includes:  1 Ninja utility belt, 5 Ninja stars, 1 blow gun, 25 safety darts, and 1 rubber Ninja knife ($40 value).

Ages:  4 years old and up

Dates:  June 18-22

Times:  10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily

Pricing:  $249 per camper includes the whole week of camp ($100 NON-REFUNDABLE deposit to hold your spot with the rest due first day of camp)

2.  Jedi Camp 

Your child will learn the skills of a Jedi Padawan with a week of Lightsaber training, Jedi battles, Martial Arts, and life skill lessons. They will get to pick their very own training lightsaber choosing from Red, Green, or Blue sabers which they will get to keep after the camp. Most importantly, throughout this week we will teach them the true skills of a Jedi are using Respect, Discipline, Focus, and Confidence.

This will be one of their favorite camps this summer guaranteed!

Includes:  1 high-quality safety sparring lightsaber ($100 Value)

Ages:  4 years old and up

Dates:  July 30-August 3

Times: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily

Pricing: $275 per camper includes the whole week of camp ($100 NON-REFUNDABLE deposit to hold your spot with the rest due first day of camp)

3.  Battle Camp

Does your child love playing Nerf Guns with their friends? If so, we have the camp for you! The 2018 Battle Camp will be a week of team training, team challenges, obstacle courses, and battles with Nerf Guns.

A Nerf Gun will be provided for use the week of camp or campers are welcome to bring their own.

This camp will be about making new friends and having a lot of fun!

Ages:  6 years old and up

Dates:  August 6-10

Times:  10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily

Pricing:  $249 per camper includes the whole week of camp ($100 NON-REFUNDABLE deposit to hold your spot with the rest due first day of camp)

Again, Stapleton Moms readers can get 10% OFF if you sign up for camps before Wednesday, February 28th, 2018. Email to reserve your spot!

All camps are held at Stapleton Family Karate, 8270 East Northfield Blvd, Denver, CO, 80238. Food is not included - campers need to bring a sack lunch with a snack or two to each day of camp. Read the full story »
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Why Valentine's Day Matters to Moms

[ Wednesday, February 7, 2018 | 0 comments ]
Guest post by Liz Oertle

My husband is awesome. Nobody would argue with that. He is handsome, intelligent, hard-working and strong (as in, “can bench press a baby elephant” strong). He’s an amazing father and works tirelessly to make sure our girls have every experience any girl – or boy – could want in a well-rounded upbringing. And needless to say, it takes a special kind of awesome to tolerate the startup lifestyle that has taken center stage in our house – and, for a while there, our dining room – for the past two years.

But he never did go in for Hallmark holidays or obligatory displays of romantic affection like Valentine’s Day. He thought of them as insincere and contrived – and to tell the truth, so did I.

Until one day I didn’t.

It was the first Valentine’s Day after my daughter was born. I had been back at work only a few weeks, and things were still a little touch-and-go at home. I knew my daughter was in great hands – my mom had flown out to take care of her for the two months between when I started back at work and my daughter’s start date at daycare. But getting home exhausted every day and arriving just in time for the “witching hour” guaranteed that every day would end on the edge (sometimes over the edge) of a colossal meltdown by someone (usually me).

So, Valentine’s Day came and went, without any fanfare. My husband and I had been together six years and had never celebrated it before – why would we now? Reasonable, right? Well, as much as I may understand that assumption in retrospect, somehow the logic escaped me in the moment, and I spent the night of February 14 in a furious tirade – some of my rage even having to do with Valentine’s Day.

To avoid others having to endure what my well-meaning-albeit-sometimes-hapless husband went through that night, I will endeavor to decode why Valentine’s Day matters to moms – maybe even more than it did when we were romantic young girls with un-elasticized abdomens.

First, let’s face it, before we had kids, pretty much every day was Valentine’s Day – or could be, if the mood struck. A romantic night out (or in) was just a decision away. As we all know, when you have young kids, first against the wall is your ability to be spontaneous – ever. (That, in part, is why we invented Nanno, but that’s a story for another time.) Valentine’s Day is at the same time every year. It may be a little contrived, but it definitely doesn’t require spontaneity to get something on the calendar.

Which may be why we tend to notice it more if our significant others let these obvious opportunities to show love and affection slip away uncelebrated. It’s precisely because we (understandably) don’t do it every day that we tend to notice the fanfare surrounding the holiday. What may have seemed unnecessary before now takes on a whole new level of importance.

Speaking of things that don’t happen every day, another rarity when you’re married – and especially when you’re married with children – is anyone paying romantic attention to you. This obviously applies to everyone, not just moms, but I can tell you that I have been a frequent visitor to the barren land on the farthest side of feeling attractive, and it usually involves a pronounced deprivation of personal hygiene combined with being covered by the bodily effluence of a miniature human. In such cases, even the romantic notion of an uninterrupted 15-minute shower might be a satisfying homage to the holiday. Sexual validation is necessary for everyone – even moms – and believe me when I tell you it’s a rare commodity when you’re a busy parent of young kids.

Moms with young babies probably have it the worst. The physical aftereffects of childbirth and breastfeeding are often still with us (to the casual onlooker, sure, but even more so to us), and meanwhile, the object of our motherly affection – the one thing that is supposed to make the whole thing worthwhile – is literally incapable of returning any form of affection whatsoever. Yes, it all pays off when, after only a few short months, the baby can start focusing on objects in front of his or her face and maybe even smiling a little, but in those early days, there is no affection coming back the other way from that mother-child bond.

At the end of the day, Valentine’s Day is a holiday to celebrate, coincidentally, everything we voluntarily give up to become moms: free time, spontaneous affection, and validation. I’m the last person to complain about the cost of this tradeoff. Maybe it’s because, as my kids get older (and I have reliable access to on-demand childcare ☺), the cost has diminished somewhat. I definitely know I got the benefit of the bargain when it comes to having kids.

But that doesn’t mean that once (or even twice) a year I don’t enjoy indulging in the fantasy that I can have those things back – even if only for the night.

Liz Oertle is the CEO and co-founder of on-demand childcare app Nanno. A recovering attorney, she is passionate about helping parents (especially moms) avoid the glass ceiling effect by connecting them with last-minute childcare when they need it most. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two daughters. 

Liz would love readers of Stapleton Moms to try Nanno! Use discount code NANNOSTAPLETON for a 20% discount through March 15, 2018. Read the full story »
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Free screening of Screenagers this Thursday, February 1

[ Monday, January 29, 2018 | 0 comments ]
As parents, it's hard to know what to do with technology where our kids are concerned. At what age should I let my kids have a cell phone? Should they take it to school? How much video game time is too much? Is it safe for my kids to be on social media? When should I be concerned and what's normal? These are issues we didn't have growing up and that our parents certainly didn't have to tackle.

Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age is a 67-minute award-winning documentary that addresses some of these questions. The film probes into the vulnerable corners of family life and depicts messy struggles over social media, cell phones, video games, and academics, and offers solutions on how we can help our kids navigate the digital world.

What:  Screenagers special screening
When:  Thursday, February 1 at 6:00 p.m.
Where:  Denver Language School's East Campus, 451 Newport Street, Denver, CO 80220
Tickets:  FREE (donations accepted), register here to attend as seating is limited
Age recommendation:  10+

If that date/time doesn't work for you but you'd still like to see the movie, find a different screening here.

Check out the trailer:

Read the full story »
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Curious about the Curious Theatre? Check out Detroit '67!

[ Monday, January 22, 2018 | 0 comments ]
Are you ready for Motown, family, and feeling?

In the sizzling summer of '67, Motown was breaking records and breaking down barriers. Detroit '67 explores a moment in history rife with police brutality, immense racial divide, and a powder keg of emotions, through the eyes of one family.

Siblings Chelle and Lank make ends meet by running an unlicensed bar in their Detroit basement, a risky business as police crack down on after-hours joints in black neighborhoods. When Lank offers shelter to an injured white woman, tensions escalate both in their home and in the community -- and they find themselves caught in the middle of the violent uprising.

Tickets are selling fast for the Rocky Mountain regional premiere of the work of Dominque Morisseau, a writer who is on fire for theatre and for social justice. You won't want to miss this chance to see her work and the performances of an amazing cast featuring Curious company members Jada Suzanne Dixon and Cajardo Lindsey under the direction of hip-hop artist, writer, and educator Idris Goodman (who is making his debut at the Curious). Check out the video below for more about the play.

Musical and Moving.

Emotional and Explosive.

Raw and Real.

What:  Detroit '67
When:  January 13-February 24, 2018
Where:  Curious Theatre, 1080 Acoma St, Denver, CO 80204
Tickets:  $20-30 - available at

Read the full story »
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Shout Out to Stapleton Family Karate (and a free trial!)

[ Saturday, January 13, 2018 | 0 comments ]
Guest post by Mindee Forman - make sure to check the bottom of the post for a special offer for returning and new families

I thought about putting my kids in martial arts for a long time. Everything I heard said it was a fantastic activity for kids, but I never took the initiative to look into it. When a friend of my daughter's had a ninja birthday party at Stapleton Family Karate, we were impressed. We scheduled a free trial lesson for our kids - Claire, then age 9, and Sean, then age 4.

Day one
At the trial lesson, they asked us what we would like to accomplish through martial arts. Better attitude? Respect? Focus? Discipline? Personal safety? Better grades? Physical fitness? Confidence? Yes, please to all of the above... The kids enjoyed the trial lesson, so we decided to give it a try.

Their first two classes were marked by lots of giant smiles - they were both hooked (Claire thought the first day was challenging, but was hooked after that). We had tried dance classes for Claire, but she was unenthusiastic at best. Taekwondo, she loved. It turned out she has a competitive streak, so she likes the opportunity to compete against and outperform kids of higher ranks. Within her first month, she was leading the class and could count to ten in Korean (see video below). Sean just loved the running, kicking, jumping, punching - all of it - and is still rarely without a huge smile.

We started with Stapleton Family Karate (which actually teaches taekwondo) in early September of last year. In just under a year and a half, Claire is about to test for her high brown belt (advanced) and Sean is about to test for his green belt (intermediate). Younger kids advance a half-belt rank at a time, so even though they started at the same time, Claire advanced twice as fast.

Classes are split by age (Little Dragons: 4-6, Karate Kids: 7-11, and teens/adults), and the kids' classes are split by level (basic-intermediate-advanced) so that younger students are in a group with age peers of their same level and don't feel lost or overwhelmed. Teen and adult classes have all levels together so they can help and encourage one another.

Things my family loves about SFK:

Before SFK, in an all-too-
frequent rough moment
1. We were really struggling with attitude, focus, and respect in our house. Initially, both kids behaved well in taekwondo class but would still act up at home. After about eight months, the skills and attitude became internalized and we noticed a huge difference outside of class, too.

Both kids are now better listeners, more respectful both in and outside the house, and are more focused. Family even noticed a big difference during the holidays. That's not to say that they still don't have issues (they're 10 and 5), but we have the tools and vocabulary as a family to work through them faster and better, and issues are less frequent these days. I can say, "Are you using your integrity?" and they instantly know what that means and how to adjust their behavior.

2. Both kids have made good friends in their taekwondo classes. As a parent, it's nice for me to watch them build friendships with other kids who have the same tools and values (and it sure makes playdates easier).

3. Taekwondo builds them both physically and mentally. They get a great workout and are building their minds at the same time.

Claire breaking free from a "stranger"
during belt testing
4. They learn to deal with strangers and bullies. At the beginning and intermediate levels, all students learn and are tested on what how to handle a bully situation, the different types of strangers, and what to do if a stranger grabs them. This gives me tons of peace of mind as a parent, especially since Claire is on the smaller side and won't be a large adult.

Sean competing in his second tournament with his bully self-defense skills

Claire testing for her blue belt -
note the stripes (and check out that focus!)
5. It teaches the kids goal setting. They can't automatically test for the next belt level - they have to earn stripes proving they know their stuff. Stripes are for their form, bully self-defense, stranger danger, and, later, sparring and board breaking. Claire's goal is to be a black belt by the 6th grade, which we love.

6. They have a flexible schedule. The kids each attend class twice a week, but we get to pick the days and times that work best for us from four to five different options Monday through Saturday. They also hold regular Parents' Night Out evenings, which the kids love and give us a date night (yeah!).

Sean showing his form
at his third tournament
7. Right from the start, the kids began competing in tournaments, which gives them confidence when performing and teaches them healthy competition.

8. My kids are learning skills that will help them in every aspect of their lives for the rest of their lives. The importance of physical fitness. Confidence. Integrity. Goal-setting. Discipline. Focus. Respect - both self-respect and respect for others. Perseverance. Teamwork. The world would be a very different place if we all learned these skills as children... My teenage years were difficult, and I hope my kids' will be better having these tools at hand.

9. Stapleton Family Karate is not only family-owned but has an enormous focus on families. When we walk in we're greeted by name. All the teachers and staff make it a priority to learn each student's name (and they have around 350!) and use it in class. The teachers are kind, encouraging, and have high expectations for their students, which really makes the kids step up their behavior and performance. The kids adore their teachers and want to perform well for them. All I have to say at home is, "What would Mr. Martin say?" and a poor choice instantly becomes a better one.

The Martins: Isaac, Jeremiah, and Micah and Erin with their kids

Highlights of the program for my kids:

1. At her first belt testing, Claire asked if she could perform her form on her own (it was instructor-led at the time). The instructors were so impressed, they asked her to do it again on her own in front of all the testers, parents, and instructors, and said they would be moving to having the Karate Kids (ages 7-11) memorize their forms for testings. Almost a year and a half later, this is still her favorite moment.

2. Winning medals at tournaments. Karate Kids win actual 1st-2nd-3rd medals (there's also an "awesome competitor" medal for being brave and putting it out there). Little Dragons win 1st-place medals based on something they excelled at during the tournament. Sean has won "Best Black-Belt Attitude" at two different tournaments now, which makes Mom and Dad happy.

3. Ninja camp! Both kids went to a week-long Ninja camp last summer at SFK and really enjoyed honing their ninja skills. They came home with "actual" ninja gear in a cool utility belt that they still use regularly.
4. Before the holidays there was a series of special, optional, XMA (Extreme Martial Arts) classes. The kids were only going to participate in two of the three classes, but the third was using a bo staff (a.k.a. long staff), which they were both really excited about. They agreed to each buy the staff and pay for the class out of their allowance savings. Now they take the regular weapons class on Saturdays (open to anyone and no extra charge) and are excited to try nunchucks next.

Our Kids After SFK

 Focus and Respect!

Integrity and Discipline!

Self-Defense and Safe Competition!

Confidence and Physical Fitness!

We love Stapleton Family Karate and plan to be there for a long time!

More About the School, An Apology, and An Offer

The founder and owner, Micah Martin, is a fourth-degree black belt and is also the lead instructor at SFK. His wife, Erin, is also an instructor, as are his two brothers, Jeremiah and Isaac (see pic above). There have been a few different head instructors since we first started with the school, but Micah and Erin moved to Stapleton recently to take over the school full-time (they have two other locations in Superior and Broomfield under the name Venture Martial Arts - in 2018, Stapleton Family Karate will rebrand and also be known as Venture Martial Arts.) They were less involved with the schools while they built their family (they have three adorable kids ages 4, 2, and 6 months who are regular fixtures at the school), but now they're back and all-in at the Stapleton school.

I talked to Micah, and he regrets the staff issues and changes and wanted to reach out to former and potential SFK families:

We want to apologize to the community for the staffing changes that have happened over the last two years and let everyone know that we are back and committed to making Stapleton Family Karate a real treasure within in the Stapleton community.

We would like to invite everyone who was once part of our program or who would like to give it a try to come to classes for four weeks on us and let us earn the right to make an impact on your child’s life. 

We also want to thank all of the families who have supported us over the years and let you know that we are here to stay. We look forward to improving the lives of children right here in the Stapleton community for many years to come.

To take them up on their offer of four weeks of free classes, call 303-928-0043 or email Learn more at or visit them in the Shops at Northfield at 8270 Northfield Blvd. #1450, Denver, CO 80238.

Guest post by Mindee Forman

Mindee is a proud taekwondo mom, freelance writer, editor, web designer, and social media consultant. She lives in Denver with her husband, two kids, and two crazy cats.
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