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May All Your Christmases Be “Strange”!

It’s finally upon us!  The moment we’ve all been waiting for since Thanksgiving!  The tree is trimmed, loved ones are near, shopping is done (mostly) and the little ones are eagerly awaiting Santa’s arrival.  Tradition and the holiday season always go hand in hand.  Does your grandma make the same cookies every year or does Dad make everyone line up together for the yearly “Santa hat” family photo?  Maybe your uncle passing out into a food coma after dinner has become part of the celebration?  Whatever they are, they’re special to the individuals that celebrate them!  The Strange Team took a minute to share some of their favorite yearly traditions in the video below:


Not only does The Strange Team partake in some odd traditions,
check out these other “Strange” Christmas customs from all over:

  • Although Christmas isn’t usually celebrated in Japan, the Japanese have embraced KFC has the traditional holiday dinner on December 25th
  • Rather than tinsel and ornaments, folks in the Ukraine decorate their trees with spider webs (albeit fake ones)
  • Forget the Holiday ham, in Greenland locals indulge in Kiviak which are whole cooked birds feathers, beak, skin and all!
  • Instead of Santa in Italy they have La Befana who is a witch that flies on a broom to deliever candy and toys
  • In Venezuela church goers roller skate to mass in the early morning hours


We hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday season!


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Featured Listing of the Week – Beautifully Updated and a Great Location!

2490 Prairie Ln Castle Rock CO-large-002-Exterior  Front-1500x999-72dpi MLS: #2493604

ADDRESS: 2490 Prairie Lane, Castle Rock, CO 80104    

PRICE: $364,000

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 3

Welcome home to this beautifully remolded residence in Castle Rock.  Located in The Woodlands community, this contemporary style house features an open floor plan, flooded with natural light and high ceilings.  The kitchen comes complete with updated appliances, granite counters and ample cabinet space.  The master bedroom located on the first floor has an attached five piece bathroom, master closet and private back deck.  Up the stairs is a spacious loft area with two additional bedrooms and bathroom.  The backyard has a huge wooden deck that backs up to a beautiful stone wall that offering privacy.  Conveniently located near restaurants and shopping, this home is certainly not to be missed!

2490 Prairie Ln Castle Rock CO-large-011-KitchenBreakfast Area-1500x999-72dpi 2490 Prairie Ln Castle Rock CO-large-013-Back View-1500x999-72dpi







For more information please contact Alan Strange


The Strange Team | Keller Williams Preferred Realty |

What is my home worth? | Search All Homes 

11859 Pecos St #200 | Westminster, CO 80234

Cell: 303.668.5208 Fax: 720.407.7270

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Buying or Selling? These Movers Can Help!

So you’ve purchased a new home?  Great!  What comes next can be considered stress inducing :



moving boxes

Fear not!  The Strange Team can recommend excellent, reliable, local movers to keep your move hassle free.

For example Bill Roberts with A. Alliance Moving and Storage is a trusted vendor of the Keller Williams family.  A. Alliance Moving in conjunction with Stevens Worldwide Van Lines work together to provide a customized moving plan and ensure a safe transition for you and your household belongings.

Not only does A. Alliance help you move, their professional movers can help get sellers ready to market their homes to sell quickly by safely stowing away extra belongings in a storage unit at their secure warehouse.  Right now they are offering 2 months of free storage with their De-Clutter program that includes 2 vaults of storage, two professional movers to handle the belongings, for only $399.

For more information or further tips to help make your move as painless as possible check out their website :

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Get all the Denver local High School Sports info right here!

It’s football time in Denver!  …and vollyball …and soccer …and cross country …and…

While Broncos fever might be on the minds of most Denver sports fans right now, let’s not forget about where the Pros are made. High School Fall Sports is alive and ready to get the season started!  Here’s a peak at what’s going on at the website.  Including all local sports schedules, trending stories, TV coverage and more.  Enjoy!

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Where to shop for Back to School

Where not to shop for back-to-school deals

Shop here, not there, for school supplies, clothes and more

By Catey Hill, MarketWatch


Customers shop for back-to-school supplies at a Target store in Colma, California.

Parents, prepare to fork over more cash for school supplies this year than last. And if you’re set on shopping at certain stores, you may pay even more.

According to data from the National Retail Federation , the average family with children in kindergarten through high school will spend $669.28 on back-to-school shopping, including classroom supplies, electronics and clothes this year, up roughly 5% from last year; the largest spending increases will be seen for electronics like laptops (up 7%) and school supplies (up 12%).

The retail federation says the increase in part is driven by broader economic improvements, which make consumers feel comfortable spending more. Another factor: Schools are increasingly asking parents to contribute to classroom supplies by purchasing sanitary products like hand wipes and tissues, which means that the average school-supplies shopping list now includes 18 items, up from 14 a year prior.

One of the best ways to save money is to shop the “door-buster” style back-to-school deals offered at a range of stores, ranging from big-box retailers to drugstores and electronics stores, says Sara Steigerwald, founder of Sisters Shopping On A Shoestring and a deal hunter for . Different stores are likely to offer superlow prices on different supplies to get parents in the door, notes Stephanie Nelson, the founder of

Shoppers flee physical stores

Retail traffic has continued an unrelenting slide in the U.S., dropping even as the weather improves. As a result, the industry is slashing store growth from malls to drugstores.

“The trick to back-to-school savings is to be able to shop over a couple of weeks so you can take advantage of all the best deals,” says Steigerwald. You can watch for the lowest prices by checking out your newspaper circulars or using a browser-add in like PriceBlink—which pops up when you’re shopping online and tells you if an item is priced less elsewhere. Apps like, CouponSherpa and RetailMeNot can help you combine these offers with coupons.

But, as Nelson points out, many parents don’t want to have to go through all that trouble. Instead, they want to shop at one or two stores—or simply go online–and then wash their hands of the whole business. If you fall into that group, here’s where you should–and shouldn’t–go shopping.

Where you should shop:


Nelson says Wal-Mart is often the way to go for one-stop shopping: Even when it doesn’t have those lowest prices listed on its items (and Matthew Ong, a senior retail analyst with, says that, on average, it does), Wal-Mart will price-match so you can get the lowest price anyway, says Nelson. You can earn the price match by finding competitors’ ads, shopping at Wal-Mart and presenting the ads at the register.

Another option, if the research is too much of a hassle: Buy the items at Wal-Mart at the retail price and then go onto and use their SavingsCatcher tool . Plug in your receipt number, and the tool searches other stores’ advertised prices; if they are lower, Wal-Mart will send you a gift card for the difference. Ong adds that Target also offers price-matching and has very low prices.

Dollar stores

Some of the best deals are to be found at dollar stores, says Erin Konrad, a spokesperson for . She recommends getting supplies like packs of pens and pencils at a spot like Dollar General or Dollar Days–and notes that sometimes these are even cheaper than at big-box stores like Wal-Mart. One recent example of a good deal: An online search for a box of 12 Crayola colored pencils yielded a price of $1.50 at Dollar General, while at Office Depot  the price was listed at $2.89. You can also often find coupons for these stores to add onto the savings

Jon Lal, CEO and founder of, says that parents who want to do all their shopping online and have an Amazon Prime membership (which gives you free two-day shipping) should consider doing their back-to-school shopping at the online giant. A survey from earlier this year by found that Amazon tends to have better prices than most retailers for items under $10.

Best Buy

Many back-to-school laptop buyers are first-time buyers who need in-store help. Ong notes that while you can find sometimes better deals on electronics online, Best Buy tends to have low prices and will price-match other local retailers and online sites like Amazon . Lal of adds that laptops tend to go on sale in mid-August, so look for the best deals then.


In general, retail prices on back-to-school items at office supply stores tend to be slightly higher than at big-box stores, experts say. But we added Staples to the shop-here list because of its generous price match policy on back-to-school items. The retailer is offering a 110% price match guarantee –which means they will match the price of the item at any competitor, including Amazon, and refund a 10% difference–if you find the item for a lower price within 14 days of your purchase at Staples.

However, note the caveats: This is only for identical, in-stock items (so if Walmart’s store brand of pen, for example, is cheaper than the Staples store brand, you’re out of luck), and it doesn’t include special sale events like clearance items. Still, because the 110% price match is generous, it may be worth parents’ time to shop Staples.


Department stores tend to be pricey options for back-to-school attire. But Konrad says she likes Kohl’s because the stores offer tons of coupons and often let shoppers use multiple coupons on the same purchase. Other good options for clothing and shoes include Old Navy and Payless, says Nelson.

Where you shouldn’t shop

Office supply stores

Ong says that big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target are often cheaper than office supply stores for back-to-school supplies. An online search for a 4-ounce bottle of Elmer’s Washable School Glue, for example, yielded a price of $1 on and $1.59 on, while it was just 50 cents at and A search for Fiskars five-inch blunt-tip scissors for kids found a price of $2.99 at Staples and $2.49 at Office Depot, while a pair was $1.47 at Wal-Mart and $1.49 at Target.


Big-box retailers are generally cheaper than office supply stores for back-to-school supplies.

To be sure, there are some caveats to this: For one, office supply stores often have door-buster deals that can make some back-to-school items cheaper than at big-box stores. For some products, the quality of store brands at office-supply stores is higher than at big-box retailers. (Spokespersons for Staples and Office Depot point out that their chains offer price-matching, and Office Depot also cites its 90-day return policy as an advantage for shoppers.)

Department stores

Nelson says that for back-to-school clothes and shoes, most parents are better off at a big-box store like Wal-Mart or Target or a discount retailer like Old Navy or Payless than they are at middle- and upper-tier department stores. That’s because kids grow out of clothes quickly–and tend to want trendy items often–so the higher quality you might find at a department store likely won’t be worth the higher price.

Nelson also advises parents not to buy fall items when they hit the department stores (in July and August). Instead, she recommends waiting a month or two; by then, fall items are more likely to go on sale, and the kids will have already been to school so they’ll have a better idea of what they really want. Find coupons before any shopping trip at the website of the mall or outlet mall or store you’re going to.

Drugstores and grocery stores

These days, drugstores and grocery stores sell far more than their names imply–and this includes school supplies. But outside of their door-buster deals, these spots are often not the best places to shop, says Ong. “They’re betting on you coming in for one thing like drugs and then leaving with other things,” he says. However, Konrad notes that if you’re a member of a store’s rewards program, buying some back-to-school items at these stores might be worth it.

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Tips to make the first day Back to School less stressful

For a kid, going from a hazy, lazy summer where the only thing she has on her schedule is scratching a mosquito bite (and even then only if she feels like it!) to having to rise with the sun, look remotely human, and pay attention all day can be a major shock. But there are ways you can make things go more smoothly, starting right now.

Reset Her Body Clock
Odds are, she’s been trapping toads until late into the evening and then sleeping in. Easing her back to a school-year schedule will ensure that she shows up bright-eyed, if not bushy-tailed, says Rafael Pelayo, M.D., a pediatric sleep specialist at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic in Redwood City, CA. Here’s how:

Spin Sleep “You have to get the kids on board,” says Dr. Pelayo. If she sees going to bed as a punishment or a bummer, she’s going to avoid it. But if she understands that sleep is good for her, just as exercise is, she may resist less. “Talk about it like ‘It’s not that you have to go to sleep, but that you get to go to sleep.'” It also helps to tell her that you’re going to be resetting your schedule, too, and have only incredibly boring stuff — cleaning the bathroom, discussing health care reform with her father — planned for the evening. “That way, the kid doesn’t feel punished. It’s the whole family getting ready.”

Do the Math Calculate the hour at which she’ll need to get up in order to get to school on time (allowing a generous cushion for chaos) and count backward nine or so hours. That’s her “falling-asleep time” once school starts, says Dr. Pelayo. Her bedtime might be 10 or 20 minutes before that.

Shift her To-Bed and Wake-Up Times If she’s been going to bed too late, beginning two weeks before school starts, move her bedtime up about 20 minutes every three or so days. “You cannot expect a kid who’s been staying up until eleven to go to bed at nine all at once,” says Dr. Pelayo. “She’s just going to get frustrated and lie awake.” This change also means that exciting activities like TV watching and texting friends have to end earlier in the evening so your kid has time to wind down. Also, from the very first day you start shifting her bedtime, start rousing her at the time she’ll need to get up for school so she’ll tire earlier at night.
Make Getting Up Worth It Dr. Pelayo recommends that, after you flip on the light and open the bedroom shades to let in the brightest sun possible, you let your kid play a video game or watch TV first thing in the morning — at least for a few days. “It may sound like blasphemy, but think about it: Waking up is biological. Getting out of bed, on the other hand, is volitional.” In other words, give her some incentive. By the start of school, her body will be in the habit of getting up earlier.
Don’t Force It On the night before school starts, your child might be too hopped-up to get to bed on time. “It’s not a big deal for one night,” says Dr. Pelayo; her excitement will fuel her that first day. Saying something like “You have to go to sleep because tomorrow is the first day of school” will only add to the pressure. “You can’t force yourself to fall asleep,” he says.

Get a Workplace that Works
Just as nature will reclaim an abandoned property by engulfing it in spooky trees and tall grass, your child’s desk, if you can even see it, is by now probably home to toys, trophies, discarded clothing, and artwork that’s just short of being good enough for refrigerator display. Not exactly a place that encourages focus. The best way to set up your child’s homework space? Let him do it, says Marcella Moran, an educational consultant and coauthor of Organizing the Disorganized Child. “Parents tend to organize their kids based on their own organization style,” says Moran. “That works for you, but it may not work for your child.”

That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t help your kid discover his perfect, intuitive workspace. After the desk is cleared, have him sit down at it. Ask him to close his eyes and name the essential items he needs to do his homework. (These may include pens, books, a calculator, a computer, and even a drink or snack. Some kids work well with an iPod playing soft music.) Then have him place his hand where he’d think to grab the item. Wherever it is he reaches, that’s where that object should live. Repeat this process with all the essentials. (Some kids might do this better with their eyes open, and that’s fine.) Voila! The perfect setup for your child to work efficiently.

Deal With “I Don’t Want to Go to School!”
Unless you homeschool, there’s no question your kid has to be backpack-on, lunch-box-in-hand ready on day one. Still, replying “You have to go, or Mommy and Daddy will go to jail,” while true, isn’t ideal. Ask him exactly what it is about school that’s eating at him, advises Ruth Peters, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Clearwater, FL, and don’t accept “Everything” as an answer. Probe gently, and depending on what he says, here’s how to help him wrap his mind around the fact that September is just around the corner.

If what he means is: I don’t want summer to end. Well, who can blame him? “But help put that in perspective,” says Peters. “Dreading the end of a good thing doesn’t mean that school is a bad thing.” A reminder of the aspects of school that he adored last year — friends, clubs, a particular subject — should do it.

If what he means is: I’ve heard older kids say school is not cool. You should be able to ferret this out pretty easily. Then a quick “Are you kidding? What’s not cool about meeting new people and learning new things?” should do it for a kindergartner or first-grader. To an older kid, you might say, “Do you really dislike school, all day, every day?” If it’s fear of seeming uncool, he will probably be able to name some aspects of school he enjoys, and you can just remind him that he doesn’t have to pretend to dislike something just to fit in.

If what he means is: I’m afraid of the work. Reassure him that the first six weeks of school is always a catch-up time, says Peters, and that when the pace picks up, you’ll do whatever he needs to support him. “You can always get a tutor to help out,” adds Peters, who points out that a high school student will often do it for little money. But watch your language here. “You want to empathize about the fact that certain things may be hard,” she says, without making the problem seem insurmountable. So avoid saying something like “Yeah, none of us Spunkmeyers is good at math — you got the gene!” Instead, try “Yes, math can be tough. But we’ll figure it out one way or another.”

If what he means is: I’m worried I’ll have no friends/be bullied/have to eat lunch alone. Social worries are huge for kids and can cause a lot of anxiety about the start of school. “If something happened last year, they’re probably thinking that more of the same is going to happen,” says Peters. There’s a lot you can do, though. Find out before his first day if his friends are going to be in his class, and if they’re not, prepare him for that by talking over whom he can eat lunch with and making plans for after school. See if you can have a late-summer playdate to reconnect him with some of the kids he likes, or even arrange to have breakfast on the first day of school with his best friend and his best friend’s mom. The more he knows about what’s coming up, the better he’ll feel.

Not Least: Meet the Teacher!
In the week before school starts — after that, things will be madness — make contact either in person or via e-mail and introduce yourself. You can let her know if your child has any particular sensitivities or if he or she needs special accommodations. Plus, it’ll start off your relationship on a positive note.

Stephanie Dolgoff is Parenting‘s editor-at-large.

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