Sunday, December 21, 2008


This riddle was on the school room's chalkboard when we visited Laura Ingalls homestead in South Dakota. Try this one out on your kids.







answer? - an egg

Make your own Snowflake Site

Just in time for all of the snow, here is a make your own snowflake site:

Lots of fun when you're trapped in the house and can't play outside in the real stuff!

Friday, November 21, 2008

TITANIC Exhibit & Sleepovers at the Milwaukee Public Museum

Milwaukee Public Museum link:

Just arrived: Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

Ninety-six years ago, on an otherwise calm April morning in 1912, the world's largest ship, the RMS Titanic, sank during her maiden voyage after a colliding with an iceberg in the North Atlantic.

On board were 2,228 passengers, including titans of commerce and industry, artists, senior members of governments, immigrant families dreaming of a new life and more than 890 members of her crew. More than 1,500 people died. No one believed it could happen.

Today, this epic story is revived through Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. Viewed by more than 20 million people worldwide, the Exhibition is among the highest attended in history.

Overnight at the Museum

Spend a "Night at the Museum" with the dinosaurs, mummies and rainforest creatures of MPM

During our exciting sleepovers, brave youngsters will explore hidden spaces and places through specially planned, staff-led activities, and attend a special IMAX or Planetarium show.

For scout groups and families with children ages 6-12
$42 per person, $39 for members

Register now for Public Overnights

  • November 14, 2008
  • December 19, 2008
  • January 16, 2009
  • February 13, 2009
  • March 13, 2009
  • April 17, 2009
  • May 15, 2009

Families with kids ages 6-12 can experience an exciting sleepover at the MPM during our public overnights. Overnights begin at 7pm on Friday evening and last until 8am the following morning. Attendees of overnights during Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition can visit the Exhibition for $5 on Saturday morning. Tickets must be purchased at time of registration.

Overnight packages include:

  • IMAX or planetarium show
  • Hands-on activities and scavenger hunts
  • Flashlight tour of the museum
  • Light evening snack
  • Light continental breakfast
  • Museum admission for Saturday

Ghosts of the Abyss - Now Playing in the IMAX theatre

Academy Award® winning director and master storyteller James Cameron journeys back to the site of his greatest inspiration – the legendary wreck of the Titanic. With a team of the world’s foremost historic and marine experts, he embarks on an unscripted adventure back to the waters where nearly 1,500 souls lost their lives almost a century ago.

Using state-of-the-art technology developed expressly for this expedition, Cameron and his crew are able to explore virtually all of the wreckage, inside and out, as never before. With the most advanced IMAX photography, moviegoers will experience the ship as if they are part of the crew, right inside the dive subs. In this unprecedented motion picture event, Cameron and his team bring audiences to sights not seen since the sinking nearly 100 years ago and explore why the landmark vessel – more than any shipwreck – continues to intrigue and fascinate the public.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Traveling LINCOLN Museum in Verona - 11/14 & 11/15


I recently wrote a blog about our trip to the land of Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois. Here is your opportunity to get a small taste of Lincoln through a traveling museum that is stopping in Verona tomorrow and Saturday, 11/15/08.

From the website:

"As a special tribute to the bicentennial the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Museum is launching the “Abraham Lincoln: Self Made in America” exhibit. This mobile exhibit is Illinois’ gift to the nation to commemorate the Lincoln Bicentennial. It will be traveling America over the next two years.

The exhibit tells the story of Lincoln’s life starting with his humble beginnings, his role as a father and husband, his role in politics and law, the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th amendment and ending with 1,662 mile train ride back to Springfield.

It features interactive displays and reproduction documents and artifacts inside a 53-foot long, expandable trailer. Some artifacts include a reproduction of the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln famous stove pipe hat, Mary Lincoln’s music box, and a replication of Lincoln’s earliest known writing as a boy.

The exhibit includes a holographic presentation of Lincoln’s 1861 heartfelt Farewell Address from the rear of a train car in Springfield, Illinois as he left for the White House.

A highlight of the exhibit is the award-winning “The Civil War in Four Minutes” video presentation.

It is the only exhibit of its type in the country. With this mobile exhibit, we are offering visitors a taste of the experience they will have when they visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum."

For more information on the museum, click here:


What: Abraham Lincoln Mobile Museum

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Verona Public Library, 500 Silent St.

Admission: Free

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trick or Treat Halloween Costume Portrait - Madison, WI 11/1/08

Tricks'Or'Treat and Costume Portraits For a Smile
WHAT: Trick Or Treat Costume Portraits For a Smile

WHEN: Saturday, Nov 1st, from 12-4pm

WHO: Wanted - Princesses, Monsters, Dinosaurs, Frankensteins and all other Halloween Creatures of all ages

WHERE: Funky Monkey Photography Studio, 202 S Dickinson St (1 block off Williamson St), Madison

DETAILS: Donate $10 to Operation Smile ( and you’ll receive a digital image of your child in their costume within 1-2 weeks.

INFO:, 608-513-9400

Hope to see you there! This is a baby,toddler & child friendly event for a charitable cause.

Funky Monkey Photography

Madison’s Children Photographer

Sunday, October 19, 2008

GOT Milk Spooktacular Halloween Tour - Hilldale

Spooktacular "Got Milk?" Halloween Tour

5-7 pm, 10/22, University Book Store-Hilldale, with stories, milk samples, photos of milk mustaches & other goodies. Free. 238-8455

When: 10/22/08 @ 5:00pm
Cost: Free
Call: 238-8455

More Information:
The got milk? Halloween tour is coming to Madison on October 22 to encourage local residents to treat themselves to nutritious low fat and fat free chocolate milk this Halloween.
To help make chocolate milk the "official drink of Halloween" the tour will host a spook-tacular story time event at The University Book Store at Hilldale on October 22 from 5pm-7pm where visitors can:

- learn how low fat or fat free chocolate milk can help make Halloween healthier without being booed by the kids
- get their picture snapped with a Chocolate Milk Mustache
- enjoy a spook-tacular story read by local storyteller
- receive fun got milk? Halloween goodies - first 25 attendees receive a special trick-or-treat bag!
- sample delicious milk from local milk processors

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ken Lonnquist & the Kenland Band HALLOWEEN Haunted Disco BASH 10/24/08

Ken Lonnquist
(aka greatest songwriter/singer EVER)
& Friends - Halloween BASH!

Just once, every year, when yellow leaves falling

Whisper and crackle like old witches calling

The Kenland Band rises and bangs on the drum

Inviting your feet and your Family to come!

Put on your feet! Wear your best dancing shoes!

Twist to the “Bat” song and “Boogedy Blues”

October the 24th, at 6 PM

Some people won’t make it... don’t be one of them!

The old Haunted Disco will open it’s doors

From 6 until 9. The dust on the floor

Will swirl as Spooks of all ages and sizes

Boogie in costume and vie to win prizes!

At The Goodman Community Center we’re groovin’

Dust off your best disguise now and get movin’!

Enter the Costume Parade! Dance along

Dressed up as something from one of Ken’s songs!

There’s only so many Ghouls one room can hold

So buy tickets early... before they’re all sold!

The dance-floor has room for just 200 souls.

An intimate gathering of warts, toads and moles!

How much, you ask, will it cost to get in?

Advance: Seven-Fifty. Day of Show: Ten.

(‘Cause even in Kenland tickets cost more

When purchased the day of the show at the door!

Conjure your tickets at 249-7714, or!

Click link below and then scroll to bottom of page to the pumpkin entitled "The Haunted Disco" to purchase tickets by PayPal.

All info and poetry above provided by my friend, Ken Lonnquist.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

UW Space Place - Madison, WI

UW Space Place

My daughter has been to many UW Space Place events through the years with her dad. Today's recommendation comes from Hannah must go to the UW Space Place.

Upcoming events include:

Friday, 10/10 6pm - 3 hours
Harvest Moon Fall Festival at Lussier Familty Heritage Center ]
Join us for star gazing and other activities at the Lussier Family Heritage Center - 3101 Lake Farm Road Cost: $2/person (under 2 is free)

* Take a stroll on our torch-lit trail under the harvest moon and discover the natural world through interpretive presentations on Wisconsin's owls, amphibians, trees, bears, bats and more! * Bid on slient auction items (until 8 p.m.) * Stargaze through telescopes with the UW's University in the Park and Space Place astronomers * Enjoy entertainment and s'mores around the "Howlin' Bonfire!"

Participants can snack on hot dogs, chili, pie and other delicious treats and beverages that will be available for purchase.

Proceeds go towards the recreational facilities and educational programs at the Lussier Family Heritage Center, Capital City State Trail, and Capital Springs Recreation Area.

Saturday Science Workshops
October 11 : "Gummy Greenhouse Gases" - Make pollutants from gumdrops and gobble them up; for children ages 6-10 and their families.

October 18• "What's a Polymer?"
Some are hard and tough, others bend and stretch. Join members of the UW-Madison Chemistry Dept. and find out more about polymers through hands-on experiments.

October 25• "Halloween Science"
Get ready for Halloween with bubbling, screaming, eye-catching science.

Party With the Stars - Friday, 10/17 7 p.m. - 2 hours
Join us at 7:00 pm to find out what interesting sights are visible in the night sky. Following the presentation, refreshments will be served. Then from 8-9:00 pm we will set up telescopes on our rooftop deck to view the stars and other interesting objects in the night sky (weather permitting). All ages are welcome!

Location: 2300 S Park Street, Madison, Wisconsin

UW Space Place website:

To subscribe to upcoming events at the UW Space Place, click here:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tongue Twister Contest at Burlington's Top Museum

One of our favorite museums has some FUN events coming up. All are held at the Burlington Spinning Top Museum/Logic Puzzle Museum.

On, November 8th, it's the 7th Annual International Tongue Twister Contest.

"How many can you say in less than 10 seconds? Classic and modern phrases to twist contestant's tongues. Age divisions, and great prizes such as a portion of "a peck of pickled peppers," and other tongue twister objects like a "toy boat" or a "yellow yo-yo" or "a spinning store top!"

More info here:

The weekends of November 8-9 and 15-16, there is the whatchamacallits contest.
An odd and funny hands-on annual "museum" puzzling event & experience with more than 150 curiosities and whatchamacallits for you to browse through and touch, trying to figure out what they are. Clues are posted for some of the gizzmos, gadgets, devices, and strange antiques, the clues may help or may not. Antiques, toys, tools, thingamajigs, parts & pieces, and even some things we don't know!

Burlington is located 1 1/2 hours from Madison, near Lake Geneva.

If you would like to explore the Spinning Top Museum and the Logic Puzzle Museums, an appointment is necessary at this time of the year.

More info here:
Spinning Top & Yo-Yo Museum:

Logic Puzzle Museum:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

ODD WISCONSIN Exhibit opens at Wisconsin Historical Museum 10/3/08

Just in time for Halloween, the Odd Wisconsin Exhibit opens at the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison, Wisconsin.

"WARNING! Objects Are More Intriguing Than They First Appear

How did a rock, a plastic pink flamingo, a few strips of aluminum make history?
Why did a family collect skunk oil in a jar?
How did a Wisconsin Congressman come to possess a 7-foot-long bowie knife?

From séances and college pranks to assassinations and the fight for civil rights, Odd Wisconsin features scores of curious and authentic artifacts, documents, and images which may surprise, perplex, and astonish you. Odd Wisconsin...satisfy your curiosity. This exhibit is a new long-term, ongoing exhibit." - from the website of the Wisconsin Historical Museum

The exhibit was written up in today's Wisconsin State Journal. You can read the complete article here:

Admission by donation: $4/adult, $3.00/child under 18, $10/family.
30 N Carroll Street, Madison, WI

NOTE: While you're there, be sure to visit the "That's the Ticket" exhibition, too. It is a look at past presidential elections.
More info here:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Aldo Leopold Pioneer Themed Fall Festival 10/10/08 Madison, WI

Hannah & Aldo

If you love Laura Ingalls Wilder and festivals with a pioneer theme, here's a great local festival for you and your little ones. Aldo Leopold presents its Fall Festival on Friday, October 10th.
Activities take place from 5:30-7 pm, with a concert following from 7-8pm.

Come celebrate the season with a pioneer-themed family festival for one and all!

Celebrate the "Fall Harvest" in full pioneer style!

Play traditional outdoor games, like Blindman's Bluff, Rolling the Hoop and Sack Races!

Pretend to be a pioneer and dress up in pioneer garb!

Let your imagination run wild with storytelling in the Children's Shack!

Have fun making old-fashioned crafts, like corn husk dolls and twine games!

Sing-along to a musical performance by the "Knotty Pines Strong Trio!"

Meet WKOW morning anchor, Roland Beres and join Kim Sveum, WKOW's 5 pm news anchor as she broadcasts live from the Aldo Leopold Nature Center.

Admission is free for ALNC Members. $15 for non-member individuals. Admission is $30 for non-member families and includes an annual family membership. Proceeds to benefit the Nature Center’s children’s programs. Advance registration is preferred, but not required.

For more information and a link to the registration form, click here:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Waisman Center Children's Theatre FALL Schedule - Madison, WI

Waisman's Center - Children's Theatre

My family has loved the children's theatre presentations held at the Waisman Center in Madison for many, many years. Check out this fall's incredible line-up. Admission is a steal! $2.00/adults, $1.00/children.

Shows DO sell out, so keep this in mind:
Tickets can be purchased for all shows in the series at the Waisman Center on any performance day beginning at noon. General seating.

• Fabulous Fall Fest
Sunday, October 5 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Kick off the fall series with special events and activities in the Discovery Garden. The fun begins at 2:00 p.m. with seasonal songs by singer/songwriter Ken Lonnquist (LOVE him-our hero!); at 3:00 naturalist/educator David Stokes brings critter companions and talks about the animal kingdom’s fall preparations; plus hands-on activities by guides from the UW Arboretum, crafts and more! First 150 kids receive a free pumpkin! Rain or shine (in inclement weather, event moves indoors.)
FREE. Admission for all other shows.

•Braier’s Magic
Sunday, October 12 at 1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m.
Spectacular and mind-boggling magic show full of enthralling illusions, special surprises, audience participation, and grand scale magic tricks that will amaze you.

• Cheney and Mills (LOVE them, too!)
Sunday, October 19 at 1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m.
Maskapades—a new spin on traditional mask and mime performance as these seasoned performers use oversized masks to create hilarious characters that will engage an audience of all ages.

• Traveling Lantern Theatre Co.
Sunday, November 2 at 1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m
The Caterpillar Hunter—A Vegetable Safari!—Based on the beloved character of the late Steve Irwin, the Caterpillar Hunter shrinks himself and sets off to explore the terrain—pursuing elusive bugs and strange herbage in the wild recesses of a common North American vegetable. Presented by a professional theatre company and specificallygeared to younger audiences.

• Science is FUN! (Love this show, too!)
Sunday, November 9 at 1:00 p.m. (only)
Science is Fun with Dr. Shakhashiri— experience the wonderful world of chemistry and science with the UW’s Dr. Shakhashiri in this kid-tailored presentation that will educate and amaze audiences of all ages.

• PlayTime Productions (High quality talent!)
Sunday, November 16 at 1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m.
The Snow Queen—the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairytale about the powerful warmth of friendship is showcased by an all-children cast. Sprites, magical mirrors, and an enchanting Snow
Queen are mesmerizing!

• Atwood Players
Sunday, November 23 at 1:00 p.m. (only)
The Fisherman and His Wife—giant story book pages bring to life the story of a henpecked fisherman and his greedy wife. Slapstick comedy and a timeless message make this a must-see.

• Dance Wisconsin
Sunday, November 30 at 1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m.
Nutcracker Fantasy—a fantasy full of beautiful costumes and engaging choreography in this seasonal ballet preview with some of Madison’s finest young dancers. A series favorite!

• Trinity Academy of Irish Dance
Sunday, December 14 at 1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m.
Irish Step Dancing—an hour of toe-tapping fun and rich Irish heritage, traditional costumes and music as this riveting dance ensemble takes to the stage.

More info here:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Chemistry Christmas Lecture by Dr. Shakhashiri


"Dr. Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is renowned nationwide for his chemical demonstration shows, and in particular for his annual presentation, Once Upon a Christmas Cheery, In the Lab of Shakhashiri ."

If you've never seen Dr. Shakhashiri's chemical demonstrations, you MUST take your children! The show is FREE, but send in your ticket request today, because tickets "sell out" every year!

Professor Shakhashiri will present the 39th Annual Holiday Lecture on
Saturday, December 6th, and Sunday, December 7th, 2008
at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. each day

Info and ticket requests here:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Halloween Happenings at the Wisconsin Historical Museum

It's never too early to start planning for my favorite holiday...Halloweeeeeeeeen! Last year we held an entirely cool Halloween party complete with haunted garage. This year we will be making a week long event of the holiday. I will be listing some area events to assist you with your all hallows plans.

Here are some events happening at the Wisconsin Historical Museum 10/28 - 10/31. Loads of Houdini movies! (No school on 10/30 - 10/31 in Waunakee!)

Tuesday, October 28th

History Sandwiched In 12:15pm

“Horribly Odd Wisconsin

Join author Erika Janik as she shares some of creepy characters, bizarre events, and scary stories from Wisconsin’s past. A book signing will follow the presentation. Please help us support our museum programs. Suggested program donation of $2.00/person.

Movie 2pm Haldane of the Secret Service

85 minutes

In his final film as an actor, Houdini stars as Heath Haldane, and undercover operative assigned to infiltrate a band of counterfeiters within the dark alleys of New York’s Chinatown.

Kids Arts and Crafts drop in activity Wednesday- Friday, October 29th-31st

10-3pm daily

Kids will be able to make their own spooky masks and design a tombstone.

Colorful Characters of Wisconsin’s

Past Wednesday- Friday, October 29th-31st 10-3pm daily

and Thursday, October 30th from 4-7pm

New in 2008! Costumed interpreters will bring to life the stories peculiar and interesting people from Wisconsin’s past such as: Jane the Mysterious Woman of the Woods, Alexis St. Martin the Voyageur with the Hole in His Side, and Mary Hayes the Chynoweth-Psychic Healer.

Wednesday, October 29th

Movie 12pm, 2pm The Man From Beyond

67 minutes

The flagship effort of Houdini’s production company reflects his growing fascination with life after death. Houdini starts as Howard Hilary, a man frozen in the artic, who returns to civilization 100 years later to reclaim the love of his life, reincarnated in the body of a young woman. The film boasts a series of thrilling escapes and feats of physical agility, and climaxes with a breathtaking rescue above Niagara Falls.

Thursday, October 30th

Movie 12pm, 2pm, & 5pm Terror Island 55 minutes

This movie was by far Houdini’s most lavish production. In it he stars as a swashbuckling inventor who steers his high-tech submarine to a forbidden isle to rescue the father of the woman he loves.

Friday, October 31st

Movie 12pm-4pm The Master Mystery

238 minutes

In this action-packed serial, government agent Quentin Locke (Houdini) infiltrates a corrupt patents company, only to run into the gleaming terror of it robot protector, the Automaton. In order to save the beautiful Eva Brent (Marguerite Marsh) and find a cure for the dreadful Madagascar Madness, Locke suffers an inhuman array of tortures and physical restraints. He is chained, tied with barbed wire, padlocked in a crate and thrown in the water, tied beneath a descending elevator, strapped to an electric chair, and bound in an elaborate Oriental torture chamber.

For more information:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Kids - they make you smile

Have you ever noticed that your children expect you to take care of EVERYTHING?

Case in point, my daughter is responsible for getting dressed for swimming and putting her change of clothes and towel into her swim bag. Ultimately though, if something is forgotten the exclamation goes, "Mom, YOU forgot my (fill-in-the blank) today."

So there was no surprise upon leaving the swimming pool the other night when I heard the following accusing declaration: "Mom, YOU forgot my UNDERWEAR!"

I studied my commando-style daughter and replied in my best psychiatrist voice, "Hmm, how does THAT make you feel?"

A big smile spread across her face, she raised her hands in the air, did a little dance, and exclaimed, "FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!"

It's the little things, isn't it, really? :)

Songs to Download for your Daughter

Ever since my daughter was old enough to appreciate music (day 1?), it has been a tradition to give her a CD of songs for her birthday. They are often songs that make me think of her, or songs that she loved throughout the year. I encourage you to download some songs and burn them onto a CD for your own child. They will get many years of enjoyment from the sentiment contained in the lyrics of the songs that you choose.

Here's a list of my favorite mushy ones for a 9 year old daughter. Lots of happy tears shed by Mom & daughter. :)

  • You are Loved - Josh Groban
  • Butterfly Kisses - Bob Carlisle
  • My Daughter's Eyes - Martina McBride
  • My Wish - Rascal Flatts
  • Baby Mine - various artists
  • Let them be Little - Lonestar
  • Don't you Know you're Beautiful - Kellie Pickler
  • Just to See you Smile - Tim McGraw
  • My Little Girl - Tim McGraw
  • Child of Mine - Carole King
  • I Loved her First - Heartland
Click on the link below for snippets of the listed songs.

10 songs to download for your daughter

Friday, September 12, 2008

Laura Ingalls Wilder Days - Pepin, WI - 9/13 - 9/14

Hannah Ingalls Wilder

Apologies for the delay in writing about this FANTASTIC event that is held every 2nd weekend of September in Pepin, Wisconsin.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Days is great fun for the entire family. Here is this year's schedule of events:

Saturday Events, 9/13
9 a.m. - 5K Walk and 10K Run
10:00 - 6:00 Medallion Hunt
11:00 Library - "Pa's Big Green Animal book"
12:30 Library - "Pepin in the time of Laura Ingalls Wilder"
7-8 pm - Candlelight Craft Demonstrations
8-10 pm - Campfire with live music

Saturday, 9/13 Mainstage Activities
10-11 a.m. - Spelling Bee for 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th graders
11:15 - 12:30 - Square dance with live music and caller
12:30 - 3:30 pm - Pepin Laura Contest
3:30 - 6:30 pm - Old Tyme Fiddle Contest

Sunday, 9/14
7:00 - 11:00 a.m. - Pancake Breakfast
9:45 - 11:00 Community Worship Service
11:00-2pm - Live music, children's games & contests
1:00 pm - Tomahawk throw
2:00 pm - Grand Parade through the village

Daughter and friend had great fun entering the spelling bee, dancing in the square dance, playing pioneer games, and entering the Little Laura contest.

More on-site fun:
  • Children's pioneer games: straw pile, corn schucking, tug-o-war, corn cob doll making, Trebuchet apple toss & more
  • Arts & Crafts market
  • Food vendors
If you go, plan to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder birthsite, which is located 7 miles north of Pepin.
NOTE: Pepin is approximately 200 miles away or 3 1/2 hours drive from Waunakee, WI.

More info here:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

ARBORETUM Family Events Sept, Oct & Nov

The following fall Arboretum events are free and especially tailored for young children and their parents/grown-ups:

- - - - - - - - - - -
September 2008

September 13 - Saturday, 1 p.m.
Arboretum Earth Partnership for Families: "The Scavenger Squad." Vultures, crows, beetles, flies and microbes are the scavengers. It's a tough job, but it's got to be done. See a live vulture and learn about the important role they play in the nutrient/food cycle. Dress for the weather, we will take a hike.

September 14 - Sunday, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Arboretum Family Walk: "Fun with Fungi." This family friendly walk investigates mushrooms growing in the Arboretum's natural areas.

- - - - - - - - - - -
October 2008

October 11 - Saturday, 1-3 p.m.
Arboretum Earth Partnership for Families: "B-B-Bats...the only mammal that can take flight." B-B-Bats....fearsome and dangerous OR fascinating and beneficial? Come to the Arboretum to see live bats and learn the reality of bats, and how you can help these amazing mammals.

October 12 - Sunday, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Arboretum Family Walk: "Why do Leaves Change Color?" Families can learn how to appreciate and understand the wonder of fall color in native trees and prairie grasses.

- - - - - - - - - - -
November 2008

November 8 - Saturday, 1 p.m.
Arboretum Earth Partnership for Families: "Ingenious Seeds On the Move." Fall harvest is the perfect time to investigate one of the most important missions of the plant world -- seed dispersal. In Curtis Prairie, the oldest restored prairie in the world, go on a scavenger hunt and collect prairie seed. Dress for the weather.
November 9 - Sunday, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Arboretum Family Walk: "Preparing for Winter." Animals and plants that live here need to prepare for winter long before the first snow flies. This short walk introduces young people to how plants and animals cope with the cold.

For more information:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Shakespeare Academy Workshop for Wisconsin 4th - 8th graders

Does your child have a flair for the dramatic? Or do you know a child that does?
Here is an incredible opportunity for your young thespian to study Shakespeare with the masters.

CESA #2 (Cooperative Educational Service Agency) and APT (American Players Theatre) presents:

The Joy of Language
The Joy of Shakespeare
Student Shakespeare Academy VI

This is a hands-on, 2-day workshop for children in grades 4th through 8th. The Shakespeare Academy is taught by Master of Revels, Tom Sinks & APT actor extraordinaire, David Daniel.

From their literature: "The purpose of the Shakespeare Academy is to engage elementary/middle school students, teachers, and parents in a fun and energizing activity that will increase their interest in language arts, reading and drama, integrating this interest into a performing arts production – as related to the Wisconsin Academic Teaching Standards.

This is an exciting series of workshops bringing together educators and children for learning and fun. For students, the Academy is a two-part academic and dramatic activity to increase student
understanding of the joy of language using the the works of William Shakespeare."

Where: American Players Theater, Bravo Center, Spring Green, WI
When: Part I for students, October 18th, 2008
8:30am - 3:30pm

Where: CESA #2 Conference Center, Milton, WI
When: Saturday, November 1st, 2008
8:30 - 3:30pm

Cost: $110 for the 2-part student academy

More detailed info and registration form can be found here:

Pictures from last year's academy:

My daughter and her actress friend will be attending. Please pass the word to other parents who might be interested in this extraordinary opportunity. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Apple Picking at Eplegaarden in Fitchburg, WI

One of our favorite fall daytrips is to go apple picking. Our favorite place to pick apples? The Eplegaarden run by the Norwegian "Ole & Lena" in Fitchburg, WI.

Favorite apples for eatin'? Hands down choice = Honey Crisp. Newly discovered favorite = Zestar.

The Eplegaarden has lots of fun fall activities, too. My daughter loves all things Harry Potter, and the Eplegaarden has great entertainment for wizards under age 10 and for their muggles, too. (parents/adults)

From the website:

"Harold Potterson’s Hallowed Haunts and Harried Hunts for little Wizards and Trolls

A new, self guided playground to families with kids 10 years and younger, and der parents (no entrance wit out muggles). Open weekends in September & October from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Many new haunted items for 2008.
The railroad station has special stops at the sorting hat, castle,the magic enchanted forest,black tunnel, levitation station (new) & other fun, scary places. (Harold Potterson is da little cuzzin of da famess vizard from Yolly ole England.) Wizard and witch costumes encouraged. There is an admission fee. Hayrides and pumpkin plukkin', as well."

For more information regarding hours, location and special events, check out the Eplegaarden website:

Most importantly, have fun!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Old World Wisconsin Upcoming Events

One of the most fun events that daughter and I've ever gone to was the Laura Ingalls Wilder day held at Old World Wisconsin in Eagle.

They are offering three future events which sound promising:

Old World Wedding - September 13

10 am-5 pm

Be our guest at an 1840s wedding celebration. Participate in the ceremony and enjoy refreshments at the old-fashioned reception. Wedding ceremonies will begin at 11 am and 2 pm.

Autumn on the Farms - October 11-12, 18-19

10 am-5 pm

Take part in the annual ritual of autumn just as our rural ancestors did in preparing for the arrival of winter long ago. As a special feature of the event, live dramatic performances of Aftermath of the Great Fires of 1871: Survivors' Stories will take place five times each day in the Peterson Wagon Shop. Also, on Sunday, October 12, Wisconsin Historical Society Press author Jerry Apps will be on hand in the museum store to sign copies of his many books, including his latest, Old Farm: A History.

Bram Stoker's Dracula Dinner Theater - October 24-25, October 31-November 1

6-9 pm

The vampire Count Dracula, popularized in Bram Stoker's 1897 horror classic, comes to life during Friday and Saturday evening dinner theater performances set amidst the shadowy night backdrop of the Kettle Moraine State Forest and our historic buildings. Dress for the weather so you can help find the vampire's outdoor lair during the final climactic scene! (Content appropriate for most families, however parents should use their own discretion regarding attendance by very young children.) Reservations required. Adults $60; children under 18 $50. Reservations required. (Event info from the Walworth County website.)

Click here for more information:

Shark Yourself during Shark Week on the Discovery Channel Website

I've Been Sharked!
Daughter as a Great White Shark.

Today's featured site is the Discovery Channel. There is a section dedicated to Shark Week. Have a little fun turning your child into a great white shark. All you need is a head-shot of your child and a few minutes of time to complete the metamorphosis. What fun!

Shark yourself here:

After sharking yourself, explore the rest of the web page for more information on sharks, interactive games, and shark stories.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Little Amerricka - Marshall, WI - GO there!

We have wanted to visit Little Amerricka in Marshall, Wisconsin, for many summers, but haven't gotten around to it. Today, we went and daughter & fellow 9-year old friend had a BLAST! Zowie, you MUST take your child to Little Amerricka post-haste! It is open daily now through Labor Day. Following the holiday weekend, it is open weekends in September, and then closes for the season.

Picture Great America, only closer, smaller, cheaper, and with nicer people.

The wristbands are sold by a child's height. Basically, the taller your child, the more rides they can ride on. With two tall 9-year-olds, we went with the Blue Pass. For $15.95, the girls were able to ride 23 different amusement rides ALL DAY. All day = Noon to 6pm.

Summary of pricing structure:

Pink Pass - $9.95 - 15 rides & attractions = Riders under 36" tall

Green Pass - $11.95 - 18 rides & attractions = Riders 36" to 42" tall

Blue Pass - $15.95 - 23 rides & attractions = Riders 42" tall & above (some rides require additional inches) See here:

Gold Pass - $19.95 - includes gokarts - must be 56" tall to drive

The Meteor is a new wooden rollercoaster and it is Fan-Freaking-Tastic! One visitor rode the Meteor 38 times in one day!!!

Also, VERY popular with the girlies today were the bumper boats, the Swiss Toboggan, and the tilt-a-whirl. With a short lunch break, they were able to ride for 3 straight hours, and hit every ride, and many more than one time.

Speaking of lunch time...I recommend bringing your own lunch. Many veteran families sported picnic baskets upon the Little Amerricka picnic tables. While the prices are (very) reasonable at the one (busy) concession stand, the quality is not great. Hot dogs & hamburgers were a reasonable $2.25 each, but weren't exactly gastronomic pleasures to the palate. The food did fill a hole and enabled the girls to keep riding though.

Having been to many county fairs, I was a little concerned about what the "carnies" (carnival workers) might be like at this amusement park. You know what I'm talkin' 'bout...Carnies at our local fairs tend to be a sordid group of chain-smoking, greasy, tattooed, tooth-challenged lot of felons. I'm very happy to report that the people at Little Amerricka were very, very friendly, helpful and patient. They truly seemed to care about the kids' enjoyment and were extremely personable.

Little Amerricka has created a wonderful little spot of entertainment heaven for the family. The prices are reasonable, the rides are thrilling, and the staff is friendly. Their motto is "only 20 smiles from Madison..." so GET THERE!!!


Click here and sign up to receive a coupon for $1.00 off each wristband purchased:

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Monona's Memorial Day Parade

Monona Memorial Day Parade
Ends: Monday, May 26th, 2008
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Monona Drive to Owen Road

Everyone enjoys the thrill and pageantry of a parade! Join the Celebration of 53 years for Wisconsin's largest and longest running Memorial Day Parades will consist of more than 100 units. For everone's enjoyment there will be military color guards, clowns, marching bands, live animals, fire trucks, scouts, floats, antique autos, local elected officials, dance groups and much more.

The 1.5 mile parade route will start just past Monona Grove High School and travel south on Monona Drive ending at Owen Road.

After the parade brief Memorial Ceremonies will be held at Blooming Grove, Roselawn Cemeteries and Highland Memory Gardens. To honor those who have and are serving our country.

Mallards Kids Day

The Mallards open their eighth season on Thursday, May 29 at 7:05 p.m. against the rival La Crosse Loggers. Come celebrate the grand opening of Maynard’s locally-sourced burger joint & watch the One Millionth Fan statue be revealed! Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. to begin the festivities!

Buy tickets here:


The Madison Mallards cordially invite your children to Meriter & Physicians Plus Insurance Company Kids Day 2008, an event promised to be full of fun for children of all ages. Kids Days will be held from 10 AM to 1 PM on both Tuesday, June 10th and Thursday, July 17th, 2008 at the “Duck Pond” in Warner Park.

Tickets for the Kids Day event are being sold at a cost of $8 per child which includes:

  • Admission to Kids Day
  • Lunch (Hotdog, soda and chips)
  • One kids bleacher ticket to that nights Madison Mallards game
  • A free giveaway to every kid in attendance

NOTE: Tickets can be purchased for both Kids Day events for a discounted rate of $15 per child. For large groups, 1 free adult admission to the Kids Day will be given for every 10 kids tickets purchased.

Activities will range from free access to speed pitch set-ups, bounce houses and kickball games to a home run derby, climbing wall, balloon artist, face painting and a dunk tank. In addition to these great activities, there will be locker room tours and even a clinic/baseball scrimmage put on by our own Mallards team and personnel. This is a great way to meet your favorite Mallards players and coaches!

Lunch will be served in the ballpark between 11am and 1pm. More details on this event will be available in the coming weeks and months. Please don’t hesitate to call us anytime with questions.

Below is a registration form that you can fill out and return to the Madison Mallards office. Please RSVP with a final number of children and final payment two weeks prior to the event so we can deliver the tickets to you. Please feel free to contact the Mallards office with any questions. Kids Day promises to be a perfect opportunity for children to engage in many fun activities and take home great prizes and memories from the “Duck Pond.” We hope to see you all there!

Click here for registration form:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

KidStage Summer Camps - Madison

Here is an opportunity for your Drama Queen/King!
More information, click here:

Camp KidStage

Camp KidStage is a fun filled two week camp where KidStage Kids work on acting skills, pantomime, improv, singing, skits, and special talents and put together a KidStage Follies Showcase. KidStage Kids may choose the full two week camp or the one week camp option (last week). Everyone will participate in Camp KidStage Follies at Hoyt Park at the end of the camp. The camp is open to Level 1: K-2nd Gr. and Level 2: 3rd-6th Gr. Summer Camp coached by Emily Ciha and Assistant Paul Jacobson.

ALL CAMPS: Hoyt Park 3902 Regent St. Madison, Wi
TIME: 1:00-4:00pm

JUNE Camp KidStage

Week 1: Monday June 23rd – Thursday June 26th
Week 2: Monday June 30th- Thursday July 3rd

JULY Camp KidStage

Week 1: Monday July 21rd – Thursday July 24th
Week 2: Monday July 28th- Thursday July 31st

AUGUST Camp KidStage

Week 1: Monday August 11th – Thursday August 14th
Week 2: Monday August 18th - Thursday August 21st

Two week Camp Fee: $120
One week Camp Fee: $60
(LESS) Sibling Discount: $5 per child

Middleton's Capital Brewery Bier Garten opens!

Capital Brewery

7734 Terrace Avenue, Middleton
Friday, May 23 - 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Westside Andy

I know, I know...this sounds like a bizarre family event to post...However, this is a great place to enjoy live music - outdoors - and enjoy a picnic dinner. The kids will LOVE dancing to the live band on summer Friday nights. On some Saturday evenings, they will be showing movies!

Check out the schedule here:

Aldo Leopold Nature Center - Summer Camps!

Aldo Leopold Nature Center (ALNC) offers many great camps throughout the summer months! Daughter has attended several and learned a great deal WHILE having a blast in nature.

"Outdoor adventure and hands-on nature activities encourage children ages 2-12 to experience the great outdoors throughout the summer. From Living Like Laura Ingalls to Muckin' in the Marsh and Weird Science, there's something for everyone!"

The classes are beginning to fill up. Register now.
For a listing of class offerings, click here:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Door County Lighthouse Walk Weekend

Door County's Cana Island

We have just returned from the annual Lighthouse Walk weekend in Door County. Next year, you MUST go there! It was a blast. We were able to take in 4 of the 5 lighthouses that were open to the public.

Best part of the trip: Going INSIDE of the Cana Island Lighthouse pictured above...climbing the 96 steps and venturing out onto the catwalk. Here's a video from the top of the world featuring daughter and friend.

Information on next year's Lighthouse Walk can be obtained here:

We combined our lighthouse walk with a bit of letterboxing. We located the Sherwood Point Lighthouse letterbox #2, also! You can combine letterboxing with ANY trip that you take away from home. START TODAY!!! We also learned the definition of "azimuth" while locating the box. Great learning opportunities abound.

Just for fun...take a look at the clues for this letterbox.

P.S. What a view from the tower!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Teachable Moments for Kids - Put up Birdfeeders in your backyard

Bird Watching with your children in your own backyard

Early in my childhood, I was introduced to birdwatching. We had many different types of bird feeders, and I learned to identify several species of birds.

I have passed this love of birds onto my own child. When we spot a new bird, we id
entify it and then we look up species information on the Internet. Often, we also find an audio file to hear its special song, too.

I awakened this Mother's Day morning to see two new visitors to our bird feeders - a rose-breasted grosbeak and an indigo bunting.
Put up some bird feeders and instill a love for nature in your children! You will create lifetime memories when they spot beautiful birds, such as the ones pictured above.

Fitchburg Days celebrates Irish Culture @McKee Farms Park


Carnival, music, kids' activities, food & fun!

See entire schedule and line-up here:

Friday - 2008 - Fireworks, Carnival, Food, Music

The festival begins with a BANG! The Fitchburg Days Fireworks Show is a powerful presentation that will be seen and heard throughout the city. Don't forget, all three days will feature carnival rides, and, of course, fantastic food and music in the entertainment tent.

Saturday - 2008 - Irish entertainment, Cultural Tent

The Cultural Tent offers workshops and performances in music, art, dance, and language, all of which showcase the richness of the Irish culture. Ever really wanted to curse at someone! Well, no one does it better than the Irish. Stop by and learn a few Gaelic sayings that are sure to make you feel better. Maybe it's a song or the sweet sound of the Irish harp that will do the trick. The music on hand this year is sure to delight, with many favorite local musicians sharing their talent
and love of Irish music. If kicking up your heels is more your style, you'll have plenty of opportunity to get the heart pumping with workshops in ceili and set dancing. These styles of Irish dance are guaranteed to get you moving and having a great time. If your tastes
run more toward the less physical past times, you'll find lots to do! Visit and try your hand at spinning, weaving, creating a St. Brigid's cross, or locating your ancestors with the help of expert genealogists, learn about the Fitchburg Irish from folks of the Fitchburg Historical
Society, or hear about an archaeological dig in Ireland!

Whatever your interest in Irish traditions, you'll find it at this year's Cultural Tent.

Sunday - 2008 - Latino Day -- Outdoor Games and Wristband Day at the Carnival

The food, games, and music continue! From Noon to 5, all the rides you can ride for $15. Perfect time to bring the kids out! We have three trolley tours of Historic Fitchburg beginning at 11:00 am, a Tug-of-War demonstration at 1:00 pm, and the annual Police Auction at 2:00 pm. (description/text from website)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

*NEW Summer Classes @Olbrich Gardens announced!

Sign up now for Olbrich's Family programs and Children's classes. They fill up fast.

Daughter and I particularly recommend the class below:

Breakfast for the Butterflies
Come to this special behind the scenes class as you help Olbrich get ready for a busy day of Olbrich’s Blooming Butterflies. Work side by side with the staff as you feed the butterflies, birds, and fish in the conservatory. Learn about where the butterflies come from and how the chrysalis cases are set up. For ages 8 & up.

We are also going to try this family walk:

Flashlights and Fireflies
Bring your flashlight along as we dance with fireflies and explore the Gardens by moonlight. We’ll visit the Thai Pavilion and Rose Garden, Olbrich’s two lit gardens, and then head to darker places to look for nighttime creatures.

See all of their classes and programs here: