Thursday, January 31, 2008

Aldo Leopold Nature Center programs

ALDO LEOPOLD NATURE CENTER - MONONA, WI

So, I had to laugh...

I logged onto the Aldo Leopold Nature Center website this morning to find out what's new there, and who appears on the page covering "Leopold Discovery Day (3/2/08)," but my daughter - standing there with the Leopold dude himself!

http://www.naturenet.com/alnc/events/leopold_discovery.html

"The mission of the Aldo Leopold Nature Center is to ...teach the student to see the land, understand what he sees, and enjoy what he understands." in the spirit of famed Wisconsin conservationist, Aldo Leopold. Through hands-on, guided experiences, children and adults come to discover and explore the wonders of the natural world!"

The ALNC is located in Monona at 300 Femrite Drive. They offer the following types of classes and activities. (Look under the "Family & Community Programs" tab on the website for more information.)
  • Summer Camp - The 2008 summer camp options are not yet posted, but my daughter attended a summer camp last year. Fabulous & highly recommended.
  • Vacation Day programs - school vacation day? ALNC offers a fun & educational option!
  • Overnighters - Activities include a night hike, star gazing, nighttime snack around the campfire, and light breakfast the following morning. (Highly recommended.)
  • Drop-in and public programs - ***FUN: Maple Syrup Fest on 3/30/08***
  • School field trips
If you have never visited the ALNC, now is the time to take your children out into nature!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wherever you are, Really be There! & Bean Sprouts

Today's message is a contemplative one...travel message below.

"One hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, how big my house was, or what kind of car I drove. But the world may be a little better, because I was important in the life of a child."

I had the chance last night, to be important in the life of a child...a child who was not my own. I truly believe that it takes a village to raise our children, and I know that the more adults who love your children, the better off they are. There is something special to a child about being loved by adults who love you by choice, not because they're family members.

Some of my favorite times, are joining in play-dates to play one or two games with the kids. I like my daughter's friends to know that they are important & unique, and they are loved by our family, too.


So, my message today is...Wherever you are with your children, really "be there" in the moment. Show up and participate! You don't have to travel somewhere to go on an adventure with them.


Listen - and really hear them - when they talk to you. Hug them and kiss them when they least expect it. Love them hard and thoroughly and unconditionally. They'll be grown up before you know it.

In the last words of Erma Bombeck, "When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner." There would have been more "I love you's"; more "I'm sorry's."

Be important in the life of a child...your own, of course...and others when you have the opportunity.

*********************************************************************************
Are you always trying to get your kids to eat more vegetables? I have the place for you!

For the travel portion of today's blog, I have heard of a fabulous new restaurant for kids called Bean Sprouts. Located in Middleton, it serves "healthy food for happy tummies." They sneak healthy fruits and veggies into every dish on the menu!

Check out their link below.

***Note: I have heard from several adult food critics that the Mac & Cheese is to die for!**

6719 Frank Lloyd Wright Avenue, Middleton (next to Copps)
http://www.beansproutscafe.com

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Jimmy the Groundhog in Sun Prairie - Saturday!

This Saturday is the annual Groundhog celebration in Sun Prairie. At 7 a.m., Jimmy the Groundhog will make his prognostication as to whether we have 6 more weeks of winter to look forward to or if an early spring is on its way. Jimmy has an 80% accuracy rate!

Following Jimmy's prediction, there is a community breakfast and celebration. There will be live entertainment and shopping booths to purchase groundhog memorabilia. Meet Jimmy, too!

Breakfast: 6:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Price: $6.00 for adults, $3.00 for children 10 and under; pancakes, sausage or bacon, applesauce, milk, juice & coffee

Birthday cake for "Human Groundhogs" - those born on February 2nd - cake cutting at 8:30 a.m.

We are hoping to attend this event (for the first time), and if so, I will give a report on Monday.


St. Albert the Great Church
2420 St. Albert the Great Drive
Sun Prairie
6:30 am-12:00 pm
http://www.sunprairiechamber.com/wisuncoc/doc.nsf/doc/events_groundhog_day.cm

Monday, January 28, 2008

Olbrich Gardens classes for Kids!

Olbrich Gardens offers special workshops that are catered to children. My daughter has enjoyed many of these classes through the years. Her favorite was one of the nighttime tours - by flashlight - of the Bolz Conservatory. *spooky*

They have just released the new listing of class offerings for January - June.
  • Nighttime in the Jungle: Creepy Crawly Cockroaches - 1/31/08. Children ages 5 & above, can explore the Bolz Conservatory by flashlight and learn about cockroaches and other creepy crawly critters. ($9/public)
  • Nighttime in the Jungle: Tropical Treats - 2/14 or 2/21/08. Another after dark tour through the Bolz Conservatory. In this class, children will learn about the many sweet treats that originate in the rain forest. Ages 5 & above. ($9/public)
  • Dinosaur Domes - 3/6/08. Children will create a jungle terrarium with miniature plants, fossils and a mini dinosaur. Age 6 & up. ($12/public)
  • Fairy Terrariums - 3/11/08. (We're doing this one!) "Create a tiny world just right for an imaginary friend!" Ages 6 & up. ($12/public)
  • Grow a Salad Bowl - 5/18/08. Plant a container of different salad greens to take home. Ages 5 & up. ($10/public)
  • Little Sprouts Gardening - many dates. Gardening for 2-5 year olds.
  • Sun Print Cards - 6/26/08. Using light-sensitive paper & flowers, children will make cards and botanical art. Ages 6 & up. ($7.00/public)
Public prices are noted, but if you have an Olbrich membership, the rates are reduced. Registration forms can be located on the website.

I also recommend Olbrich Gardens' Sunday afternoon concerts. For more information on the classes or the concerts, visit their website at:

www.olbrich.org

Friday, January 25, 2008

Pizza Hut Special in Waunakee SATURDAY only!

Short note today!

The newly remodeled Pizza Hut at 301 S Century Avenue in Waunakee is offering special CELEBRATION lunch and dinner prices - Tomorrow only - Saturday, 1/26.

All you can eat pizza and pasta for $3.99 Adults and $1.99 for kids 12 and under.
Lunch - 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dinner - 5 pm to 8 pm

New tables and chairs, new carpet, new wall decor, new server uniforms and a 42" flat screen TV!

Happy Weekend - Stay Warm!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Waisman Center Children's Theatre


(P.S. Sorry to subscribers for duplicated message fluke yesterday!)

The Waisman Center Children's Theatre
The Waisman Center Children's Theatre is truly one of Madison's pearls in the area of family entertainment. The schedule include singers, dancers, actors, magicians & more! The wide range of entertainers and the low, low price (adults $2.00/children $1.00) make attendance a no-brainer. Your children will LOVE all of the events...and most likely, so will you. Oh, and you just might learn something new, too!
Location: Across from the UW-Hospital & Clinics at 1500 Highland Avenue.

Remaining Spring shows:
Mad Science
Sunday, February 3 at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
Fire and Ice—step into the laboratory with Mad
Science-nationally renowned science educators.
From fire balls to dry ice storms and bubbly showers,
the afternoon is full of fun, amazing, educational, and
highly interactive demonstrations.
Truly Remarkable Loon
Sunday, February 10 at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
Merry Anticipation of Disaster—look up, look down as
Loon’s juggling mayhem and mischief is all around.
Don’t miss this show that will surely delight and
amaze children and adults of all ages.
Traveling Lantern Theatre Co.
Sunday, February 24 at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe—leap through
a magical wardrobe into the exquisite world of Narnia
and take off on a fantastic journey. Presented by a
professional theatre company especially for young audiences.
David Stokes
Sunday, March 2 at 1:00 p.m.
Hello Spring—explore the animal kingdom’s wild side with
naturalist/educator/entertainer Stokes complete with live critter
companions and an afternoon full of hands-on activities.
Rondini
Sunday, March 9 at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Family Magic and Fun—children and adults will be amazed,
amused, confused, and delighted with special surprises and
exciting magic. Masterfull illusions and audience participation.
Dance Wisconsin
Sunday, April 6 at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Peter and the Wolf—preview this wonderful and magical ballet
that ventures into the woods to tell this beloved story. Full of
beautiful and engaging music and costumes.
PlayTime Productions
Sunday, April 20 at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
The Princess and the Pea—an all-children cast brings to life the
classic Hans Christian Andersen tale complete with a fun
comedic new twist, original music, songs, & costumes.
All the Garden’s A Stage
Sunday, April 27 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. RAIN OR SHINE
The Figureheads—get into the groove with this popular and
positive hip hop group for kids. Fun and funky music celebrates
kids, families, and education. After the concert, explore the wild
side with the Henry Vilas EdZOOcation animals. Face-painting
and crafts! FREE. Enter garden at far west end of the parking
lot. (Admission for all other shows, except Films in the Field.)
1 Show!
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Films in the Field
FREE! 1 Show!
Saturday, August 9. Activities begin at 6:00 p.m.
Movie at 8:00 p.m. West Campus Recreational Fields
adjacent to the Waisman Center
FREE family movie projected onto a larger-than-life
20 ft. x 40 ft. inflatable screen! Enjoy a movie under the stars.
FILM, FOOD, and FUN!! Film T.B.A.

***Make sure that you sign up for the mailing list when you attend a show, so that you will receive future schedules. NOTE: Tickets: Advance tickets for any show in the entire series can be purchased beginning onthe first performance date and then throughout the series on show days. The ticket table is only open on performance days beginning at noon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

UPromise - Sign Up NOW for COLLEGE SAVINGS for your Kids!


If I sound like a commercial today, it's for a good reason...to help you save more money for your child's college education with just a few minutes of your time. It takes only a few minutes to set up an account at UPromise, and you can earn real money without even thinking about it. I am a testimonial that it works!

I have saved over $600 for my daughter's college education since joining Upromise. Yes, it is a real program and they send you real checks to deposit into your Edvest (529) account or child's college savings account.

Upromise is *Free.* Yes, free.

What do you need to do to start earning free money for your kid's college education?

Click on the Upromise link on the right side-bar to sign up -->
  • Do you have grocery savings cards? For example, I registered my Copps grocery card, my Piggly Wiggly Grocery card and my Sentry grocery card. Each time you purchase a qualifying item (see detailed list on the site), you automatically save a percentage of the purchase price! *EASY!*
  • Next, I bet you have a zillion debit & credit cards, right? And, I bet you like to dine out, too? Register each and every card number on the UPromise site, and you will earn savings of up to 10% at participating restaurants automatically! (see participating restaurants on the site) *No need to even think about it through AutoMagic!*
  • Do you shop online? Many, many participating online retailers will give you a percentage back of your purchases through the Upromise account, simply for shopping through their link on the Upromise site. (Sample online stores: Target, WalMart, Old Navy, eBay, many more!)
  • Apply for the Citi Upromise World Mastercard and save 1% of all purchases with *NO* annual limit. (The previous card offered had a cap of $300 on contributions.) Also, they will pay an additional 10% on qualifying grocery card and dining purchases. This is the greatest opportunity to earn loads of extra money.
  • Feel a bit nervous about providing this information?? I did at first, but Upromise is dedicated to providing a secure site for its members. See security policy here: https://lty.s.upromise.com/8742.do
  • Ask your family and friends to sign up for Upromise and they can direct savings for your children's college education, too!
  • Whenever you want to receive a check for your earnings, you just send a written request to Upromise and one will be sent to you. You can verify earnings by logging onto your upromise account.
  • If you have any questions, please email me! HAPPY SAVING!

Milwaukee Public Museum Visit


So, we went to the Body Worlds exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Bottom Line: Adults loved it, the two almost-9-year olds experienced a very high "Ick!" factor during the experience. I have decided that the exhibit would probably be better recommended to children ages 12 and above.

Read more about Body Worlds and view a video here:
http://www.mpm.edu/bodyworlds/

However, I DO strongly encourage you to make a visit to the Milwaukee Public Museum with your youngsters to see the following exhibits and IMAX movies!
  • Puelicher Butterfly Wing - Live colorful butterflies surround you in a tropical rain forest setting.
  • Bugs Alive! - LIVE insects and bugs including Hissing Cockroaches, Scorpions, Beetles & more
  • Living Oceans - Experience live under the sea with an imaginary voyage to ocean's bottom
  • Permanent exhibits featuring continents & specific countries
  • IMAX shows - The Human Body (Recommended!) and The Alps (saw previews) Coming soon: The Grand Canyon Tour!
  • And, much, much, more...
  • View the complete list of permanent and special exhibits at the MPM here: http://www.mpm.edu/exhibitions/index.php
Side Note: Later in 2008, there will be a TITANIC exhibit at the MPM. We will be there!

Monday, January 21, 2008

SAVE $$$ @WalMart on 100's of Medications!

(Apologies to those who already know this...)

While this is not a "Wandering Wisconsin" trip today, I thought that is was important enough to mention in this blog.

In this time of rising health care costs and less actual insured coverage, our children's medications can become expensive, even when you have insurance coverage. While doing a bit of research on my daughter's medications yesterday, I discovered the $4.00 bargain prescriptions at WalMart.

WalMart offers over 350 prescription drugs at the price of $4.00 per 30 day supply. *NO* insurance is required to receive this price. This $4.00 cost is often even lower than an insurance/co-pay price.

Here is the complete listing of prescription medications that are available for $4.00:

http://i.walmart.com/i/if/hmp/fusion/four_dollar_drug_list.pdf

If you have an existing prescription at another location, you can request via telephone to have WalMart transfer it to their pharmacy.

And those savings that you realize can be better spent on things like...Wandering Wisconsin with your Kids!

GO PACKERS!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sam Sanfillippo & his Dioramas of the Dead

Yes, those really are what you think they are...Chipmunks riding on horseback.

Today's featured place is truly...unique and bizarre. In my 40 years, I've never seen anything like these dioramas.

Sam Sanfillippo used to own the funeral home located at 6021 University Avenue in Madison, WI. Upon his retirement, it became Cress Funeral home. I discovered this odd little museum at a website called Roadside America. You can read the complete story of Sam and the dioramas here:

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/WIMADdead.html

Yesterday, I called the funeral home to arrange a tour of the museum. (PHONE: 608-238-8406) They will allow visitors on weekdays, and when there are no funerals scheduled, but you must call to make an appointment. We were told that we could come visit yesterday morning. I asked Hannah to read the article prior to going, just to make sure that she wouldn't be squeamish. She was intrigued and excited!

Upon entering the basement museum we were overwhelmed by the wildlife display. There are over 200 fish specimens on the walls. A huge blue marlin and a hammerhead shark were Hannah's favorites. Deer, moose, turkeys, badgers and many other animals are also on display.

Ah, but the highlight of this place is the kooky dioramas. The Wiki definition of diorama is "a three-dimensional model, usually enclosed in a glass showcase for a museum." Amongst the "normal" mounted animals on display, Sam has created several dioramas featuring dead chipmunks and squirrels. At the Squirrel Bar, there are brown, black and gray squirrels, lifting beer mugs and smoking cigars. A piano is played by a squirrel sporting headphones, while a pair (of squirrels) dance cheek-to-cheek.

The Woodland Fair is the most detailed and the largest diorama. Here is a complete carnival scene featuring chipmun
ks in many roles. Louie's Bar and the Girlie Show ('munks in skirts) are the best. Chipmunks ride the carousel horses and stroll with cotton candy. Other displays depict albino squirrels driving trucks, riding horseback & ferris wheels, and playing basketball.

I advise you to go now, if you're interested. No one knows what will become of the museum in the future. It is definitely something that you'll always remember!

P.S. At the entrance, pick up a "Wildlife Quiz." It has such entertaining questions as, "How many albino animals are in the museum?" and "How many legs does the white goose have?" Even if you don't answer the questions, it will assist you in noticing details that you may not have otherwise. The last question - my favorite - "In your opinion, what single word best describes the museum?" My answer equals "Bizarre."

P.S.S. Hannah noted yesterday, "Dead animals today, dead people on Monday. Huh." (Body Worlds report on Tuesday!)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Village Center - Summer Science Workshops

The Village Center of Waunakee has announced summer science youth enrichment camps!

For ages 6 - 12, the classes include:
These are week long science workshops and they will be held mid to late July. Please click on the links above for course descriptions, dates and time, and registration information.

My daughter and I have started reading (together and outloud) a 10-volume history series entitled, "The History of US." These books were written especially for children aged 8-12 by former educator, Joy Hakim. We are reading volume #1 entitled, "The First Americans."

It is FASCINATING. If history class had been this interesting, perhaps I would have stayed awake. The text contains many pictures, maps and graphs that nicely supplement the reading material.

While we are reading this set for fun, this would make a set of history texts for homeschooling. Take a look at MY FAVORITES on the sidebar...Volume #1 shown and the full set.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

LIVE - Whad'ya Know Radio Show with Michael Feldman


Ever gone to the taping of a live radio show?
We have that opportunity available to us most Saturday mornings! Michael Feldman broadcasts his national 2-hour radio show, "Whad'ya Know," from the Monona Terrace in downtown Madison.

Tickets to be a part of the live studio audience are: $8.00 - Adults, $5.00 for Seniors & kids over age 12 and *FREE* for kids under 12! (I recommend children be age 8 and older to attend.)

Michael Feldman has been the host of "Whad'ya Know" for over 20 years. He has a quick, dry wit, and is roundly entertaining. He LOVES to talk to the studio audience, so you just may find yourself speaking on the air! Some of his humor will go over your kids' heads, but they will enjoy the experience...especially the free donuts provided before the show!

Some features of the show:
  • The infamous "Whad'ya Know Quiz" - you may be picked to play - ON STAGE!
  • The Town of the Week - Michael calls someone in a podunk U.S. to talk about their town
  • Thanks for the Memos - Funny, but real, memos sent into Michael
  • Michael's monologue on current local and national events
  • Question & answers - At the beginning of the show, you are given a blank card to write your name, "what you do in life," and a question that you'd like to ask Michael (anything goes!)
  • An interview with someone of "importance"
To get an idea of what his show is like, you can listen to past broadcasts at his website:

http://www.notmuch.com/

The Whad'ya Know upcoming schedule is also posted on the website. Tickets can be purchased online.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Land of Lincoln - a great Spring Break Vacation!

My daughter went through that ubiquitous childhood phase of loving Lincoln. (To me, it seems to follow the I-love-dinosaurs phase.) Last year, we took advantage of her fascination to learn more about our 16th president.

Located a mere 4 1/2 hour drive from Waunakee lies history-rich Springfield, IL. Last spring break, we traveled there to investigate this land of Lincoln. Lincoln said of Springfield, "To this place...I owe everything." It was one of the most fascinating trips we've ever experienced. Here are our personal recommendations.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.


There are 2 shows held at the Museum which are mandatory during your visit:
  • Ghosts of the Library - A magical presentation which addresses the question, "Why save all of this stuff?" The Lincoln historian/narrator is joined by Civil War ghosts and Abraham Lincoln, himself. We viewed it twice and were mesmerized both times.
  • Lincoln's Eyes in the Union Theater - This is a multi-screen presentation showing the Civil War through Lincoln's eyes. Unexpected special effects!
Mrs. Lincoln's attic is a place for children to play dress-up with period clothing and to play with toys from Lincoln's time. The Treasures Gallery contains many of Lincoln's personal artifacts and one of five existing copies of the Gettysburg address.

Info here:
http://www.alplm.org/


Lincoln's Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore.
"Using the Lincoln sites as the backdrop for the ghostly & strange stories about Lincoln's life and his death. History, mystery, séances, sanity & ghosts! This 90-minute tour is heavy on factual history, but plenty of lore as well." This ghost walk is a tour with a costumed guide after dark and it is plenty spooky! My daughter kept asking if I thought that we were going to see any ghosts. :)

Information on Ghost Walks here:
http://www.springfieldwalks.com/


Your visit wouldn't be complete without a stop at Lincolns' Tomb.

The 117-foot tall granite tomb contains the bodies of Lincoln, his wife Mary, and three of his four sons -- Edward, William and Thomas (Tad). Inside the building, there are several Lincoln statues and some of his most famous speech excerpts on display.

Other sites to visit in downtown Springfield:
  • Lincoln's home
  • Lincoln Depot
  • Lincoln church pew
  • Lincoln law office
  • Old State Capitol
If you can spare the time during your visit to the area, I highly recommend spending a day at Lincoln's New Salem Village, which is a reconstruction of the village where he spent his young adulthood.

Information here:
http://www.lincolnsnewsalem.com/

Monday, January 14, 2008

Body Worlds


Beginning on January 18th, Body Worlds is a chance to see the human body as never before!

From the Milwaukee Public Museum site, "Never before has an exhibition offered such an intimate look at the human body. More than 200 real human specimens -- whole bodies, healthy and diseased organs, body sections and slices -- present a one-of-a-kind anatomy and physiology lesson. See how your body's systems relate to one another and work in concert to help you function and survive. View firsthand how lifestyle choices impact your health and how muscles and joints work together while in motion, and during athletic performance."

View a short film here:

http://www.mpm.edu/bodyworlds/

To supplement your visit, you can also see a movie on the Imax screen entitled, "The Human Body."

Body Worlds is a limited-engagement which runs through June 1st, 2008. Additionally, the Museum features many other permanent exhibits and temporary collections.

We will be visiting Body Worlds on January 21st! I will update this blog with our impressions after our visit.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Dancing Horses!



My daughter and I attended this show last summer. I discovered it accidentally while searching the Internet for something "different" to do.

The Dancing Horses are located in Delavan, WI, which is about 55 miles from Madison. The show runs from May until October. There is a matinee showing at 1pm and an evening show at 7:00 pm. The evening show sometimes includes a dinner option.

The horses are the stars of this show! They dance and prance and astonish. When the lights go down, there is a Parade of Illumination. A Dancing Waters display - water and light set to music - brings the show to a close.

Besides the main event, there is also an animal petting barn and a bird show featuring some feathered friends which have appeared on the Jay Leno show.

Please click on the link below for ticket prices and show times:
http://www.thedancinghorses.com


Monday, January 7, 2008

Loving LAURA INGALLS WILDER in Wisconsin!

Laura Ingalls Wilder...her name alone conjures up many contented reading moments for me. The Little House books are wonderful books to introduce to your children. My daughter has read every one of Wilder's books, and many more than once.

If you and your children love Laura, I have two annual events for you to mark on your calendars.

This year's Laura Ingalls Wilder Days will be held on September 13th and 14th in Pepin, WI, which is Laura's birthplace. This weekend is chock-full of marvelous things to do. There are pioneer games and activities, a fiddle contest, a spelling bee for 2nd - 5th graders, visits to Laura's birth site, and a Grand parade. The culmination of the event, is the "Pepin Laura" contest. Contestants dress up as Laura and are asked to demonstrate their knowledge of Laura and her books.

For more information, please visit the Pepin website:

http://www.pepinwisconsin.com/cgi-bin/viewnlcontent.cgi?nlarticle_id=5

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The second Laura entry to add to your calendar is held at Old World Wisconsin in Eagle, WI. Their annual Laura celebration has been expanded from one day to two days this year! Laura Ingalls Wilder Days are scheduled for August 7th and August 8, 2008. This year's activities will be based on Laura's book, "On the Banks of Plum Creek."

Past events have included: a spelling bee, a Laura look-alike contest, stuffing a mattress, making a corn husk doll, washing clothes, and quilting.

There is an admission fee to Old World Wisconsin. Adults $14.00; children age 5-17 $8.50. The admission fee includes an all-day tram pass.

For more information, please visit the Old World Wisconsin site below:

http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/calendar/index.asp?id=172&c_program_id=&c_region_id=&dte=8/7/2008

Both of these events are highly recommended by my family. Plan to spend at least an entire day at each venue. You won't regret this incredible glimpse into pioneer life!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Woodside Ranch

Do your kids LOVE horses? Would they love to stay at a Dude Ranch?

Yes, remarkably, there is a Dude Ranch in Wisconsin.
Woodside Ranch is located in Mauston, which is 15 minutes north of Wisconsin Dells.

This is the perfect place for you to take the kids on a mini-holiday. My family has gone to Woodside Ranch for a summer weekend every year for the past 4 years. I highly recommend it...you will have as much (or more) fun as your children.


Children aged 8+ and adults can go on trail rides throughout the day. Children under age 8, must ride their horses, inside of a corral, which is attended by a ranch hand. Not an experienced rider? No problem. The ranch hands will give you pointers on riding, and they will also attempt to match you with a horse that suits your riding ability.

Besides horseback riding, there are many other activities on site, including an outdoor swimming pool. The Woodside Ranch plans many group activities to entertain including:
  • scavenger hunts
  • roping lessons
  • feed the animals - buffalo, goats, ponies, etc.
  • movie nights
  • paddle boating
  • fishing
  • mini golf
  • dances in the Trading Post
  • bingo
  • Waddy day (culminating in kissing a ... goat...yes, a goat...must be experienced)
  • wagon rides
  • roasting s'mores on a campfire
Your pants may fit a bit tighter at the end of your stay. All meals are included and they are expansive and plentiful. Meals are served family-style, meaning that, your family will dine with other Woodside guests and you will make new friends. These are real home-cooked, butter-laden, fill-you-up ranch meals, complete with dessert. Leave the table hungry? I think not.

Breakfast is arguably the best meal of the day. Guests have the option of riding horseback to this meal served in the woods or they may ride a horse-drawn wagon. Breakfast is cooked on an open fire, stone oven and it is a sight to behold! On the menu: sausage, bacon, fried potatoes, pancakes, french toast, eggs made-to-order, and beverages. The meal is so delicious that you may discover that you have to unbutton your jeans in order to remount your horse for the ride back to the ranch!

Accommodations include a room in the bunkhouse or renting a cabin. I strongly recommend staying in a log cabin with your family to complete your ranch experience. At night, it is relaxing to reminisce about your day in front of the crackling fireplace.

Book your trip now, Dude!

www.woodsideranch.com

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Someone to See - Ken Lonnquist


Today's destination is a person. This person's name is Ken Lonnquist and wherever he is singing, you must take your children to hear him. He is a legend around here in Central Wisconsin, both with kids and adults.

His tunes are upbeat, catchy and clever. You'll find your toes tapping and your fingers snappin' in no time at all. Some of his ditties are right-on commentaries about current events.

Here's his website to take a look at his calendar:

www.kenland.com

Ken also has an adults-only group called The Whateverlys. You can find them playing sporadically at local Madison waterholes. He also plays private venues. He is shown above entertaining my family & friends at my 40th birthday party.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

LetterBoxing with Kids


Our first destination is NOT just one location!

Hannah and I have recently discovered the activity of letterboxing. I urge you to take up this new and inexpensive hobby with your children as soon as our 35 inches of Wisconsin snow melts away!

What IS letterboxing you ask? As defined by Wikipedia:

"Letterboxing is an outdoor hobby that combines elements of orienteering, art and puzzle solving. Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly-accessible places (like parks) and distribute clues to finding the box in printed catalogs, on one of several websites, or by word of mouth. Individual letterboxes usually contain a logbook and a rubber stamp. Finders make an imprint of the letterbox's stamp on their personal logbook, and leave an impression of their personal stamp on the letterbox's logbook — as proof of having found the box."

My daughter loves treasure hunts and exploring nature. Letterboxing is the perfect incorporation of both activities. Get your children off of the couch and into the woods!

To find some locations in your area - and they are everywhere - start with one of these websites:

http://www.letterboxing.org/

http://www.atlasquest.com/

All you need to get started is a stamp, an inkpad, and a notebook for recording your stamps. Log onto one of the websites above, enter a search for a nearby city, and print off the clues for locating your first letterbox!

Any questions about starting? Email me - niesgirl@yahoo.com

Box on!

Welcome!

My daughter and I love to travel Wisconsin, and are always in search of new activities, festivals and events to explore and experience. We would love to share our travels with you.

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