Friday, March 28, 2008

Science Expeditions at UW-Madison - April 5th

Zowie, does this ever look fun and educational, too!

Science Expeditions - Saturday, April 5th.

"The UW-Madison welcomes families and learners of all ages to experience science as discovery.
Science and technology come alive at UW–Madison with an exciting day of hands-on Exploration Stations, intriguing Science Spectaculars, and more to explore at seven Special Venues. All events are free."

Science Spectaculars

  • “Micro Safari”

    Shows from 1–4 p.m. in Tong Auditorium, Engineering Centers Building

  • “Science Is Fun”

    Shows at 1 and 3 p.m. in 1610 Engineering Hall

  • “The Wonders of Physics”

    Shows at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. in 1800 Engineering Hall

  • “Medieval Nanotechnologists”

    Shows at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. in 1153 Mechanical Engineering.

  • “‘Science in a Box’ Theater from MATC

    Shows at 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30 p.m. in the South Atrium of Mechanical Engineering.

Exploration Stations

Hands-on activities at Exploration Stations spanning the spectrum of sciences. Come explore from 1–4 p.m. in the Engineering Centers Building (40 Stations) and Engineering Hall (8 more Stations)!

More venues, events and information - click here:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

LetterBoxing with Kids

Yesterday's 50-degree weather enticed daughter & I into the woods, and we found our first letterbox of 2008!

I wrote about letterboxing early on in this blog. For you newcomers, I want to tell you a bit about this treasure hunt. And, you "oldbies," it's time to join in the fun!

Definition from "LETTERBOXING is an intriguing pastime combining navigational skills and rubber stamp artistry in a charming "treasure hunt" style outdoor quest. A wide variety of adventures can be found to suit all ages and experience levels."

Read all about getting started with letterboxing at these 2 websites:

Here's a short summary of how I would define the pastime of letterboxing. A letterbox is a plastic (usually) container that holds a logbook and a handcarved (usually) stamp. It is hidden in a publicly accessible area, like a local or state park. Clues to locate letterboxes are located at the 2 websites above.

Armed with the clues, your own stamp & inkpad, logbook, compass and pen, you (clandestinely) go on a treasure hunt in search of this letterbox. Upon finding it, you stamp your logbook with the stamp from the letterbox and then you stamp the box's logbook with your stamp. After secretly doing those activities, you then re-hide the box in the same location for the next letterboxer to find.

Below is a link to the clues for the letterbox that we searched for yesterday. This will give you a better idea of what the treasure hunts are like. This letterbox is dedicated to famous Dukes of Hazzard alumni, Tom Wopat. The trail was still snow-covered and a bit slippery, but we greatly enjoyed the hike. We decided that we were "courageously, foolish trailblazers!"

Here's an added bonus...Your children will be so excited and caught up in the search for the letterbox, that they won't even realize that they're getting lots of fresh air and EXERCISE!!! Our hike yesterday was 1.8 miles with some difficult uphill grades. wasn't even noticed by young hiker!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Vocabulary Website -

Daughter and I LOVE this newly discovered website, Free Rice.

For every vocabulary definition that you get right, they donate 20 grains of rice through the UN World Food Program to help end hunger. I realize that this doesn't sound like much. However, after playing just a few times, we have already donated over 10,000 grains of rice. It is fun, it is educational, and it is charitable!

Once you play, you might get addicted...and learn new words, too!

Note: For younger kids, go to "Options" and choose the easiest level, "Start me at Vocabulary Level 1 when I start FreeRice."

Mark your Calendar - American Girl 2nds and Returns Sale

I have attended this event many times, in order to score American Girl clothing and dolls for my daughter.

Madison Children’s Museum 21st Annual Benefit Sale of American Girl Returns and Seconds

Tickets go on sale Saturday, June 7, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. Central Time!

Event: Saturday, July 19th & Sunday, July 20th

More info here:

Upcoming events in Madison

Regarding yesterday's trip to Burlington, WI, we highly recommend the Spinning Top Museum & the Logic Puzzle Museum. The Sci-Fi Cafe was...ummm...interesting, but we recommend eating elsewhere.

A mish-mash of events this week...

Skywatching - Memorial High School Planetarium - Tonight!
Wednesday, March 26
6:30-7:30 PM and 7:45-8:45 PM
Explore the current night sky in the planetarium, learning how to identify constellations, planets, and interesting telescope and binocular targets so that you will be able to find them in the real sky.

Tickets: $2. No reservations. Tickets go on sale starting at 6:00 PM. Some shows do sell out.
It's Too Bright - UW Space Place

More Information:
Space Place family workshops are offered every Saturday at 10 a.m. for children ages 6-10 and their parents. The workshops are free and open to the public. No registration is required for any of the workshops.

March 29 "It's Too Bright" 10 a.m.
Examine the effects of light pollution on animals as well as star gazers and design your own sky friendly light fixture.

Rainstick-Making at the Madison Children's Museum

Use recycled materials to make your own version of this soothing percussion instrument. Ages 5 & up. Limited supplies: free workshop tickets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis on the day of the program.

Sunday, March 30, 2008 — 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Don't forget the Maple Syrup Fest at Aldo Leopold this Sunday. (See 3/13 archive for info.)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spinning Top & Yo-Yo Museum & Logic Puzzle Museum & Sci-Fi Cafe - Burlington, WI

Tomorrow, Hannah and I are heading for a quirky, fun-filled day in Burlington, Wisconsin. We are visiting the Spinning Top & Yo-Yo Museum and the Logic Puzzle Museum. Both museums are housed in the same building. Burlington is an 85 mile drive from Waunakee.

Spinning Top Museum event:
See the 2,000 item exhibit of tops, yo-yos, & gyroscopes; view videos; try 35 different hands-on top games & top experiments; try the I Spy Hunt, plus enjoy a live show all in a 2.5 hour program. Ages 4-104, children must be with an adult. $11 per person.

Logic Puzzle Museum:
Try 50 different hands-on brain, logic, and mechanical puzzles; see vintage collections on exhibit; and make a puzzle to keep. $6/person, all ages. Museum is for ages 5-105, not younger, children must be with an adult.

And, in between, just to round out the weirdness, we'll be dining at the Burlington Sci-Fi Cafe and Alien Museum!

Spinning Top & Yo-Yo Museum website:

Logic Puzzle Museum website:

Burlington Sci-Fi Cafe website:

Lambing Time in Wisconsin

Pictures from our adventure at a lambing farm in Eau Claire this past weekend. Try to get to A-Z in Oregon next Sunday for the last date for a lamb visit. (See 3/8 entry for details.)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Snooze at the Milwaukee Zoo

Snooze at the Milwaukee Zoo

Lots of Sleepovers this summer - at lots of different venues! This event also comes highly recommended by my 8 year old daughter.

Snooze at the Milwaukee Zoo

Wednesday, August 6, Thursday, August 7, Friday, August 8 or Saturday, August 9, 2008

Share the night sky with a wild bunch! This special event is presented by the Zoological Society and offers a safe, fun, educational overnight family camping experience.

  • Enjoy a picnic buffet dinner on the shore of Lake Evinrude
  • Sing songs and snack on s'mores around a group campfire
  • Spend a cozy night in your sleeping bag listening to the sounds of the Zoo
  • Enjoy a continental breakfast, and then spend the remainder of the day at the Zoo
Zoological Society members & non-members can choose Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday night to attend. Your night at the Zoo begins with registration at 5:00 p.m., giving you time to check in, set up camp and eat dinner before the evening's activities begin.

Registrations will only be accepted online.


  • Online registration ONLY. First come, first served basis.
    • Member-only registration begins at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, May 5.
    • Non-member registration begins at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 6.
  • Registration is open to Zoological Society members & non-members.
  • Campsites are about 20' by 20'.
  • No vehicle or pop-up campers will be permitted.
  • No more than two tents per campsite will be permitted.
  • Not all of the buildings in the Zoo will be open during the evening.
  • No one under 21 admitted without parent or guardian.
  • Snooze at the Zoo will take place RAIN OR SHINE.


Zoo Society Member Non-Member
Adult (age 13+) $45 $50
Child (3-12) $30 $35
Family of 4 $125 $150

Online registration and information here:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Jelly Belly Factory Tours in Pleasant Prairie, WI

Love JELLY BELLY jellybeans!

Daughter and I are heading to Jelly Belly Factory Tour over Spring Break. This Saturday they are having a special event called "Easter Hoppenings!" Factory is located in Pleasant Prairie, WI - which is about 2 hours drive from Waunakee.

Jelly Belly was featured in last Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal.
Read here:

Jelly Belly website:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I hope that leprechauns were nice to you today!

Waunakee Destination Imagination Team going to State!

Blatant promotion of daughter's DI team today! They won First Place at the Regional contest held this past Saturday at the Waunakee High School.
They are going to State competition on 4/19 in Stevens Point. Congrats, Team!!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

3 Secret Sites to Save on Your Dining Dollars - Madison, WI

Buy Restaurant Gift Certificates at 1/2 Price!

Sharing three of my favorite websites today!

Pay $25 for a $50 gift certificate here - Half Price Deals:

Today's deal is a $50 gift certificate for LMNO'Pies Cafe & Bakery in Fitchburg.

Sales begin on Fridays at 8 a.m. Only 100 certificates are available for purchase and they go FAST. Upcoming offers are:

The Continental Fitchburg

Elements Therapeutic Massage

Boulders Climbing Gym
Website #2 called Dine Madison:

Another place to buy $50 gift certificates for $25!

Sales begin on Thursdays at 7 a.m. Only 100 certificates are available for purchase and they go FAST. Upcoming offers are:

Whistle Stop Cafe in Mazomanie

Still on sale:
The Bistro in Janesville

Sharpshooters in Portage

One more gem:

Loads of Madison restaurants here - Buy discounted Gift Certificates!

I have purchased Gift Certificates from all three websites. Stock up for yourself and/or buy dining gifts for friends and family at reduced prices!

KID FEST @ KEVA - April 19th & 20th

Put this one on the calendar!

"Come for games, rides, kid-ucational exhibits and lots of kickin' fun!"

More details here:

St. Patrick's Day Parade - Madison, WI

Sunday, March 16, 2008
1:30 PM Capitol Square
Madison, Wisconsin

Schedule of events:

10:00 5th Annual Shamrock Shuffle, Overture Center, Madison

Noon Dane County Shamrock Club, Inc., Irish Flag Ceremony (Capitol Rotunda, an annual tradition)

1:00 Parade Committee hosts traditional Irish contests, Corner of Wisconsin & Mifflin

1:30 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Capitol Square

3:00 Raffle Drawing for a FREE trip to IRELAND, Brocach Irish Pub, 7 West Main, Madison

3:00 St. Pat's Eve, Celtic Cultural Society, High Noon Saloon

I'm pretty sure that I'll need to enter the Most Freckles contest!

Contest Categories

  • Best Lad’s Costume – “Mr. Shamrock”
  • Best Lass’s Costume – “Miss Shamrock”
  • Best Adult Male Costume – “Mr. Ireland”
  • Best Adult Female Costume – “Ms. Ireland”
  • Best-Dressed Dog
  • Youngest Participant – “Leprechaun”
  • Oldest Participant
  • Reddest Hair – “Rua Ri” (male and female)
  • Most Freckles (male and female)
  • Largest Clan
More information here:

Hope you all have fun staging your Leprechaun Visit on Monday! If you've lost the instructions, they can be found in the Blog Archive dated February 28th.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mr. Rogers - Won't You Wear a Sweater? March 20th

Next Thursday, 3/20 would have been Mr. Rogers 80th birthday.

In honor of this event, Mr. McFeely is asking everyone to don a sweater - red or otherwise - as a tribute to Mr. Rogers.

Video of Mr. McFeely:

Such a kind, sweet man, that Mr. Rogers. We miss him.

Aldo Leopold Nature Center - Maple Syrup Fest - Sunday, 3/30

Maple Syrup Fest
Daughter has loved this event in past years!

"The Aldo Leopold Nature Center invites the public to celebrate spring at MAPLE SYRUP FEST -- a family-style festival at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center.

This year's Maple Syrup Fest will feature ten stations set throughout the Nature Center grounds that will lead visitors, at their own pace, through the history of maple syruping and related craft and activities. Naturalists will tap the maple trees on the Nature Center grounds and collect sap in buckets to make the syrup. See the sap boil over a roaring fire as it concentrates into "liquid gold". When the sap is boiled, the sap's naturally occurring water evaporates as steam, leaving the sap and its sweetness to concentrate into maple syrup.
  • Tap and Taste real MapleTree Sap
  • Test your "Nature Smarts" with Maple Syrup Trivia
  • Increase your Knowledge of Trees with "Build-A-Tree" Game!
  • Learn from a Real "Tapper" how Maple Syrup is made Today and the Old-Fashioned Way!
  • Tour the Rustic Children's Shack
  • Take part in Cooking Demonstrations with Early Pioneer Settler Women
  • Enjoy Ice Cream Sundaes topped with Pure Maple Syrup!"
Date: Sunday, March 30th - 1:00 - 3:00 pm
Location: Aldo Leopold Nature Center at 300 Femrite Drive, Monona, WI
Fee: Members - $5.00/person or $16/family - NonMembers - $6.00/person or $20/family

Advance registration is recommended. Phone: 608-221-4038
Registration Form here:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Kids Expo in Madison, WI - March 15 & 16

This weekend is the Kids Expo. Unfortunately, we have not yet attended this event. Looks incredibly fun!

When: Saturday, 3/15 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday 3/16 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Alliant Energy Center
Cost: Adults: $4 Kids (ages 2-12): $3 Kids under 2 enter for free!

Read all about it here:

Hannah - Tuition Tales - Upromise Video Contest

Filmed with my Flip Video!

Walking with Dinosaurs - Madison Pre-SaleTickets on Sale 10 a.m.

Walking with Dinosaurs - Madison, WI
9 shows May 7th - May 11

"15 Roaring, Life-Size Dinosaurs roam the arena in this astonishing new show! The show depicts the dinosaurs' evolution spanning their entire 200 million year reign."


Some friends of mine attended this show, and said that it is a must-see extravaganza for children and adults!

The scoop: PRE-SALE event begins at 10 a.m. this morning. Ticket prices range from $32.50 - $67.50.

Password = TREX

Buy tickets here:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Stuart Stotts - Overture Center's Kids in the Rotunda

One of our fave performers, Stuart Stotts

Overture Center - Madison - Kids in the Rotunda
SATURDAY March 15th | 9:30 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM

Stuart Stotts
, folk music & storytelling
Audiences of every age love his blend of original and traditional songs. In addition to performing over 250 concerts each year and releasing several albums, Stotts is an established author, speaker and educator. His performances involve audiences through listening, moving, singing and even role-playing.

Stuart Stotts website:

Vitense Golfland celebrates Albert Einstein's Birthday

Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein!

This sounds like an incredibly fun & educational event!

Thursday, March 13th
Celebrate Einstein's Birthday with Learning Rx & Vitense Golfland Cost: FREE!!

· 4:00pm - Register, enjoy food & beverages, dress up as Einstein for a photo, play Miniature Golf or hang out with other kids before activities begin

(attendees may choose to pay & play indoor miniature golf or other games – not included in event).

· 4:30-5:00pm – Brain Game Show! Round 1

o A high-paced, interactive and learning based event, focused on the team philosophy through healthy competition, with attendees answering questions focused on the Brain, with an authentic game show setup.

(Questions may incorporate physical challenges, sound bites, interactive tasks, simple true or false questions, or any variety of these.)

· 5:00pm – Birthday Cake Cutting in celebration of Einstein’s Birthday

(Prizes awarded to winners of Round 1 Game Show)

· 5:30-6:00pm - Brain Game Show! Round 2

· 6:00pm – Prizes awarded to winners of Round 2 Game Show.

· 6:30pm – Event wrap up

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Lamb Birthing Time at A -Z Farm in Oregon, WI

It is Lambing Time on the A-Z Farm!

(We are SO going to this event!)

From the A-Z Farm website:
"Bounce into spring with a visit to the A-Z Farm lambing barn. Come see newborn lambs as a family or as an individual. See lambs nursing, bouncing around their mothers and learn more about these wooly creatures. It may be possible to witness the birth of a lamb. There will be chicks, bunnies and other animals to see and touch. Visitors will be able to ask questions and see other farm related displays. Note: All sheep and activities will be inside."

3 Sundays: March 16, 23, 30, 2008 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Admission: $3.50/person; Age 2 & under/Free

A-Z website:

Wisconsin Film Festival Tickets on Sale Today, 3/8

Wisconsin Film Festival
April 3-6

Tickets go on sale at noon today at the website:

What is the Wisconsin Film Festival, you may ask?

"Founded in 1999, the Wisconsin Film Festival is the state’s premier film festival, in the heart of Madison, our capital city.

This four-day annual festival takes place each spring in ten downtown Madison theaters, all within walking distance. The Festival presents new American independent and world cinema (narrative, documentary, shorts, experimental), restored classics, and the work of Wisconsin filmmakers. Over 150 films and an attendance getting close to 30,000 make this a lively event that’s become a major part of our state’s cultural calendar."

The festival runs from April 3rd - 6th.

For older children, these 2 films look interesting:

Girls Rock
"At the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls in Portland, teens learn to play a little bass guitar, keep rhythm on the drum kit, scream, shout, pump their fists in the air, and be okay with who they are. In the process of learning how to write rap with a partner or play with a group, girls change their perception of what they can do, navigate the sometimes perilous path toward social acceptance, and work to overcome their inner and outer obstacles…and rock out. A hugely entertaining documentary with genuinely appealing story, Girls Rock! is a must-have ticket for anyone who knows a teenage girl — bring them! — or was ever one herself." - quoted from the website

"One you make a balloon dog, you can do anything. That’s what the subjects of this documentary say, the amateur and professional balloon twisters who have come together at one of their jovial annual conventions to swap ideas and make competition balloon sculptures. There are twisters who specialize in Gospel twisting, some who have mastered the art of the anatomically approximate naughty balloons. A festival blurb like this really should speak profoundly about their sense of purpose and camaraderie, and it’s true that the featured twisters in the film are genuinely compelling, especially Vera, who grew up in a trailer park and discovered professional balloon-twisting as a way to get off welfare and put herself through college. But what’s amazing, what’s really amazing, are the incredible sculptures, tricks, giant floats, and other clever things you can do with a balloon. It defies explanation how utterly entertaining this is. 2007 South by Southwest Film Festival." - quoted from the website

We are off to the Wonder of Physics show today!

Friday, March 7, 2008

FLIP VIDEO - Best Little Product Ever!

I have a great new toy. I needed an easy-to-use camcorder to record my daughter's plays, games, and fun moments, so I investigated a little product called The FLIP. Unlike a bulky camcorder, you can take this little gadget anywhere. I carry mine around in my purse to keep it handy.

  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 2.2 x 4.2 inches
  • 4 button operation
  • Flip Ultra records 60 minutes (2GB built-in memory)
  • From box to Batteries to 1st movie recording = 3 minutes
  • Attached USB fold-out arm allows you to plug into laptop directly or to your computer with a USB cable
  • Upload movies to your computer and then post on AOL, You Tube or your personal website.
  • Easily send movies via email to family & friends
  • Capture still pictures from video
  • Watch videos instantly on TV with included cable
Read more here!

List price is $179.00. Amazon is offering it for $148.22 + free shipping.

The Unexplained Conference - Wisconsin's Largest Paranormal Conference - Madison, WI

BOO! Things that go BUMP in the Night!The Unexplained Conference - Madison, WI

All's featured event is definitely..."different." The annual Unexplained Conference is billed as "Wisconsin's Largest Paranormal Conference."

  • Speakers will present a slide-show of "real-life ghost cases" and haunted locations in Wisconsin.
  • Question & Answer session with 2 Investigators of the Paranormal (What it's really like to track Bigfoot-type creatures, UFOs and ghosts.)
  • A speech on the Afterlife: "Believers, Debunkers & Skeptics"
  • Authors will be on hand to autograph the book, "The Wisconsin Road Guide to Haunted Locations."

When: Saturday, April 26th @ 7 p.m.
Where: Alliant Energy Center
Cost: $9.00/Adults; $5.00 Children 12 & under

To purchase tickets online or for more information, click on link below:

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Field of Dreams - Dyersville, IA

Field of Dreams - Ghost Players

Ghost Players emerging from the cornfield - Dyersville, IA.

Here's a movie & field trip opportunity located a short distance from Wisconsin.

Step 1: Watch the inspirational Kevin Costner movie "Field of Dreams" with your children.

Step 2: Drive to Dyersville, IA which is located 25 miles west of Dubuque. The Field of Dreams is a 2-hour drive from Waunakee.

Bring your baseball and a bat to play a pick-up game of baseball. Run the bases. Sit on the bleachers and dream. The Field of Dreams is a magical place...the famous movie line asserts, "People will Come." People continue to come even 20 years later.


Open April - November. Free admission. Souvenirs available on site.

Also in the area:
Daughter with Ghost Player

Note: I am saddened to report that the Ghost Players have retired. They no longer take the baseball field each summer to play baseball with the kids. The "Ghosts"will truly be missed.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Nature Net - Getting Back to Nature in Wisconsin with the Kids!

We have cabin fever!!! Daughter is inquiring, "When can we go LetterBoxing???" Hmm, perhaps after the 80+ inches of snow melts? I have outdoors on the brain and hence, today I am recommending that you subscribe to Nature Net News. (Someday we'll get outside again!)

Nature Net News is a monthly e-letter that features nature news, a Wisconsin park/site of the month, book selections and a nature craft. It is filled with tips and ideas for outdoor adventuring and learning with children. For example, March's issue is filled with information about Bird Watching.

Sign up here:

I have done the Nature Passport activity with my daughter, and I highly recommend it.
From the website:

"Wondering what to do with your children this summer? Are you looking for a family activity that costs nothing, has a variety of convenient locations, and is scheduled exactly when you want it? Do you enjoy the thrill of discovery and the fresh air? Then, put on your adventurer's hat, get your eyes, ears, hands and nose ready for exploring, and begin your Nature Passport journey! Nature Passport is an outdoor self-guided family program at various environmental education sites throughout Dane County. The Summer version is generally available Memorial Day through Labor Day."

More info on Nature Passport here:

General information about Nature Net, "the Educational Learning Network here: