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.