Saturday, February 28, 2009

Children's Museum of La Crosse - Grossology

If your travels take you and your children to La Crosse, this sounds like a GREAT family adventure.


Come to the Children's Museum of La Crosse to explore all the slimy, mushy, oozy, scaly and stinky (yet scientific) things that occur every day in the human body. See the animatronic Nigel Nose-It-All, climb the blemish wall, test your grossology trivia--and much more!

Starts: January 17, 2009 Ends: May 24, 2009

Event Times: Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Sundays 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed Mondays and major holidays.

Ticket Information: $5 per person admission; infants (under 12 months) and members are free.

Gertrude Salzer Gordon Children's Museum of La Crosse
207 Fifth Ave. S.
La Crosse, WI 54601

Friday, February 27, 2009

Summer Camps & Overnight Adventures - Aldo Leopold Nature Center

The summer camps have now been updated for Aldo Leopold Nature Center. My daughter has participated in many of their classes through the years, and all have been fun and educational. I give my highest recommendation to ALNC!

Summer Nature Camps - 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!

Summer camp registration for members begins on March 2nd; non-member registration begins on April 6th.

Check out all of the offerings here:

Maple Syrup Festival at Aldo Leopold

Maple Syrup Fest - Aldo Leopold Nature Center



March 29, 2009
Monona Campus


(children and adults) or $20/family

(children and adults) or $25/family

Proceeds to benefit the Nature Center's children's programs. Advance registration is recommended.


608-221-4038 or
Public Program Registration

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!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

KIDS AS STORYTELLERS - Summer program at Monona Public Library

For the thespians among you...this looks like an incredibly FUN event that is hosted by the Monona Public Library (one of my favorite libraries, by the way!)

From their website:

Kids As Storytellers (KAST)
Monona Public Library

Mondays, June 15 to August 3 from 4 to 5p.m.
For kids ages 8 and older.

Storytelling improves language skills and helps children become better writers. Children who engage in the activity learn about history and culture, develop emotionally and have better self-esteem. Storytelling stimulates imagination to the nth degree. Storytelling creates a love of story that translates into a potentially life-long love of books the same way read-aloud does. Registration required. Registration required, begins May 1.

Performances will be held on:

  • Tuesday, July 7, 1pm & July 28 10:30am. at the Talent Show. KAST members who want to perform on July 7 must attend practices 6/15 - 7/6.
  • Tuesday, July 28 at the "Creation Stations" Family Fun event. KAST who want to perform on July 28 must attend most practices from 6/15 to 7/27.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 5, 1pm and/or 6:15pm. at the beginning of the "Catch the Last Act" Family Fun Charades & Sundaes event. KAST who want to perform on August 5 must attend most practices from 6/15 to 8/3 and performers will be picked based on storytelling skills developed over the summer.
For more information, click here:

P.S. There's an awesome Dream Park near the library!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Where have the Family Friendly TV Shows gone?

When winter starts to get 37 months long and it's just too cold to go outside, I start to wonder...where have the Family Friendly TV shows gone?

My daughter is almost 10 years old now, and I've come to the conclusion that there are no acceptable prime time TV shows that we can share together. The reality shows are mindless. The so-called comedies aren't funny and are laden with sexual innuendos that I just don't want to explain to her.

It didn't use to be this way. I can recall many family shows from my childhood that I would happily share with my daughter today. And, through the miracles of DVD technology, I have been watching some of these moldy oldies with her. Many older DVDs can be borrowed *FREE* from your local library!

Here are some of our favorites:
  • Gilligan's Island
  • The Partridge Family
  • The Brady Bunch
  • Mork & Mindy
  • Grizzly Adams
Other shows that come to mind that we haven't watched yet are: Eight is Enough, Family Affair and Get Smart. Anyone have any more suggestions to add to this list?

Perhaps it was just a slower, more wholesome age, but these were TV shows that could be watched by the entire family. The clothing and hair styles might seem hokey today, but at least I don't have to worry about the shows containing swearing, violence and nudity.

Besides the pure entertainment value, my daughter will be able to fill in many future crosswords armed with the knowledge of these ancient TV programs!
* * * * * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * **

We have tuned out, Mr. Nielsen. You do not offer anything wholesome to our family. American Idol and Survivor just don't cut it. We want to see programs about "real" children and "real" family situations. We are taking a trip back in time through the wonder of DVDs!

Mardi Gras Celebration - Fat Tuesday at New Orleans Take Out

This Tuesday, February 24th is the Mardi Gras - Fat Tuesday celebration at New Orleans Take Out at their 2 locations in Madison.

The Cajun food at NOTO is always wonderful, but the festive
atmosphere on Fat Tuesday is something that you must experience firsthand.

Take the kids along and teach them the magic request of "Throw me Something, Mister!" and they will be deluged with festive Mardi Gras beads and doubloons.

Menu located here:

Recommendations: Adults - Mardi Gras Combo with a side of cornbread.
Children - Red Beans, Rice and Sausage or any of the Po Boy sandwiches.

Locations: East - 1920 Fordem Avenue & West - 1517 Monroe Street

Hours: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. - VERY limited seating. Buy your food and take it home to eat it!


I was so delighted to discover this recipe while perusing an old Southern Living cookbook yesterday. Daughter and I immediately headed out to the freshly fallen snow to harvest a snow crop. While I had never partaken of snow ice cream before, apparently it's a fond memory from many a childhood. Enjoy before the new snow is sullied by environmental forces or has melted.

Here's Paula Deen's version of SNOW ICE CREAM. YUM!

Snow Ice Cream

  • 8 Cups fresh snow
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Place snow into a large bowl. Pour condensed milk over and add vanilla. Mix to combine. Serve immediately in bowls.

Friday, February 20, 2009

New Tiger at the Madison Vilas Zoo

Cyber is a nine-year old Amur male tiger, weighing 450 pounds. He was born at the Minnesota Zoo and transferred from the Great Plains Zoo. Cyber can usually be seen in his outside exhibit from about 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

More information here:

Has it been a long time since you've taken your kids to the Henry Vilas Zoo? Besides Cyber, there are several other new occupants of the zoo. Two meerkats named Stan and Groucho, and a red panda named Chang Tan, have also joined the animal throng.
Rumor has it that there's a letterbox in the area, that requires clues that can be obtained from information found at the zoo.
See here:

Is it letterboxing weather yet??? I will be holding an introduction to letterboxing class at the Village Center on 5/17. If you want more information, please contact me at

Daughter and I have also hidden an indoor letterbox here in Waunakee. Clues here:

Happy Weekend, Peeps!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spring Events at the Arboretum

The following events are especially designed for children and families. The events are free, thanks to support from Friends of the Arboretum.

Events are open to the public, and tours take place regardless of weather unless the naturalist decides it would be unsafe. Call 608-263-7888 if in doubt. Unless otherwise noted, tours begin at the Arboretum Visitor Center. Visit our Web site at

Arboretum Visitor Center Hours: Weekdays 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Weekends 12:30 - 4 p.m.

March 8 - Sunday, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Arboretum Family Walk: "Mud." Mud isn't just for pies, it is a great place to see animal tracks. What is mud anyway, and why is there so much of it in the spring?

March 22 - Sunday, 1-3 p.m.

Arboretum Earth Partnership for Families: "Tim-m-m-ber-r-r!" Learn about lumbering in Wisconsin with the Wisconsin Historical Society and Arboretum naturalists. Hear tall tales, look at different tools and see if you can fit into Paul Bunyan’s shoes. Dress for the weather; outdoor and indoor activities are planned.

April 12 - Sunday, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Arboretum Family Walk: "Frogs." Frogs make wonderful sounds in the spring and on summer nights -- and they have fascinating life cycles. This will be an introduction to the frogs of the Arboretum.

April 26 - Sunday, 1-3 p.m.

Arboretum Earth Partnership for Families: "Nature's Opera: Songbirds in Spring." Songbirds delight our senses with quick flashes of color or pattern and drawn out melodies. Learn how to identify common song birds by sight and sound. Take a bird watching hike and learn how to welcome songbirds to your yard. Dress for the weather; indoor and outdoor activities planned.

May 10 - Sunday, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Arboretum Family Walk. "Spring Is Here." This naturalist-led walk is tailored to families with young children and explores the prairies, woodlands or wetlands near the Visitor Center.

May 24 - Sunday, 1-3 p.m.

Arboretum Earth Partnership for Families: "Spring Ephemerals and Alien Invaders." Discover drifts of wildflowers along the woodland trails. Explore the relationships between spring wildflowers and invasive species. Help with restoration activities by pulling invasive garlic mustard and dame's rocket. Outdoor and indoor activities are planned.

Vilas Zoo Benefit at Liliana's

First Annual Mad City
Mardi Gras
Benefit for the Henry Vilas Zoo
Sunday, February 22

Live Music and Events all Day!

Help us to raise $3,000.00 for the Henry Vilas Zoo

Here’s what’s happening throughout the day:

10:00 am - 2:00 pm Family Brunch
Buffet Style Brunch ($20 per person, KIDS EAT FREE. $5 of each meal goes to the Henry Vilas Zoo)
Wayne the Wizard, Face Painting, Caricaturists, Crafts, Live music, Beads and a Silent Auction

2:00 pm - 6:00 pm Family Mardi Gras
Cajun Buffet ($20 per person, KIDS EAT FREE $5 of each meal goes to the Henry Vilas Zoo)
More Magicians, Face Painting, Caricaturists, Crafts, Live music, Beads and a Silent Auction

6:00 pm - 9:00 pm Grown Up Mardi Gras
Special Menu featuring all of our Cajun specialties, Live Music, Beads and a Silent Auction
3 Specialty Drinks and 3 specialty appetizers that are ten dollars each, of which EVERY PENNY goes to the zoo!

9:00 pm - 12:00 am Bourbon Street
Special Menu featuring all of our Cajun specialties, Live Music, Beads and a Silent Auction
3 Specialty Drinks and 3 specialty appetizers that are ten dollars each, of which EVERY PENNY goes to the zoo!

Silent Auction Winners announced at 11:00
Silent Auction Donors

The music lineup:

10:00 am - 12:00pm - The Wheatles

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm - Cliff Fredrickson and Friends

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm - All That Jazz Big Band

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm - Midtown Jazz

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm - The Hanson Family Jazz Band

8:00 pm - 10:00 pm - Harmonious Wail

10:00 pm - 12:00 am - The Rand Moore Jazz Quintet

Liliana's Restaurant
2951 Triverton Pike
Fitchburg, WI 53711

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Aldo Leopold Discovery Day 3/8/09

Umm, that's my kid.

Leopold Discovery Day


Sunday, March 8, 2009
1-3 pm


Aldo Leopold Nature Center
300 Femrite Drive
Monona, WI 53716


608-221-4038 or
Click Here for
Registration Form


FREE - Advance registration is recommended, but not required.

Come Celebrate the Life & Legacy of Aldo Leopold, Wisconsin's premier conservationist, in conjunction with the statewide celebration of Aldo Leopold Weekend.

This family event will feature fun and unique entertainment:
  • Leopold-inspired activities for families!
  • A "Look Like Leopold" station!
  • "Track Stamp" bookmark to take home!
  • The Leopold Exhibit where you can learn all about Aldo Leopold's childhood!
  • The Children's Shack experience
  • Refreshments!
Posted from the ALNC website. More info here:

Valentine Surprise for Children

Happy Valentine's Day!

You don't need to purchase a Hallmark card to tell your children how much they are loved and cherished. Here's a low budget idea to surprise your children for Valentine's Day.

Cut out a bunch of differently sized heart shapes from colored construction paper (pink, red, and white).

Write sweet things to your child upon each heart. Make lots for greatest effect!
  • UR Loved
  • Sweet
  • UR Cute
  • QTpa2T
  • Cherished
  • Funny
  • Kind
  • get the picture
Place the hearts on top of their bed to discover at bedtime. Have your child read the words of love outloud to you. Enjoy the moment!

I did this last year for my daughter, and she was crying happy tears by the time she was finished reading each heart. Enjoy!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Book of Love & Obamiconme

It is that loving time of the year again! Valentine's Day is just around the corner. A tradition that my family has always enjoyed is the annual Isthmus publication called the "Book of Love."

You can submit your expressions of love and appreciation in the 2009 Book of Love. They accept short (40 words) written Valentines, pictures of your loved ones, and new this year, video valentines.

My daughter loves looking through the many (many) pages of the Book of Love to find her own submissions, as well as Valentines that we submitted to her.

Send your loved ones Valentines through the link below:

If you enjoyed the ubiquitous Obama HOPE poster, you can make your own here at Obamiconme:
Groundhog Day prognostication in Sun Prairie at o'dark thirty on Monday was FABULOUS! I highly recommend that you take your children one time. It's fun to watch Bill Murray's movie, "Groundhog Day," with older kids prior to attending the event.

Happy Weekend. Hope to see you at the UW Physics Fair or the High Noon Saloon/MCM Benefit!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

UW Space Place & Annual Physics Fair

Workshops at the UW-Space Place

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.

February 7• "Cleaning with Taco Sauce"
Can taco sauce really clean tarnished pennies? Discover whether or not this works and which ingredients really do the cleaning.

February 14 • "NO WORKSHOP"
Join us instead at the 2nd Annual Physics Fair on the UW campus. See below under "Special Events" for more information.

February 21 • "Science is Fun"
Join the UW-Madison Chemistry Department for hands-on experiments and activities!

Celebrate Galileo's birthday with music, food, wine, and stars!
Sunday, February 15• 4:30 am-6:30 pm

The Space Place, together with the Madison Early Music Festival, Slow Food Madison, Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin, and The Wine Boutique, invites you to a reception in honor of the 445th anniversary of Galileo's birth. Savor Renaissance-period culinary delights, sample Italian wines, enjoy a performance of early Italian music, and turn your eyes to the heavens for stargazing through the Space Place telescope. Admission is $35, payable at the door. All proceeds from the event will benefit the MEMF's 10th anniversary season.

More info here:


2nd Annual Physics Fair

A UW Physics Department Open House

You are invited to attend the 2nd Annual Physics Fair! This will be an open house in which members of the public can come to learn about the research and teaching that are a part of our department. The Physics Fair will include laboratory tours, hands-on demonstrations, activities for kids and families, and informal conversations with scientists. We will have exhibits representing research groups in the department as well as displays on more general physics topics. Additionally, the Ingersoll Physics Museum will be open and the 26th Annual Wonders of Physics public presentations will take place.

When? Saturday, February 14, 2009
Drop in anytime from 11 am - 4 pm.
Where? Chamberlin Hall, UW-Madison Campus, 1150 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706
Free parking is available in Lots 17, 20, & 21
Who? Everyone!

Physics Fair Events:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

GIRLS ROCK the Movie Available on DVD now

My daughter and I saw GIRLS ROCK, the Movie, at the Wisconsin Film Festival last April. It was the best, most important movie that I have ever taken her to see.

"you'll need a hanky and your Joan Jett lighter when watching 'Girls Rock!'" -Bust Magazine

I advise you to get a copy for the little girls and the big girls in your life. It is amazing and empowering. Here's a short review.

At Rock 'n' Roll Camp, girls ranging in age from eight to 18 are taught that it's OK to sweat like a pig, scream like a banshee, wail on their instruments with complete and utter abandon, and that "it is 100% okay to be exactly who you are." The girls have a week to select a band, an instrument they may have never played before, and write a song. In between, they are taught by indie rock chicks such as Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney various lessons of empowerment from self-defense to anger management. At the end of the week, all the bands perform a concert for over 700 people. The film follows several campers: Laura, a Korean adoptee obsessed by death metal; Misty, who is emerging from a life of meth addiction, homelessness and gang activity; and Amelia, an eight-year-old who writes experimental rock songs about her dog Pipi. What happens to the girls as they are given a temporary reprieve from being sexualized, analyzed and pressured to conform is truly moving and revolutionary. (Hot Docs)

The movie is FINALLY available on DVD here:

How to Stage a Leprechaun Visit for St. Patrick's Day

In honor of St. Patrick's Day next month, I wrote an article for called, "How to Stage a Leprechaun Visit for your Children."

If you are interested, the full article is here:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Madison Winter Festival - 2/15/09 - 2/16/09

Bundle up your kids next weekend and let them experience the best of wintry Wisconsin!
Here's a bonanza of activities for your family to participate in...

Winter Skills Games, held at Elver Park, happen the evenings of Monday, 2/9 through Thursday, 2/12. Events include:
  • snow carving & snowshoeing
  • ice skating
  • cross country skiiing
  • sledding & cardboard (sled) derby
Saturday, 2/14 and Sunday, 2/15 there are many activities happening around the Capitol Square! Events include:
  • Frosty 1K Kids Run & Walk
  • Snow Tubing Hill
  • Snowshoeing
  • Family Snow Carving
  • Ice Skating
  • Museum Tours
  • Skiing
3-page event schedule to download here:

Complete 24-page PDF file FESTIVAL GUIDE here:

Old World Wisconsin Upcoming Events

There are some fun summer events at Old World Wisconsin that have recently been announced.

Daughter and I have attended this event in the past. Great fun for your Little House on the Prairie fans!

Laura Ingalls Wilder Days Plus Farm Power

Saturday, July 25, 2009 - Sunday, July 26, 2009 10 am-5 pm

Step into the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder at this hands-on celebration of her life and experiences. Dress like her, try her games and chores, help do Ma and Pa's work, too. Also check out all of the animal-, people-, and steam-powered vintage machines at work.

Visit YouTube to view a one-minute video on the 2008 Laura Ingalls Wilder Days.

Ticket Info:

Adults $16; children (5-17) $9 (children under 5 are free); students and senior citizens (65 and over) $14; family (two adults and two or more dependent children 5-17) $43. Fees include an all-day tram transportation pass.


Vintage Base Ball Home Opener

Saturday, June 13, 2009 10 am-5 pm (game time is 1:30 pm)

Experience the fun of an old-fashioned game of base ball (yes, it was originally two words!) as Old World Wisconsin's vintage team, the Eagle Diamonds, faces off against the Milwaukee Cream Citys club at 1:30 p.m. Learn more about the 1860s rules and the history of the Diamonds, try the equipment and meet the players at this special day-long event. Admission to the museum gets you into the game for free.

View a video about the Eagle Diamonds Base Ball Team on YouTube.

Location Info:
Venue: Old World Wisconsin - about 1 hour drive from Waunakee

Old World Wisconsin documents the settlement of 19th- and early 20th-century Wisconsin. It comprises an 1870s crossroads village and 10 ethnic farmsteads located on 576 acres of wooded hills in the Southern Unit of Kettle Moraine State Forest.

S103 W37890 Hwy 67
Eagle, WI

Sunday, February 1, 2009

KIDS ROCK @ the High Noon Saloon! Benefitting Madison Children's Museum, Saturday 2/7

I am SO excited! One of my favorite grown-up places , that has my favorite event on Friday nights (GOMEROKE - live karaoke with the Gomers band), has set aside a day for the children to visit!

Our family's favorite entertainer, Ken Lonnquist, will also be performing with the Kenland Band. This promises to be a fabulous day with your children!

Kids Rock!
Madison Children’s Museum Benefit
Saturday, February 7, 1–4 p.m.
High Noon Saloon, 701 E. Washington Avenue

Madison’s favorite family entertainers team up to support the museum’s education and outreach programming. In addition to the all-star lineup, enjoy Ian’s pizza, face painting, and arts & crafts activities at one of the city’s favorite live music venues.

Did you know? Over 25% of Madison Children’s Museum’s audience accesses the museum through Family Access programs, including free and reduced admission, subsidized family memberships, transportation assistance, and free community outreach programming. Your support ensures that Madison Children’s Museum’s education programming is accessible to all children in our community.

Performance Schedule:
1:00 Kirsti’s Toddler Music All-Star Singalong
1:15 Ken Lonnquist and the Kenland Band
2:00 Truly Remarkable Loon
2:15 The Madgadders
3:00 Truly Remarkable Loon
3:15 Kid’Oke: Live Karaoke with The Gomers!

Advance Registration: contact Adam Erdmann at 608.256-6445, ext 18 or
Members: $10/person; $35 family four-pack
Nonmembers: $12/person; $40 family four-pack

Day of Show:
$14/person; $50 family four-pack