Wednesday, April 29, 2009

UW Arboretum Earth Focus Summer Camps

UW Arboretum Earth Focus Day Camps

9 year old daughter gives "2 Thumbs up" to these Arboretum camps!

Earth Focus Day Camp (EFDC) consists of three programs: Learning Together, Explorers and Eco-Trekkers. The goals of EFDC are to develop an understanding of how the natural world works, to foster an appreciation for nature, and to nurture the sense of awe and wonder for the natural world.

EFDC 2009 will explore habitats, plants, animals and other ecological principles as we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Arboretum. Sessions will explore the past, present and future
in age appropriate activities. The summer will conclude with a birthday celebration and a night hike.

Camp activities will include outdoor discovery hikes and observations, hands-on science experimentations, and nature free play. If you have been to camp in past years look for new and exciting experiences. Campers are encouraged to ask questions, play, share, create, discover, construct and cooperate with each other.

Campers must come prepared to spend time outdoors. They must have long pants, hats and closed-toe shoes. Mid-morning snacks are provided.

Loads of info here:

UW Space Place - Planet Trek - Bike event & Solar System exploration

Saturday, June 20
9AM – 12PM
Bring your bike or walking shoes and take a free guided tour of our solar system! Planet Trek is an at-scale model of our solar system installed by UW Space Place. Your journey will begin at "The Sun," located outside Monona Terrace in Law Park, and end 23 miles down Military Ridge Trail in Mt. Horeb, home of "Pluto." Tours will leave the Monona Terrace Exhibition Hall every half hour. Leave the tour whenever you like, or take it at your own pace. (Traveling beyond Saturn will require a trail pass and can be purchased on-site.) While you wait for your journey to begin, take in the stunning exhibit, "From Earth to the Universe," in the Exhibition Hall. Over 40 amazing images will be on display including exploding stars. See what happens when two galaxies collide!

This Planet Trek installation is available through October. For a COOL map of the route and for more information visit:

Lakeside Kids at Monona Terrace - Wednesdays

Lakeside Kids at Monona Terrace

Wednesdays, 10-11AM
Come to Monona Terrace on Wednesday mornings and enjoy this fun children’s program. Local performers and organizations will provide entertainment, hands-on fun, and learning for children ages 4 to 8.

Programs will be held on the rooftop unless otherwise indicated. In the event of inclement weather, program will be moved inside. Please call 608.261.4000 after 8:30 a.m. the day of event for program location.


17 Okinawan Taiko Drummers of Wisconsin - West High School

24 Summer Passport Kick-off Event - 10AM to 12PM
Exhibition Hall - 6 Activity Stations!

Story Yoga for Kids - Clare Norelle, Musician and Storyteller
Hall of Ideas

15 YMCA Activity Hour
Exhibition Hall

22 "As Strong As I Can Be" - The Banana Lady

29 MadTown Twisters All-Star Cheerleading

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Home Depot Workshops for Kids

At the Home Depot

Kids Workshops at the Home Depot are free, "How-to Clinics" geared for children aged 5-12. The workshops are held each Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Saturday, May 2nd - Wheelbarrow; Saturday, June 6th - Hardware Sorter

The Home Depot's Kids Workshops offer useful projects including the creation of toolboxes, fire trucks and mail organizers, as well as more educational projects, such as a window birdhouse, bughouse or Declaration of Independence frame kit.

The workshops teach children do-it-yourself skills and tool safety, while at the same time helping to instill a sense of accomplishment. Additionally, this fun time allows for quality one-on-one time between adults and children.

In addition to the newly constructed project kit, each child receives a kid-sized orange apron, similar to The Home Depot associates' aprons, and an achievement pin.

More info here:

Gustafer Yellowgold at High Noon Saloon 5/9

Gustafer Yellowgold SHOWS!

From the website:

Gustafer Yellowgold concerts are a unique blend of live music and moving image. The minimally animated illustrations are accompanied by illustrator/songwriter Morgan Taylor’s catchy and original story-songs for a truly different multimedia experience that is entrancing children, teens and adults alike.

Gustafer is a friendly creature who came to Earth from the sun and has an unusual magnetism for making friends with some of Earth's odder creatures. His best friend is Forrest Applecrumbie the flightless Pterodactyl. Gustafer and Forrest built a small cottage-style home on the edge of an uncharted wooded area in Minnesota. He has a pet Eel named Slim (short for Slimothy) and a pet Dragon named Asparagus who lives in his fireplace and loves corn on the cob. Gustafer's pals, the Mustard Slugs practice their math under the shrubbery.

Since his creation in 2005, Gustafer Yellowgold has become an international phenomenon, acclaimed by the New York Times, which said, “The show is a cross between ‘Yellow Submarine’ and Dr. Seuss.” Entertainment Weekly praised “…The most infectious original songs. It’s like tapping into some pleasure center in the brain- both adult and kid…absurdly appealing. Grade: A. New York Magazine named Morgan Taylor “Best Kids’ Performer” in its 2008 Best of New York Awards. Take a look at Gustafer’s MySpace page to see what his fans think!

Musical Performance - BARNES & NOBLE
Thursday May 07, 2009 11:00 AM
West Towne Mall, 7433 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI 53717, 608-827-0809


High Noon Saloon presents Gustafer Yellowgold

A Thoreau Elementary School Benefit

Saturday, May 9th 1:00 PM / $10 cover FAMILY FRIENDLY Event Will Run From 1pm-4pm, Kids 2 & Under Are FREE

“The most unique musician on the kids' music scene today is Morgan Taylor. He's the genius behind Gustafer Yellowgold, the musical phenomenon that is finding an audience among both children and adults. What makes Taylor's music so appealing is the effortless blending of pop melodies and slightly absurd lyrics to tell a fantastical story about a little yellow creature, named Gustafer Yellowgold, who likes to make friends and jump on cakes, among many strange hobbies. The music is like a cross between The Beatles, Wilco, and Dr. Seuss.” (A Family Runs Through It)

More info on Gustafer here:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Being Amish - A visit to Wisconsin's Amish Country

Visiting the Amish

My friends have frequently told me about their trips to Amish Country, so I made a pledge this spring to make the journey. Last Friday, my sister in law and I arose at o'dark thirty, to drive from Waunakee to the Pardeeville area of Wisconsin. We were told that it is of the utmost importance to arrive at the Pleasant View Bakery as soon as they open for business at 8 a.m.

Driving to the bakery, we passed an Amish school. The "parking lot" was filled with several parked buggies, while the horses stood idly by. Out in a field, many Amish children, boys and girls, were involved in a game of baseball. They were dressed in the traditional black and white clothing. When we drove by their game in our little red Miata convertible, a good number of the children stopped playing to stare, and to wave at us.

Note: Even though you may be busy gaping, drive slowly and alertly. Cars in this area share the road with the Amish's horse-driven buggies. I must admit, this is an unusual sight to behold the first several instances.

When we pulled into the "bakery's" driveway, we noticed many farm buildings and a house. There was no sign that pointed the way to our baked goods destination. Fortunately, another vehicle arrived within seconds. We asked this older German couple, who appeared knowledgeable, where to find the bakery's entrance. They said, "Stick with us, we're old pros and we'll show you the ropes." They took us around to the back screen door of the home. When we entered, our olfactory senses were assaulted with the smells of cinnamon and freshly baked bread. To our right, were hundreds of loaves of all shapes and varieties of breads. Straight ahead, were the infamous cinnamon rolls and sticky pecan rolls, as well as pies. On the counter to our left, freshly baked glazed donuts, and cartons of brown, extra-large farm eggs! I immediately gravitated to the plate of six freshly baked cinnamon rolls. When I picked them up, I exclaimed, "Oh my gosh! These are still WARM!"

We engaged the young Amish clerk in a bit of conversation about the bakery. She told us that they started baking at midnight every Thursday and Friday evenings. Yikes! (The bakery is only open on Fridays and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Pricing: We spent $11.00 on 6 cinnamon rolls, 6 sticky buns, and 2 cartons of eggs.

Our newly found friends advised us, "We bring along our coffee mugs, and then enjoy some warm rolls in the car, before we go to our next destination." What a wonderful plan! We too oohed and aahed over our gooey, sticky delights, before hitting our next stop.

Our next stop was an Amish grocery store named Mischler's Country Store. (Side Note: Sis-in-law stated the first of many times, "I don't think they're open...there isn't any lights on." My new reality show: "Crazy Aunt Peggy Meets the Amish." *sigh*) While they have the typical grocery fare, they also have many bulk items in plastic bags. For example, you can purchase the following goods in bulk: spices, cereal, baking staples (flour, sugar, etc), nuts, popcorn, snacks, etc. Pricing example: 5 pounds of popcorn = $3.95. There are bargains to be had at this fine store.

Next, on our agenda was to return to Miller's Greenhaus. The place was packed and we soon discovered why! I have never seen so many plants in so many varieties at such reasonable prices. Hanging baskets with gorgeous blooming flowers that were 2-3 feet across in diameter were $20. These would be upwards of $40+ in our area. Vegetables in every possible size and variety. Annuals! Perennials! Pricing was easy - a 3" pot = $1.75; A 4" pot = $1.95. I purchased the following for $6.00: 1 bi-color butterfly bush (6" height), 4 ground cherry tomato plants (4" hgt), and 6 strawberry plants. I felt like a thief! My sister-in-law was delighted to find asparagus ready to stick into the ground, as well as perennials that would normally have costed $5-$10 per plant!

Did I mention yet how pleasant our hosts were? When I mentioned that I was looking for ground cherry tomatoes, the older Amish gentlemen stated, "Oh! That is my very favorite pie." Confused, we asked, "Tomato pie?" and inquired what was in the pie. He said, "Oh, let me get my wife to help you with that information." He collected his wife from the back room, and she told us that she would be more than happy to copy the recipe for us. While we continued shopping, she wrote out the recipe onto a card from memory. Later on, she brought us both the recipe AND a bowl of the ground cherry tomato pie filling to sample! Of course, we were shocked by her kindness. My sis-in-law, not thinking before she asked the question, said, "So, can you freeze the pie filling then?" The Amish lady, smiling politely, replied, "I just can our pie filling." Sis-in-law did an internal mental slap which equated to "Duh, they don't use freezers."

After we paid for our items, young Amish boys aged about 4 and 5 years old, helped us carry our purchases to the car. Sis-in-law stated that next planting season, she's coming to the Miller's Greenhaus for all of her vegetable plants.

Enjoy the return to a simpler, friendlier, and slower time and place. Take time to have a conversation with your hosts. You just might learn something from these gentle, hard-working people.

The sights are plentiful here, too. Besides the numerous buggies, there were many Amish plowing their fields with large draft horses. ENJOY! My next trip to Amish country will be with my daughter.

At the intersection of Hwy 22 and CM/Barry Road, there is a restaurant named "Ludlow's Kountry Korner." It is not Amish-owned. My burger was reasonably tasty and fairly priced, but I would pass on the french fries from the freezer next time. Dining options in Amish country are limited at best...unless you can live on cinnamon rolls...yum!

From Waunakee, take Hwy 51 N. At North Leeds, take Hwy 22 all the way through the town of Pardeeville. At CM (which only goes left), turn right, which is Barry Road. On this road, here are the following Amish businesses:
  • Schmucker Sewing/Canvas Shop
  • CVS Windows
  • Fairview Doors
  • Weaver Cabinets
  • Katie's Carpet Shop
  • Miller's Greenhaus* - See above
  • Schrock's Sawmill
  • Miller small engine
  • Mast's Bent & Dent
  • Miller Cabinet Shop
  • Mast's Buggy Shop
  • Mischler's Country Store* - see above
To reach the Pleasant View Bakery, turn right off of Barry Road onto Kiefer Road. You will see a sign for the bakery.

There are many other Amish destinations in the area. If you would like a map, I can provide one to you, if you provide a SASE. Send me an email if you need my mailing address. (Email:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Harry Potter Quidditch GAME at the UW Madison - May 8th

Ok, this is not an April Fool's joke. I think this is an event worth taking the kids to see, especially Harry Potter Fans.

The UW-Madison has formed an official Quidditch team, complete with brooms. See the full article and details here:

What: The UW-Madison Quidditch team’s kick-off game.

When: May 8, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Bascom Hill.

There will be a sign-up sheet for college students interested in joining the team.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Saturday Science Workshop GO FLY A KITE at UW Space Place

Saturday Science Workshop
Sat, 25-Apr-2009, 10:00 am (1:00 hr)

"Go Fly a Kite" - Celebrate National Kite Month by leaning to how to
make and fly your own kite; presented by UW-Madison Physics Outreach.

For more information on the UW Space Place, check our web site at


Women in Agriculture - Breakfast on the Farm 4/26/09

BREAKFAST ON THE FARM - Event Information

14th Annual Breakfast on the Farm

Each year, the Association of Women holds a hearty, farm-style breakfast and invites the campus, local community, and friends. Students love it because it’s great food for a great price, but it’s not just for college students.

There’s something the whole family can enjoy with our petting zoo, education corral, and live entertainment, not to mention ice cream with all the toppings! Come for the food but leave with a greater connection to Wisconsin’s most valued resource: Agriculture.

Breakfast on the Farm will be held at the UW-Madison Stock Pavilion on Sunday, April 26, 2009. Prices are as follows:
Adults: $7
Seniors: $6
Students (K-UW): $5
Children (5 and under): $3

Friday, April 17, 2009

UW Badgers Spring Football Game

UW BADGERS Spring Game!

The Badgers play their spring football game at Camp Randall, on Saturday, 4/18. Game starts at 2pm. *FREE*

Prior to the game, there is a Badger Sports Kids Fair from noon until 2pm. The Fair, which boasts "family friendly events," is held at the McClain Center and is also FREE.

Engineering Expo - Madison

From reader Pam in Sun Prairie. (Thank you!)

Engineering Expo 2009 - This WEEKEND!

Engineering Expo 2009 is a large three-day event that brings out thousands of kids and adults to see, learn and experience engineering first hand through exhibits put on by students and industry, a variety of competitions for all ages, and entertaining presentations.

Expo 2009 will be held from April 16th to 18th, 2009 on the College of Engineering campus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. See below for directions to and around the campus.

Engineering Expo 2009 will run the following days:

  • Thursday, April 16th, 9:00am to 4:00pm
  • Friday, April 17th, 9:00am to 4:00pm
  • Saturday, April 18th, 9:00am to 3:00pm

Note, the general public is welcome to attend the Expo any day, but activities on Thursday and Friday are specially designed for K-12 students.

Admission for one-day pass:

  • Adults: $5
  • K-12 Students: $3
  • Children Under 5: free
  • UW Students & Faculty: free with ID

(From the website.) More info and complete schedule here:

MMOCA Adventures with Kids

Zowie. Madison Museum of Contempory Art offers the following Kids' Art Adventures. What a sneaky way to get kids to become art lovers! :)

Kids' Art Adventures

Kids’ Art Adventures invites families to make art together inspired by the MMoCA’s current exhibitions. Activities are planned for 6- to 10-year olds, but younger siblings are welcome. Children must be accompanied by a parent or other adult. Program participants should plan to meet promptly at 1 pm in MMoCA’s main lobby. Free.

Sunday, April 19 • 1–2:30 pm
After looking at Joan Snyder’s colorful print Requiem/Let Them Rest, on view as part of An Art of Inner Necessity, kids will combine words and images and explore the expressive use of color and line in this monoprinting workshop. Please note: Kids’ Art Adventures will take place on the third Sunday in April.

Sunday, May 17 • 1–2:30 pm
Kids and families will tour the exhibition Young at Art, which celebrates the work of young artists from the Madison Metropolitan School District. In the museum’s classroom, participants will then become curators of an exhibition of tiny paintings and sculptures that they make, and place these works in a tiny gallery that they construct.


Stop by the reception desk in the MMoCA lobby and ask for the MMoCAkids ArtPack, the museum’s new hands-on discovery kit for exploring art. Designed for families to use together, the ArtPack contains a variety of activities that promote observation and imaginative thinking about visual art. The kit is designed with flexibility in mind, allowing families to choose which activities to use and what to look at in the galleries. Adults accompanying children must leave identification to borrow ArtPacks.

The MMoCAkids ArtPack was developed by MMoCA’s Education Department and designed by Scott A. Pauli. Support for the program was provided by the Art League of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

(From the MMOCA website.) For more information, click here:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Edgewood Family Science Night

Family Science Night
Apr 20, 2009 6:30pm
Edgewood College Sonderegger Science Center
Edgewood is hosting its seventh annual Edgewood Family Science Night that is a free event open to all families in the area. The Science Center at Edgewood will be filled with “Exploration Stations” that provide opportunities for people of all ages to experience the fun and excitement of scientific discovery. Last year we had 300 in attendance and it was a great family activity. Please join us this year!

Baby Boogie - Hilldale

Baby Boogie
Kids Stuff
Disco/'80s for kids & parents with DJ Nick Nice, 11 am-2 pm Saturdays, 4/11-5/9, Great Dane-Hilldale. $5 ($15/family). 661-9400

When: Weekly on Saturday @ 11:00am
Call: 661-9400

Baby Boogie is Back!

I'm happy to announce the return of my kids dance party, Baby Boogie (formerly known as Dance Baby Dance & Baby Does Disco).
Kicking off on April 11th in the fantastic new party room at the Great Dane Hilldale. I'll be spinning disco and a smattering of '80s grooves for kids and their parents. No silly Hannah Montana, just classic disco & '80s all afternoon. All ages are encouraged, though newborns-7 year olds (and their parents/relatives/friends) will probably enjoy it most.
We'll have balloons, treats and other surprises every week. Plus a full food & drink menu will be available.

It's a party you won't to miss. Spread the word....

Beginning April 11th and running every Saturday thru May 9th
w/ Nick Nice
Great Dane Hilldale (Party Room)
357 Price Place
$5 cover/maximum of $15 per family

Monday, April 13, 2009

Being Bucky - the Movie

We attended the movie "Being Bucky" yesterday. I achieved one of my bucket list goals...I laughed so hard that I cried. Love, loved this movie, and so did my (nearly) 10 year old daughter. The movie follows several young men who attend try-outs to become the UW mascot, Bucky.

The movie was sold out at the Wisconsin Film Festival, so I was delighted to hear that it was being shown at Point Cinema.

See movie info here:

P.S. Movie warnings. One shot of a young man mooning the camera. A handful of swear words. (minor ones in my view)

YMCA Healthy Kids Day - Friday, 4/17

Healthy Kids Day - April 17

Put Some Play in Your Day at the YMCA! Join the YMCA and Junior League for a weekend of activity-filled events that is FREE to the community. YMCA Healthy Kids and Junior League Healthy U come together and celebrate making fitness fun with special activities all weekend long! Great prizes, games, food, health screenings, information and special guests at all YMCA branches. Friday April 17 • 6:30-8:00pm • Special Family Activities! Free tours and facility use will continue all day Saturday and Sunday.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Glenwood Children's Park - Madison, WI

GLENWOOD CHILDREN'S PARK - 602 Glenwood Street, Madison, WI

Upon the recommendation of a friend, my daughter and I visited the Glenwood Children's Park last week. World famous architect Jens Jensen created this park in 1949 "for children to enjoy nature at its best." It is a Madison historic landmark.

We climbed on ginormous logs, explored a spooky tunnel, built forts, and picnicked within a council ring of large stones.

Most children today have nature-deficit and spend very little time outdoors. Child psychologists, educators, and even Congress are now touting the idea of "No child left indoors." I too encourage you to take your children to this park to enjoy nature at its best.

More information here:

"As you witness the touch of His hand in the wonders of nature you too will feel closer to God." - quote from park marker

P.S. As an added bonus, we hid a letterbox for all of you letterboxers to find!
Clues here:

Ken Lonnquist - New Musical AWAKEN - Go see it!

An announcement from my friend, Ken Lonnquist:

Next month my Kenland Players Theater will be offering an original musical experience for family audiences... and celebrate the release of the CD!

Awaken! is based on an Aztec folk tale (The Lizard and the Sun), so the ancient culture of Mexico is a key element in the musical; many of the songs are styled after folkloric patterns, and some easily-understood Spanish vocabulary is woven into the songs and rhyming dialogue. The story focuses on the importance of the Sun to all living things, thus encompassing a strong “Earth Day” message. The protagonist (the Lizard) embodies the value of persistence, and proves that even someone very small can make a big difference to the world!

This show features students from Nuestro Mundo Elementary in Madison and students from Monona Grove schools as colorfully-masked animals and Aztec people. Veteran actors, singers and musicians from Kenland Players Theater anchor the production.

Three public performances of Awaken! are scheduled: May 7 (7 PM), May 8 (8 PM) and May 10 (2 PM). Special performances for school groups may be scheduled at the Goodman Community Center during the daytime on May 7 and 8. Pricing is very reasonable to begin with ($4 for kids and $6 for adults) but we take $1 off ticket prices for school groups of 10 or more.

Awaken! is suitable for all ages. I hope you'll help us to spread the word!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

UW Band Badger Blast - Waisman Center

UW Band Badger Blast at the Waisman Center

Sunday, May 3
2:15 p.m.
Wear your red and white and join the UW Band for and afternoon of Badger fun and music. Learn about the different instruments in the band and march throughout the garden.
Craft project, face-painting and fun for all!

Dane County Summer Farmer's Market opens

Dane County Summer Farmer's Market opens on Saturday, April 18th...Need I say any more???

Easter Bonnet Parade - Madison, WI

From the Capitol Kids website:

8th Annual Easter Hat Parade
April 11, 2009

You love parades…and this is the very best kind because you can be in the Easter Hat parade. Get your hat out of the closet, find your chapeau. Help welcome Spring to the Capitol Square.

The eighth annual Easter Hat Parade will be a low-key fun event for hat and bonnet wearers of all ages!

On the day of the parade decorate your own hat at home or stop by The Madison Children's Museum or Capitol Kids starting at 10:00 the day of the parade and make one.

Visit special animal guests from A-Z Farm in front of Capitol Kids, 8 South Carroll Street, starting at 11:00.

Stilt walking kids will lead the parade and volunteer musicians will provide music for marching. There are sure to be other surprises too.

Be sure to assemble for the Parade at 11:45 in front of Capitol Kids. The parade begins promptly at 12:00 noon.

The festivities start at Capitol Kids, 8 South Carroll Street, on The Capitol Square, Madison. Call Capitol Kids at 608-280-0744 for more information about the event and hat making open hours prior to the parade.