Atwood Summerfest

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, make sure to swing by Atwood Ave this Saturday for Atwood Summerfest taking place this Saturday, July 31 from noon – 7 pm (2000 and 2100 blocks of Atwood Avenue).

Come to our local street festival where Atwood Avenue “from the Barrymore to Schenks Corners” becomes a party. People of all ages come to dance and listen to our live music stages, enjoy summer-y and ethnic foods, buy local and handmade goods, play games, make art and of course, have a cool beverage or two. Every year there’s something new. On a beautiful summer day, it’s great to celebrate the neighborhood.

You can find more information and a complete music line up on the Goodman Community Center’s website.

Chipotle, at the top of the chain: Restaurant Review

This week’s restaurant review is a Bebe Meals first: a national restaurant chain. Normally reviewing a chain isn’t something I would consider because quite often it would defeat my purpose of helping parents find healthy ways to feed their bebes (and themselves). Yet recently I was contacted by a representative of Chipotle Mexican Grill, informing me that “they were the first national restaurant company to commit to serving naturally raised meat, local and organically grown produce, and the first to serve dairy (cheese and sour cream) made with milk from cows that are not treated with the synthetic hormone rBGH. …and Chipotle is introducing a kids menu as well!” Those are all things I like to hear so I decided that Dee, Bebe B and I would check it out.

We went to the Chipotle located on the East Side of Madison, Wisconsin one quiet Saturday afternoon. First of all we were pleased to see that in fact their meat, dairy and produce were sourced from organic and local sources as much as possible…this was even stated on their menu. The kid’s menu while basic was very well priced at $2.99 which included, rice, beans, chips and a drink. We choose the chicken and cheese quesadilla for Bebe B (anyone notice a quesadilla trend in Bebe B’s restaurant diet?) and an Organic Valley Chocolate Milk for a drink, they had Organic Valley 2% milk as well. It was the first time she had ever chocolate milk and she adored it! She gobbled up the rice but wasn’t too crazy about the beans. But then part of being an almost two year old is loving a food one day and hating it the next. She wasn’t too interested in the chips but I had fruit with me as well that she ate. The quesadilla went over well also and so I would absolutely count this as a successful lunch out. As for Dee and I we had veggie burritos which were very good although we could not finish them. Some other things of note, I love that they have recycling in their restaurants and that the little tray Bebe B’s meal came on was made of recycled paper. The location we went to was very clean as well as the restrooms, but it would have been nice if they had a changing station/ table.

I will admit when we go out, my first choice is not going to be a chain restaurant but sometimes it’s nice to have something affordable and fast that you can feel good about eating and feeding the little ones. I can honestly say Chipotle is going in my mental restaurant file as a good option for us when we want to go out to eat.

Footnote: This is a completely unbiased review, I received no compensation for this review. We paid for our meals ourselves.

Don’t forget to check out local mama Tara Verma’s Bebe Meals website for more restaurant reviews, Bebe Meals blog, and recipes!

Madison ❤ Kids

You may already be familiar with the Milwaukee ❤ Kids iPhone app authored by local mama Julie Henning (Kid-Friendly Madison) earlier this year. Now Julie’s released a similar app for Madison!

The Madison ❤ Kids iPhone App is available on iTunes for 99 cents. It contains over 550 photos and 26 author-generated pages of text. According to today’s article in the WSJ, “The app has 70 entries that provide a virtual tour of Madison kid-friendly activities.”

Sounds like a great resource to us! And, thanks to Julie, five lucky RM readers will have the chance to download the app for free! Comment by Saturday night telling us why you ❤ Madison, and we’ll randomly draw five winners (check back Monday to see if you’ve won and how to collect your free code!).

Tiffany and Maggie have both downloaded the app as well, so we’ll post a review of the Madison ❤ Kids iPhone App once they’ve had a chance to test it out. And we’re interested to hear what you think of the app as well!

Fun for babes under 1

RM reader Beth suggested we put together a list of fun places to take children under the age of 1. Such a great idea! I know I struggled to find places to bring Milena last year – especially during the winter months. Below is the list we came up with, but we’d love to hear from you as well!

Milena exploring Olbrich Gardens last summer

Madison Children’s Museum: Although the museum doesn’t open until mid-August, we already know the Wildernest area is going to be a great place for your little ones! The best part is that children over 5 years of age aren’t even allowed in this section of the museum unless they’re acting as “helpers” for the younger ones, so you won’t ever have to worry about the area being overtaken by school-aged children.

Wiggle Room: Held at the Westside Community Service Building in Sun Prairie (2598 W. Main Street), Wiggle Room takes place in the fall and winter. Appropriate for those over 6 months and under 6 years, Wiggle Room can be a bit chaotic at times, but there’s a nice separate area for younger children. It’s a great place for parents with more than one child! Admission is $1 per child.

Henry Vilas Zoo: The zoo is perfect for all ages! Plus, it’s free and open all year! And don’t forget about the indoor exhibits – they’re warm and inviting during the cold winter months.

Parent/baby groups at Happy Bambino: Although these groups are intended to be more for the parents than the kids, there are always lots of fun toys around! And Milena and Dahlia met most of their current friends in these groups (since Maggie and I met a lot of our friends there!).

Olbrich Botanical Gardens: The outdoor gardens are free (!) and open at 8 am during the summer (I know I’m always looking for something to do with my early-riser!). The Bolz Conservatory is a great place to go during the winter months! It opens at 10 am year round with a $1 admission for anyone 6 and up. (During Olbrich’s Blooming Butterflies – taking place now through Aug 8 – admission to the Bolz Conservatory is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 3-12, and free for children 2 and under).

Library Story Times: “Book Baby” storytimes are for children 0-15 months, while “Storytime for the Very Young” is for ages 0-35 months. Both include songs, stories and activities! (Check the events’ calendar for dates, times and locations. Some libraries require you to pre-register.) And we’ve found that the children’s section is always a great place to play as well!

So how about you? Where do your little ones love to explore and play?

Happy Bambino

I (Kat) have Happy Bambino to thank for preparing me and my husband for our journey into parenthood. It was through Happy Bambino’s events and classes that we found our doula (HB co-founder Lea Wolf), learned everything we needed to know about cloth diapering, and felt a bit more secure about the future (thanks to Estate Planning). If it wasn’t for Happy Bambino’s parent/baby groups (Cuddlebugs, Nightcrawlers, and Grasshoppers), I wouldn’t have all the wonderful mama friends I have today (including Maggie!) – and I probably would have gone a bit stir crazy those first few months had I not known there were other parents going through the exact same things!

And, of course, Happy Bambino sells a lot of fabulous products as well (both online and in their store)!

credit Happy Bambino

It’s also a great place to go for breastfeeding support and help with babywearing. I admit to sometimes stopping by just to visit and let Milena play in their play area. Honestly, Happy Bambino offers so many things for parents and babes alike, you just have to check it out for yourself! It’s so nice to have a store so welcoming to all families and so devoted to our community!

You can find out more about Happy Bambino’s products, classes and events on their website.

Happy Bambino is located at 4116 Monona Drive. (223-6261). They are open Monday – Thursday from 9 am – 8 pm, Friday 9 am – 5 pm, Saturday 10 am – 5 pm, and Sunday 11 am – 4 pm.

Concerts on the Square – Kids’ Area July 28

Concerts on the Square‘s 27th season with The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, led by Maestro Andrew Sewell, continues this Wednesday, July 28 beginning at 7 pm.

If you’ve never been to Concerts on the Square before, make sure to get there early so you get a good spot. We love enjoying this amazing (and FREE) experience with our families! And we’re really excited about this year’s Kids’ Area!

The Kids’ Area is located on the corner of North Pinckney Street and East Washington Avenue. Parents and guardians are encouraged to participate in the free activities and are required to accompany their children at all times.

Here’s what’s happening in the Kids’ Area this week:

Movement in your world!
leap! stretch! turn!

July 28, 2010 | 5:30 & 6:15
Madison Ballet – Gretchen Bourg
Join Madison Ballet for a fun creative movement experience
for the whole family! Use shapes, pathways, balance, and
rhythm to explore different ways to communicate through
dance.

Fine Dining Babies

Our Liliana was already one year old and a veteran restaurant diner by the time we opened our restaurant, so even though being KID friendly was a priority, being BABY friendly got overlooked.

So, three years later, we are back in the world of feeding a new eater at a restaurant, and Liliana’s can certainly feed even the tiniest customers.

The chefs came up with the Gourmet Baby, a nice little platter of fruits, veggies and cheese as well as a little bowl of tomato bisque. Charlie (our 8 month old) thoroughly enjoyed his dinner, and was able to snack off most of the food himself.

If you have littles, don’t forget to think of Liliana’s! Especially on Sunday Family Night where kids under 12 eat from the kids menu for free!
Here is the complete kids menu

Liliana’s Restaurant is a locally owned New Orleans style restaurant located at 2951 Triverton Pike Drive in Fitchburg (608)442-4444