Happy birthday, Raising Madison!

Today Tiffany, Maggie, Carousel and I are celebrating Raising Madison‘s first birthday! Hooray!

We are so thrilled and amazed that the little local parenting blog Tiffany and I started a year ago grew into this great resource for so many of you! Thank you for reading; thank you for sharing RM with your friends and family; thank you for all of your supportive and encouraging words. We love Madison! We’re so lucky to live in a city that embraces all families.

To celebrate (and to thank you, our loyal readers), Raising Madison is having a month of giveaways!* Every Monday in May, we’ll announce a new giveaway along with a question you can answer in the comments. You’ll have until midnight on Friday to respond, and we’ll use random.org to choose our winner (which we’ll announce Sunday morning). One entry per person, please (however you can enter as many giveaways as you want).

To start the birthday celebration off right, we’re giving away a coffee mug and gift certificate good for 1/2 dozen cupcakes from Bloom Bake Shop – a downtown Middleton small-batch local, organic, and fair-trade bakery offering cupcakes, brownies, whoopie pies, coffee, tea, and more! (and they offer delicious vegan and gluten free options as well!)

To enter, answer the following question in the comments below (remember, one entry per person, please):

– What was your favorite post made by Raising Madison this past year? or What would you like to see mentioned this year?

Comments must be received by midnight on Friday, May 6.

*Lots of love and thanks to all the local businesses that donated items for our giveaways: Atlas Improv Company, Bloom Bake Shop, Capitol Kids, Daisy Cafe & Cupcakery, Happy Bambino, Liliana’s Restaurant, Madison Children’s Museum, Nicki’s Diapers, Overture Center for the Arts.

Advertisements

Kids in the Rotunda – April 30

Overture Center’s Kids in the Rotunda is a series of free artistic programs designed for children and families which runs from the last weekend in September through April. This popular performing arts series on the Rotunda Stage offers a relaxed, kid-friendly environment in which to enjoy a diverse lineup of local and regional musicians, storytellers, jugglers, theater troupes, magicians and dancers. The programs run every Saturday at 9:30 am, 11 am and 1 pm (each performance lasts around 45 minutes). The 1 pm performances are sign language interpreted.

This week’s performer is KG & The Ranger (Cowboy songs, yodeling & rope tricks) *This is the last KITR of the season!

Cowboy heroes and the west come to life when KG and the Ranger sing classic cowboy songs, yodel in harmony and demonstrate trick rope-spinning. This popular show will take families on a lighthearted and magical musical journey out west. This dynamic duo has been performing nationally at cowboy events across the United States for almost 20 years and brings their wranglin’ expertise to the Rotunda. KG and the Ranger will have audiences of all ages toe-tapping and yelling ‘Yee haw!’

Art After Overture Saturday from 9 am – 5 pm. Stop by the Central Library for art activities, special book displays and more, inspired by performances at Overture Center for the Arts’ Kids in the Rotunda series. Activities will be available from 9 am-5 pm in the Children’s Room. This FREE event takes place every Saturday after Kids in the Rotunda.

Sneak Peek at the new Fitchburg Public Library

This past week we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at the Fitchburg Public Library (set to open in June)!

Just blocks from our house, we are thrilled this huge (!!!!!) modern library is coming to our community. We have been lucky to have the bookmobile spot for our area be literally at the end of our driveway so this library is actually farther away for us, but we look forward to a short walk or bike ride to the enormous childrens area, the “storytime” room, and workshops and the sense of community this library will bring to a city without a “downtown” or main street area.

Some of the most exciting things I learned about the tour:
-Library director, Wendy Rawson, is knowledgable, passionate and really open to community input on content and programming.
-The building is heated and cooled using geothermal wells
-MG&E is working on finding the right solar technology to supply electricity
-Friends of Fitchburg Library will keep a wall of donated books for sale in a nook under the stairs.
-A separate teen area with computers, lounge and gaming systems.
-The quiet reading room. equipped with comfy seating, a large fireplace and a fantastic large picture window, this was my favorite space.
-A beautiful and substantial portion of the library is dedicated to childrens literature, and features a lovely storytime room.
-This library has plenty of bathrooms. including a family restroom with a kids potty in the childrens area (yay!)
-Select shelves in the childrens area will display books front covers rather than spines for easy selection by non-readers
-Food and covered drinks are allowed in the library!!!! Hallelujah! Your kids can bring their sippies! You can bring coffee so you can keep up with your kids and their sippies! The library has vending machines, including a coffee machine, on the first floor.

The entry to the childrens area. The blue area at the end is the story/craft area! Exciting!

This is the quiet reading room I plan to use to hide from my children and read something other than "Brown Bear" and "Olivia."

Information about the building process is available here. (check out photo 4!!)

More information and updates are available at: http://fitchburgcitylibrary.com/index.asp

For the next few months until opening, the best way to submit questions or comments is through the library’s contact page.

Rushing Waters Fishery

We are continuing our family effort to find local sustainable sources for our food. We took a little adventure out to Rushing Waters Fishery in Palmyra (about a one hour drive) to check out our favorite source for delicious trout. We were thrilled to find a clean and modern facility with friendly staff and healthy well treated fish.

Liliana (our 4.5 year old) was over-the-moon excited to find that they offer fishing in their lovely little trout ponds! She has been asking to go fishing for about a year (we dont know where she got this idea, but she has been convinced fishing will be the most fun ever!)  and we were happy to oblige since we had a nice guide helping us.

The pond they allow fishing in is FULL of fish, and Lily caught 3 fish in about 10-15 minutes. We joked it was instant gratification fishing, perfect for a young child! We had so much healthy outside family fun, and prices were reasonable, we spent about $20 for a morning full of fun (we paid for rented poles, nets, buckets and bait) and several pounds of fresh caught fish.

Rates:
*Your own equipment and bait is not allowed*

Pole Rental: $2.00/pole. (Wednesdays, pole rental is free.)

Worms: $2.50/dozen

Fish: $5.50/pound (live weight)

You must keep what you catch.

Cleaning: $1.00 per fish dressed or $1.50 per fish filleted

Take your catch home and clean it yourself if you wish. They will put it on ice to keep it fresh on your trip home. No additional charge.

[contact them] for information on group rates or reservations for groups of 20 or more.

To make this a most enjoyable event for everyone, please observe the following rules:

– You must keep what you catch – no throw-backs
– Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult
– No swimming! If we find you in the pond, we shall assume you are a trout and pan-fry you.
– No alcoholic beverages
– No pets
– Park and fish only in designated areas
– Have fun!!

Rushing Waters Fishery is located at N301 County Road H in Palmyra, WI.
Toll Free: 800-378-7088; Tel: 262-495-2089

Kids in the Rotunda – April 23

Overture Center’s Kids in the Rotunda is a series of free artistic programs designed for children and families which runs from the last weekend in September through April. This popular performing arts series on the Rotunda Stage offers a relaxed, kid-friendly environment in which to enjoy a diverse lineup of local and regional musicians, storytellers, jugglers, theater troupes, magicians and dancers. The programs run every Saturday at 9:30 am, 11 am and 1 pm (each performance lasts around 45 minutes). The 1 pm performances are sign language interpreted.

This week’s performer is David Landau (Songs & storytelling)

Welcome David Landau to Kids in the Rotunda! A beloved local professional musician and teacher, David Landau’s music is the winner of the Parents’ Choice Award and two Best of Madison-Children’s Musician Awards. You may recognize him from his first-grade teaching days or from the Cork ‘n’ Bottle String Band, a Madison favorite! His hilarious stories, catchy songs, and energetic dances have been known to give families serious cases of the giggles!

*Next week (April 30) will be the last Kids in the Rotunda until fall.

Art After Overture Saturday from 9 am – 5 pm. Stop by the Central Library for art activities, special book displays and more, inspired by performances at Overture Center for the Arts’ Kids in the Rotunda series. Activities will be available from 9 am-5 pm in the Children’s Room. This FREE event takes place every Saturday after Kids in the Rotunda.

Eco-Friendly Family {The Heides}

Our family (Tiffany, Dave, Liliana age 4.5 and Charlie age 18 months) have become more and more eco-friendly with seemingly every decision we’ve made as parents. Cloth diapers or disposables (and then to line dry or use a dryer!) Making our own baby food vs buying premade? Natural laundry soap?  Growing our own food or buying organic? Buying organic cotton, choice of sunscreen lotions and diaper creams … the list goes on, and the older the kids get, the more complicated it seems to be. Whatever we do we seem to be making huge negative impacts on the planet our kids are living on!

Dave loves the native american proverb “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”  and I think its a nice way to prioritize while we do our best as parents to get through the hustle and bustle of everyday intact.

So we cloth diaper our kids and use natural soaps. We shop at the farmer’s market, and we turn off lights and electronics when we aren’t using them. We bought a new home to be closer to our business and found Lily a preschool a block from home, we try to walk/bike rather than drive when we can. We have a few new exciting eco-friendly projects going on that we’re having fun with:

Seedlings:

We love fresh vegetables! Our kids are great at trying new things and we love teaching through doing, so last spring while there was still snow on the ground we planted seeds in our living room and waited for little green specks in our little pots of dirt. We had our successes (tomatoes!) and failures (squash and eggplants, boo),  and we are excited about our new little sprouts this year. We planted beans, sugar snap peas, hot peppers, belle peppers, several kinds of tomatoes, cucumbers, chives, dill, basil and brussels sprouts.

Chickens:

So I’m assuming we’re all parents here, so you can truly understand the level of sheer joy when we woke our 4 year old with a tiny box full of 16 one-day-old chirping baby chickens, fresh from the post office. It was the cutest thing ever.

We decided to keep chickens at our home to provide eggs for our family as well as supplementing the eggs we buy in for our restaurant. I kept a chicken when I lived in California and loved my sweet little chicken, who gave me a blue egg every day.

We are lucky that a group of dedicated people have already done lots of work to make Madison and surrounding areas chicken-friendly and they continue to provide lots of information and help at madcitychickens.com.

We find new ways every day to waste less, to impact less. We look at ways to consume less, but the best way we’ve found to start is looking at what we can stop putting in the garbage. For example, using cloth diapers saves tons of diapers from the trash. Bringing reusable bags to store saves us throwing out lots of plastic bags. Buying whole foods is saving us from throwing away lots of excess packaging on processed foods. Which brings us to our next big adventure: composting! We’ll let you know how that goes!

Wisconsin Historic Sites and Museums Passport

Has anyone purchased a Wisconsin Historic Sites and Museums Passport? It sounds like a great deal for any family that takes a lot of day trips in Wisconsin.

Here’s the info from the site:

“Season passports to the historic sites and museums could save you a bundle if you have plans to include two or more visits in your day trip or vacation plans.

A season’s worth of travel, adventure and heritage for a bargain price of $70 for a family or $35 for an individual. That’s a savings of more than 60 percent off individual admission rates! And they make great gifts for friends and family.

From Madeline Island to Mineral Point, this all-sites pass is your ticket to a season of heritage travel that you won’t soon forget.”

Historic Sites and Museums
-Circus World, Baraboo
-First Capitol, Belmont
-H.H. Bennett Studio, Wisconsin Dells
-Madeline Island Museum, La Pointe
-Old World Wisconsin, Eagle
-Pendarvis, Mineral Point
-Reed School, Neillsville
-Stonefield, Cassville
-Villa Louis, Prairie du Chien
-Wade House, Greenbush
-Wisconsin Historical Museum, Madison

According to the website, most historic sites and museums maintain a May to October seasonal schedule, so now would be a great time to purchase a passport for your family!