What to do in Fall/Winter in Madison

Let’s be honest, in Madison there are two seasons:  Summer and the rest of the year.  

Summer is great!  Festivals, beaches, sun…

As for the rest of the year…

Well, the rest of the year consists of a delightful combination of snow, rain, mud, slush, leaves, humidity, and then more snow.  I tend to hermit myself in the winter, or rather, when the weather is lousy.  It’s too easy to stay inside and veg out reading books for the SIX MONTHS THAT IT’S LIKE THIS instead of going out and doing great things.

So, like  my summer list, I am making a list of things to do to take advantage of our time in this lovely season.

Note: you may notice that this list is longer than my summer list.  This is because I am looking to not go insane for inspiration.

Enjoy!  

  • Go to Half Pint Resale to get all school clothes!  Woo hoo!
  • Gymnastics lessons for Liam (to work on more gross motor activites)
  • Fall leaves walk at Olbrich Gardens
  • Big birthday party for Liam in October
  • Apple Orchard (we used to go to Eplegaarden, but this one is simpler and easier.  Plus they have hayride events a few times 🙂
  • Hayride
  • Make applesauce together + can it
  • Trick or Treat on State Street
  • Get a great costume for Halloween
  • Have bonfire in backyard and roast marshmallows
  • Make vegan pumpkin pie together
  • Pumpkin picking at Schusters 
  • Rake leaves together and jump into piles
  • Make ginger molasses cookies together
  • Go to last outdoor farmers market
  • Go see Madison Ballet (normally way more expensive) at Kids in the Rotunda on Nov 12
  • Visit farm to get turkey together, see where the turkeys are raised
  • Make local only Thanksgiving for friends and family
  • Go to Winter Farmer’s Market
  • Teach Liam how to ice skate (we did it last year with more fighting than skating)
  • Sled at Olbrich park
  • Snowball fight
  • Decorate playroom with paper snowflakes
  • Make snow angels
  • Make a snow castle
  • Go to Olbrich Conservatory
  • Teach Liam and/or expose him to downhill skiiing
  • Teach Liam how to make a great snowman
  • Go to Christmas tree farm and cut down our own
  • Decorate Tree
  • Make presents for family members
  • Make cookie plates for friends
  • Make cookies for Santa
  • Buy new stockings and add special things to them
  • Make clay ornaments together
  • See Holiday Trains at Olbrich
  • Host New Years Eve Party, if we’re in town
  • Walk on frozen lake Monona
  • Go to Holiday in Lights at Olin Park
  • Long walk to find animal footprints in the snow
  • Build snow fort
  • Go to the Arboretum and discover
  • Make Valentines Day cards for classmates
And when things are getting to that LONG LONG period when there is still winter, but no fun holidays to distract you from the blah-ness of it all:
  • Play board games together
  • Illustrate a snowy day poem
  • Have winter movie marathon (Polar Express, Elf, Happy Feet, etc)
  • Make the whole room a fort
  • See Twinkle Twonkle at Overture Center 
  • Go to Madison Winter Festival
  • Force spring bulbs in jars so you can see the root growth
  • Go bowling
  • Go to Cave of the Mounds, where no matter what temp it is outside it is always 50 degrees inside here
  • Most people make gingerbread houses during the holiday season, I say that we make our after, when things have cooled down and you can go candy crazy!  Look here for a super easy way to make it!
  • Paint your own pottery studio
  • Try climbing for the first time at Boulders Climbing Gym
  •  Book camping trip for the summer
That’s all I’ve got for now… what are your thoughts?  Any winter must dos that I am missing here?

Celebrate Summer with the Madison Public Library

Every summer, the Madison Public Library celebrates the Summer Reading Club with two special events – the Summer Library Carnival and a concert and picnic at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Join them this year for some free, family fun!

Summer Library Carnival
Wednesday, July 27, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Celebrate reading at this event co-sponsored by Overture Center for the Arts and Madison Public Library. Enjoy a performance by Circus Manduhai at 10:30 am at Overture Center. Then, stop by the Central Library for carnival games, crafts and more! No registration is required.

One World, Many Stories Concert & Picnic

Tuesday, August 2, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Olbrich Botanical Gardens (3330 Atwood Avenue)

Pack a picnic supper and head to the Gardens for a fun-filled family concert! Come, rain or shine, at 6:30 pm to play with bubbles from Diane Schwartz’s Get Kids Outside. Then, at 7:00 pm, the Okinawan Taiko Drummers will get your toes tapping while you munch! No registration required. Weather permitting, the Kiwanis food cart will be on hand with food available for purchase.

{Part 3} Winner

Congratulations, Jenn Hackel! You’ve won our Atlas Improv, Liliana’s Restaurant, and Overture Center giveaway.

Please send us an e-mail with your mailing address, and we’ll send you a prize (along with info regarding the Overture tickets: raisingmadison@hotmail.com

Birthday Giveaway {Part 4} will be announced tomorrow morning!

Birthday Giveaway {Part 3}

This one’s for the parents! We all need a night out, away from the kids every once in awhile, right? Well here’s your chance!

This week’s winner will receive: Four free passes to Atlas Improv Company, a $50 gift certificate to Liliana’s Restaurant, and a certificate from Overture Center for the Arts good for tickets to one of a select group of shows in the 2011/12 season (more info on this prize will be sent to the winner).

Atlas Improv Company performs at 8 pm and 10 pm every Saturday at the Electric Earth Cafe. (Kat used to house manage for Atlas, and her husband Jess used to be a performer!)

Liliana’s Restaurant is a semi-fine dining New Orleans style restaurant located in Fitchburg, Wisconsin owned by RM blogger Tiffany and her husband Dave (the restaurant is named after their daughter, Liliana).

Overture Center for the Arts is a high-quality performing arts center located in downtown Madison. Overture Center offers performances for children and adults alike. The 2011/2012 season was just announced earlier this month.

To enter this giveaway, answer the following question in the comments (one entry per person. Please include your first & last name when commenting):

What is your favorite way to spend a date night when on a budget? or When money is no object?

Comments must be submitted by midnight on Friday, May 20. The winner will be chosen using random.org and announced Sunday, May 22.

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.

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.

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.