Do you live Barefoot?

When Milena was a baby, some of our favorite books to check out from the library were the “Cleo the Cat” books, and our car rides were filled with the sounds of Putumayo CDs. It wasn’t until recently that I realized they (plus many of our other favorite books) were from the same publisher: Barefoot Books. I was even more excited to learn that Barefoot Books offers their readers a chance to become Barefoot Books Ambassadors, allowing me the chance to work from home while doing what I love: staying at home to raise my daughter while sharing these wonderful stories with my friends and neighbors!

Barefoot Books products are all about exploring our planet, other cultures, and ourselves. As an avid reader who’s mother to a 2 year old who already has an expansive library, I know how difficult it is to buy books for a book lover. Barefoot Books make great gifts, because they’re not available in most stores (although they’re so lovely, you may be tempted to keep them for your own family!).

As your local Barefoot Books Ambassador, I can help you find the perfect books for your kids or just the right collection of products to give as a gift. You can order online through my personal marketplace (KidsReadBarefootBooks.com). If you live in the Madison area, you can also order directly through me. I’m also available for home parties, fundraisers, and more! You can follow me on Facebook: Kids Read Barefoot or e-mail me for more information: kidsreadbarefootbooks@gmail.com.

Do you live Barefoot? I’d love to hear about your family’s favorite Barefoot Books products!

Mikayla’s Grace

Mikayla’s Grace is a local non-profit that supports families with a baby in the NICU and those who have experienced the death of an infant at Madison Area hospitals by providing NICU care packages and angel memory boxes that offer both practical and emotional support for the parents.

The organization was started by Mike and Melissa Terrill and was initially inspired by their second child Mikayla Grace who was born too soon at 24 weeks, and went to her Heavenly home after a short 36 hours with them on this earth. Their first donation was to St. Mary’s Hospital in where their daughter Mikayla was born. In memory of Mikayla’s first Heavenly birthday on June 24, 2011 they donated 12 Angel memory boxes, 20 NICU care packages, 66 books, and 28 gowns with matching booties and hats. They are currently working on our goal to donate another 20 angel memory boxes and 20 NICU care packages on October 7, 2011. Go here to see how you can help. You can also help support Mikayla’s Grace (and the families it helps) in other ways:

Mikayla’s Grace is hosting the first ever Forever in Our Hearts Remembrance Day in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month here in the Madison area on October 15th. This Remembrance Day is to honor families who have lost babies through pregnancy, stillbirth, or in early infancy. This event is being planned by local bereaved parents and our non-profit because October is the nationally recognized month of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness as proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. October 15th was then envisioned as a day for families and friends to come together to remember and honor babies who left this world too soon. You can read more about it on the website.

Mikayla’s Grace is also currently up for the Pepsi Refresh Project with the opportunity to win a $5000 grant. This grant would allow them to to donate a year supply of NICU care packages and Angel memory boxes to BOTH St. Mary’s and Meriter hospitals in Madison.

In order to win this grant, Mikayla’s Grace needs to get enough votes to be one of the top 20 projects in their category. Anyone can vote, for up to five different projects each day, from now until September 30th in three different ways. So each person could vote for the organization three ways each day.

People can vote three ways each day, at this link:
http://www.refresheverything.com/mikaylasgrace

1. By signing in with their Facebook login
2. By signing in with a Pepsi Refresh account (takes just a few minutes and they do not send spam mail)
3. Texting 108258 to Pepsi (73774) to vote from a mobile phone (Standard text rates apply).

You can also POWER VOTE by entering in codes from underneath the caps of Pepsi bottles or on the packages of multipacks.

Just Between Friends Local Consignment Event

Didn’t find what you were looking for at the fall Half-Pint Resale or Moms of Multiples sale? Well, get ready for the HUGE Just Between Friends/Dane County East Kids and Maternity Consignment Sale. The event is back at the Waunakee Village Center this fall.

The event kicks off with presales on Thursday, September 29. The public sales run on Friday, September 30 (9am-6pm), Saturday, October 1st, (9am-6pm, 25% off sale) and Sunday, October 2nd (9am-noon, 50% off sale). A special sales event for first-time parents, grandparents and foster parents is planned for Friday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 with door prizes including a new $250 stroller.

Just Between Friends/Dane County East is doing its part to help area families turn their unneeded items into cash. Consignors price their own items and tag them using a free, easy, online bar code system. They can earn 65% of the sales price, 70% if they volunteer.

The event brings together thousands of new and gently used children’s and maternity items and makes them available for other families to purchase at great prices. Families will find great deals clothing, costumes, baby equipment and furniture, DVDs, books, toys, bags and much more. This and other locally-owned and operated JBF events help thousands of families save money each year. In addition, many consignors chose to donate their unsold items to a local charity extending the benefits to families even further.

Come shop and save at the JBF Dane County East sale at the Waunakee Village Center (333 S. Madison St., Waunakee, WI). Contact us through JBFDCEast@gmail.com, on Facebook, danecountyeast.jbfsale.com or www.jbfsale.com.

Also, watch for their first ever Winter/Holiday event at the East Side Business Club in Madison from November 12-14.

MadisonMamas.com

There’s a new resource for Madison area parents! MadisonMamas.com is a website that lists hundreds of links for pregnancy, groups, classes, activities, fitness, services, dining and shopping. Features showcase local events, specials, books, project ideas, recipes, decor, new products and much more. You can also post questions and comments to other local parents on their Facebook page: Madison Mamas

I’ve already found the website extremely useful for finding new kid-friendly places to shop and eat in the area. The site is so well organized, it’s simple to find exactly what you’re looking for. And I love the “Features” section – it’s given me some great ideas! (and MadisonMamas.com was kind enough to feature RM blogger – and local Barefoot Books Ambassador – Kat yesterday! Thanks, ladies!)

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?

Pipers in the Prairie

Engage your senses and rejoice in the season at Pipers in the Prairie, the Aldo Leopold Nature Center’s spectacular fall fundraising gala, Saturday, September 17 from 4:30 – 8 pm.

This family friendly event offers a unique and unforgettable seasonal celebration unlike anything in Madison! he eveningg commences with harvesthors d’oeuvress, Irish dance demonstrations, nature activities for the kids, a silent auction and scotch tasting, as Celtic music enchants with its ethereal and enchanting melodies..

As twilight descends, guests will hear a faint beating of drums in the distance. As they assemble outside the beat grows louder and faster – then suddenly stops – silence! Anticipation rises as a lone piper is heard in the meadow – other bagpipers from the Madison Pipes and Drums and Celtic Brigade Pipe Band, in full regalia, join him as they march up the trails to serenade the guests and lead them to the bonfire wood. Suddenly the wood pile erupts into a magnificent bonfire and lights up the night sky with its brilliance, and the threat of old man winter is driven off for at least one more day.

Don’t miss this unforgettable evening of enchanting and unique entertainment featuring:

-Complimentary Wine, Beer and Non-Alcoholic Beverages

-Hearty Hors D’oeuvres & Decadent Desserts

-Tasting and Judging of Highland Libations

-Captivating Celtic Music by West Wind

Nature-Themed Silent Auction / online & onsite (bidding now open! See below.)

-Nature Activities for Children

-Prairie Drama by the Green Man

-Irish Dance by Cashel Dennehy

-Pipers in the Prairie & Drummers on the Drumlin

-Spectacular Festival Fire and more!

Registration:
608-221-0404×3
Registration Form

Fee:

Adult/$75
Child (5-17)/$25
Toddler/free

* All proceeds directly benefit children’s programming at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center.

The Pipers in the Prairie Auction is now open for bidding. There are tons of exciting, one-of-a-kind packages to choose from, featuring art, tickets, collectibles, sporting goods, gardening tools, gift certificates and more from over 100 local businesses and artists!

The auction is open now until noon on Sunday, September 18. There are still dozens of packages that haven’t been bid on, and they’re adding new packages weekly, so bid today to get great deals on exclusive packages and support our children’s educational programs here at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center.

Bidding is easy too! Just click here and you’ll be directed to the auction site. If you have questions, feel free to e-mail devcomm@naturenet.com or 608-216-9374.

The Aldo Leopold Nature Center is located at 330 Femrite Drive, Monona.

Madison Public Library Fall Kidspages

The Fall 2011 issue of Library Kidspages is now available. Grab a paper copy at any Madison Public Library location or print it off from the web site. The Fall 2011 Library Kidspages lists all of the events from September 1 through December 31 for children ages 0-12 at the Madison Public Library. Copies in Spanish are also available here.

Want to receive notices of upcoming programs by age? Sign up for the email newsletters – Library Kids, Books for Five Year Olds, Booked for Teens, and others.