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.


Madison Area Single Parents

We at Raising Madison feel that it’s important for parents to have the opportunity to get together with like-minded individuals. Knowing that there are parents going through the exact same things you are can make your life seem just a little bit easier!

So we were excited to hear about Madison Area Single Parents.

According to local papa Jason Edge (creator of the Facebook page), “Madison Area Single Parents is aimed at both parents and kids. Meaning support for parents in any shape or form (simple discussion, advice, moral support, dating, etc.), and for promoting healthy parenting and activities.” Blended families are also invited to join, “as there is a whole new set of challenges there, and still an element of single parenting within those families.”

Having just been created this month, Madison Area Single Parents is still a small group, but it’s Jason’s hope that as more parents join, more activities, support, guidance, and discussion will become available.

You can join the Madison Area Single Parents Facebook page here.

Call for Reviews: Birthday Parties!

RM reader Katie recently asked if had done a post about good places to hold birthday parties, and we realized we hadn’t – although it’s something we’ve meant to do for months now! Thanks for the reminder, Katie!

We’ll compile a list of places and post something next month, but we’d love to hear from all of you as well! Please send your reviews to: raisingmadison@hotmail.com.

And don’t forget we’re still looking for reviews on classes for kids as well!

Call for Reviews: Classes

One of our favorite parts about the Raising Madison blog are the review posts! We enjoy sharing our favorites with you, and we love to hear about the different resources you’ve discovered. We think these first-hand reviews are what make RM different from many of the other parenting blogs out there, so we’re really excited to talk about our upcoming multi-post review topic: CLASSES!

There are so many great opportunities for local kids to get out and experience something new or dive into something they truly love. And we want to hear about them!

If your child takes a class for music, dance, art, cooking, yoga, etc, we’d love for you to e-mail us a review! Please include your child’s age in the review so our readers will have a better idea if that class is suitable for their child as well. And feel free to include a photo. You can e-mail your review to: raisingmadison@hotmail.com.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Because we did a review post on swimming lessons back in June, we’re not asking for those reviews. However, if you have something new to add, please e-mail us or add it to the comments on the lessons post!

Happy Groundhog Day/Blizzard 2011!

We don’t need the Groundhog to tell us that spring isn’t coming any time soon – we just need to look out our windows!

Late January is when the cabin fever really sets in at our house. By then we’ve depleted our winter-weather resources and are just itching to get outside in the warmth and sun and color!

Yesterday morning I decided that’s exactly what Milena and I needed: COLOR! So for breakfast we enjoyed some delicious rainbow pancakes:

After breakfast we read “Frederick”, the perfect snowy-day tale about a little mouse who gathers up colors and words and the sun’s rays while his mouse friends gather food for the winter. Then we looked at pictures and watched movies from this past summer, and we pointed out all the colors we saw (“Green grass!”, “Blue pool!”, “Pink flowers!”).

In the afternoon we made a rainbow during craft time, and Milena even painted a rainbow all on her own (see it?).

What activities do you plan for your kiddos during snowy days like today? How are your kiddos spending today’s snow day? Were you lucky enough to get a snow day from work as well? We hope you all stay safe and warm!

Madison Made

We at Raising Madison love shopping local, and we’re always so happy to come across a product that’s made locally as well. We’ve really enjoyed sharing our favorite local Etsy shops with you (here and here), so we’re excited to share some small, local companies which produce kid/family-friendly products. If your family has another favorite local company or has purchased something from the companies below, please share your experiences in the comments!

The Baby Foodies: Spices made specifically for kids

“After our pediatrician told us that adding spices to our baby’s food could help him develop his palate and lead to a lifetime of better eating choices, we were excited and headed straight to the supermarket. Turned out, it was tougher than we thought to find spices we knew were safe to mix into our son’s food. How do you even know what’s in there if the label just says “spices”?

The Baby Foodies is our answer to the problem. We searched for months to find the highest quality spices in their purest form, and then worked with an artisan, USDA regulated and certified small batch spice importer to create three custom blends that match well with tradition pureed baby food.

Our boutique, small batch seasoning blends can help parents safely introduce exciting new flavors because they are specially designed for infants. All spices in our blends are responsibly sourced and cryogenically processed to retain their ancient, natural benefits. In addition, The Baby Foodies blends are free of salt, sugar and any synthetic ingredients. We have taken care to provide parents with peace of mind – no “….oxides” and “polys…” to worry about.
And then we chose bpa-free glass bottles and printed our labels on corn (not petroleum) based labels. Good for your baby, good for the earth.”

To find out more about The Baby Foodies, check out the FAQ page and their catalog of products.

The Baby Foodies spices are available at both Willy St. Co-Op locations.

LuSa Organics (formerly Queen Bee Soaps).

“LuSa Organics began its journey as Queen Bee’s Earthly Delights in 1997. We changed our name to LuSa Organics in 2008 to combine our baby and body care products under a single cohesive line. At the same time, we took our products to a new level with organic ingredients. Organic is how we eat, how we live, and now how we run our business.

LuSa Organics and the Wolf clan are based in Viroqua, Wisconsin — arguably the most magical small town on earth.”

LuSa Organics has products both for baby (including baby soap, chin & cheek balm, and diaper care products) and for mama (including the belly balm Kat used through most of her pregnancy!). They also have products for the entire family, like soaps, bath salts, and lip balms.

LuSa Organics products are available on their website and at numerous Wisconsin retailers, including locally at the Dane County Farmers’ Market, Satara Baby & Satara Home, and the Madison Birth Center.

Mojowear (formerly Bernie’s Girl)

Mojowear is a home-based craft business offering reconstructed clothing, hand-dyed hand-stamped tee shirts and jewelry to folks who have a taste for something handmade and unique.

From the website: “Who am I? I’m Mo. A single mom of two, living in Madison, WI, where we really do drink too much beer and eat too much cheese. Currently, I am living my long-held dream of pursuing my business full-time and enjoying the freedom that brings.

I like the idea of not being wasteful, and I suppose that comes out in my work and my process. I try to find a use for every scrap of material I am currently using and maximize every second of my working time, since my energies have become more limited. I’m not much of a pattern-cutting, careful sort … I like to let it take its own form and I just help it along.”

You can see examples of the products Mo makes on her website.

Mojowear products are sold at numerous locations in and around Madison, including Happy Bambino and the Dane County Farmers’ Market.

The folks at Nicki’s Diapers make the Best Bottom diapers and Planet Wise Wet Bags.

“After years of experience, Nicki the owner of Nicki’s Diapers created a new diaper taking the pros of all the different diapering systems and eliminated the cons. This resulted in the Best cloth diaper system available – trimmest fitting and highly absorbent! To help reduce early confusion and that overwhelmed feeling when researching cloth diapers, the Best Bottom diapers has simplified cloth diapering while making one of the most economical systems. The Best Bottom one size diapering system is not a pocket diaper, not an all in one, not a fitted diaper and not a prefold system … it is the best of all types!”

“After years of research we developed a truly great wet bag that will not leak or wick at the seams. What makes Planet Wise Wet Bags different? They are the first and only wet bag on the market that are not only sewn but also SEALED!!! PATENT PENDING!! You can put your wet wipes, super wet diapers, swimwear, or anything really wet into these bags and they won’t leak or wick. We also took great care in picking the very best fabrics including matching zipper and waterproof layer.”

Nicki’s Diapers is located at 739 N. High Point Rd in Sauk Point Square (836-1211).

Rock-a-Thigh Baby: Kiddie socks that rock, and stay up on top!

Rock-a-Thigh Baby™ was created back in October 2007, by local mama Jennifer. It was during one chilly Wisconsin spring evening in 2007 that Jen recognized the need for a sock that gives full leg coverage and stays up and stays on little feet and legs.

Rock-a-Thigh Baby™ strives to be good stewards of the environment. They are mindful about our ecological footprint. Their socks are an environmentally friendly, sustainable textile product.
Rock-a-Thigh Baby™ feels strongly about supporting the U.S. textile industry and American jobs. They are proud to say that their socks, from the yarn to the manufacturer, are 100% made in the USA.
Rock-a-Thigh Baby™ supports the local, national, and global community. They believe a company has the privilege and duty to help others when success allows for it to do so. For Rock-a-Thigh Baby™, this includes donating 10% of every online sale to one of their several designated charities.

You can purchase socks at the Rock-a-Thigh Baby website, or locally at Happy Bambino or at Playthings. Their socks are also available in other stores nationally and internationally!

For more info on Rock-a-Thigh socks, check out the Why RTB Socks Rock! section on their website.

Willow Sprouts

Catherine Bolden created WillowPads and The Willow Store back in 2005. Shortly after launching WillowPads, Catherine expanded her product line to offer additional solutions for modern families, and WillowSprouts was born. WillowSprouts has grown to offer reusable nursing pads, baby wipes, and diapers. True to their mission, WillowSprouts emphasizes premium quality, with the greenest possible organic solutions. Their products are the greenest solutions, with nothing to throw away.

Their newest cloth diaper, Sprout Change, “is unlike any other diaper on the market. It is a truly innovative, patent-pending, reversible one-size diaper system. Our system is the easiest, most convenient reusable diaper available, that also happens to give you the best fit and ultra-trim absorbency, it’s premium without the price. And made in the USA.”

You can purchase Willow Sprouts products online or at numerous local retailers including Nicki’s Diapers and Happy Bambino.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from us at Raising Madison!

Did you make any resolutions regarding your family this year? One of my (Kat’s) resolutions is to make more, healthier meals for Milena (rather than the same thing every day), but really that will only work if Milena resolves to try new foods.

With a new year upon us (and lots of new RM readers over the past month), we want to hear what you would like to see on RM this year.

Wondering if Madison has a particular class/store/event?
What would you like to see reviewed this year?
Do you have anything you’d like to tell other parents about? Maggie, Tiffany and I readily admit to not knowing about everything family-friendly in Madison (!), so we love when our readers pass along info we can share with everyone else!

If you have an idea for a post, please leave it in the comments below or e-mail us at raisingmadison@hotmail.com.