Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolution for 2009: More Fruit Covered in Chocolate

Our daughter loves to help prepare almost every meal and tonight's New Year's Eve meal needed something sweet to wrap up 2008. We opened up our copy of Favorite Brand Name Simple Recipes for Kids and decided on the Mud Hole Dunk which is fruit dipped in melted chocolate frosting, and then rolled in sprinkles.

You'll need:
  • Chocolate Frosting
  • Fruit
  • Sprinkles (We had lots of left over sprinkles from Christmas cookies)
  • Wax paper
The shortened version of the simple recipe is:
  1. Warm up some store bought frosting(don't use whipped) in the microwave for 15-20 seconds until it is melted
  2. Dip the fruit in the frosting and roll it in the sprinkles
  3. Put it on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper and then in the fridge until the frosting is set

Free swimming the rest of the week at SwimWest in Madison, WI

One of the preschool parents passed this on to us. SwimWest Swim School has free admission to their pool the rest of the week for a donation of one non-perishable food item per person. Here are the details from their web site:

Holiday Family Swim Food Drive

Join SwimWest over the Christmas holiday break for open swim and help us fill the Middleton Outreach Ministry's food pantry.

For a minimum donation of one non-perishable food item per person you can join us for FREE family swim at the Madison location!

If you have any questions, please call us at 831-6829

*Only a few days left to join us!*

We invite you to join our Family Swim Food Drive during these times:
Wednesday Dec 31: 9:00am - 3:00pm
Thursday Jan 1: CLOSED
Friday Jan 2: 9:00am - 4:45pm
Sat Jan 3 / Sun Jan 4: Noon - 4:45pm

The Madison location is:
Swim West Family Fitness Center
1001 Deming Way
Madison, WI 53717
(608) 831-6829

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A New Year, A New Kiddogogo

Happy New Year everyone! We're starting the new year with a new web site. The original Kiddogogo site was built to let families tell other families about the places they like to visit and hang out. It was a lot of fun to build and read, but the format of only reviewing places was limiting, and navigating issues following our first ISP's decision to move all it's hosting to another provider took up way more time than we would have liked. We've decided to switch over to a more traditional blog format so we can write about not only great kid-friendly places that we visit, but also fun activities, other web sites, and events.

We've archived the posts from the old site on the new site so you can still read the reviews that our contributors wrote. We really want to thank the contributors for letting everyone know about the great places where their families have fun together:

j rose
Media Ninja

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Eplegaarden in Fitchburg, WI

Eplegaarden is a farm just south of Madison. There are several pumpkin patches and an apple orchard for picking apples. We had a good time picking out pumpkins on a beautiful October afternoon. Unfortunately, we didn't bring a lot of cash or our checkbook and had to leave three of them behind since they don't take credit or debit cards. The hours also are different depending on the day. The hours on the web site are not the same hours that were posted at the farm. The farm pretty much closes at 5 p.m. Tuesday - Sunday according to the web site although the sign that was posted said they are open until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays the week we were there.

2227 Fitchburg Rd
Fitchburg, WI
(608) 845-5966

Monday, August 18, 2008

Splash Park at Lakeview Community Park in Middleton, WI

Today, the girls and I tried out the new splash park located in Lakeview Community Park in Middleton. We had such a good time! There's plenty of room to run around in the sprinklers and get wet. There's also enough open space between sprinklers, so if you want to stay dry, you can. Plenty of benches to sit and take a break and have a snack. The splash park is free, which is especially nice. Lakeview Park itself is a wonderful park. It has a great shady playground area, a pond and paths to walk. Fantastic place! Wish we had discovered it earlier in the summer.

Splash Park @ Lakeview Community Park
6300 Mendota Ave
Middleton, WI 53562

(Thanks for the review Julie!)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hands On Art Studio in Fish Creek, WI

The Hands on Art Studio is a very cool paint-it-yourself ceramics studio out in the country near Fish Creek in Door County. The studio is in an old barn. There were all kinds of projects large and small to choose from. Our family picked a large platter, a fairy, and a cupcake container for about $40 with an additional $7 per person sitting fee. There was plenty of room for our group of 30 and the other customers. The staff handled all of us with a smile. Just a hint for when you pick up your pieces the next day: put an initial or mark someplace inconspicuous on your pieces so you can tell which ones are yours.

There are real artists working in other parts of the property which was inspiring to those of us whose calling is not in the arts. There is a small snack bar, and goats and horses that the kids can feed.

Hands On Art Studio
3655 Peninsula Players Rd
Fish Creek, WI
(888) 868-9311

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) in Madison, WI

MSCR offers a wide variety of programs for kids as well as adults. We have taken a few classes including Pre-Ballet, Parent/Child Art and currently, our three year old is enrolled in a swimming class called Shrimp Dip. It is a parent/child class, which means a parent or other adult needs to go in the water with her and participate. Basically, you are your child's teacher. She is loving it and will even let me pull her hair back for class, which is a MAJOR accomplishment!! The classes are reasonably priced (I think swimming was about $30 for 8 weeks). A new MSCR guide comes out every season. I think I may enroll myself in an exercise class. It's something you should check out. They have something for everyone.

Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR)
3802 Regent St
Madison, WI 53705
(608) 204-3000

(Thanks for the review Julie!)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, WI

Olbrich Botanical Gardens is one of my family's favorite places to go, all year round. Last week we went to see their spring flower show entitled "Springtime Skyline: An Urban Oasis". A rooftop garden is all set up with beautiful flowers, including daffodils, tulips, violas and hydrangea. It was wonderful to step out of winter and into spring, if just for a little while. The show is free but a $2 donation is suggested. Here's a link to the spring flower show, if you would like to read more about it:

We also wandered through the Bolz Conservatory, which is like stepping into a tropical rainforest. It is so warm and balmy, it helps you beat your winter blues. There's a waterfall, which falls into a goldfish and Koi pond and stream, which always captivates my girls. Sophie loves running around in the rain forest. The Conservatory is $1 per person, kids 5 and under are free. It is also free to Garden members.
In the spring, summer and fall we like to stroll (or run, as Sophie does!) through the beautiful outdoor gardens. It's a great place to wander through and enjoy the flowers and plant life. A fabulous place to be outdoors.

Olbrich Gardens does have a special events. Our favorite is Blooming Butterflies. It starts in the the lobby, where they have butterfly displays set up to enjoy, then the conservatory where they house live butterflies!! It's an amazing sight! Then out to the gardens to collect stamps to fill your Butterfly Passport. Find butterflies in their native habitat throughout the gardens, and earn a custard cone from Michael's Frozen Custard! Who can beat that!!
Make sure you check out the Olbrich Gardens website, which is listed below. A great family outing.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave
Madison, WI 53704
(608) 246-4550

(Thanks for the review Julie!)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Build-A-Bear Workshop in Madison, WI

My girls and I recently attended a birthday party for a friend of the girls' at Build-A-Bear Workshop at West Towne Mall. It was tons of fun. The girls each got to pick whatever animal they wanted, a sound to put inside the animal, and an accessory for their new friend. They helped put the stuffing in and then chose a heart to put inside their animal before it was "stitched" up. They have all kinds of cute outfits to go with the animals, of course, that you can purchase extra. We got a pink Sleeping Beauty dress, as we are going through the princess stage right now. Then, a name was picked, a birth certificate was printed and they were sent home in their own special "house". A very cute idea for a party. I would consider hosting one there.

Build-A-Bear Workshop
50 W Towne Mall
Madison, WI 53719
(608) 833-0200

(Thanks for the review Julie!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton, WI

Pheasant Branch is a sprawling conservancy in the city of Middleton. The north end of the conservancy is a large, roughly square park. The southern portion is a narrow stretch of woods snaking through Middleton. It's got a good gravel path for walking or biking, and has great shade in the summer. Skiing is available in the winter.

Parisi Park sits just south of the intersection of the conservancy and Park Street, and there's another small park at the very northern end of the conservancy. The nearby Middleton Aquatic Center (waterslides!) and tennis courts make this a good day trip for a family looking for a variety of activities.

Pheasant Branch Conservancy
4864 Pheasant Branch Rd
Middleton, WI 53562

(Thanks for the review Honkus!)

Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, WI

We took a ride on the annual "Snow Train" from the railway museum last weekend. Our son loved it - the train was filled with lots of small children, there was a lot to see, and the ride was the perfect length. Fifty minutes was long enough that it was still fun for the kids, but not so long that they got too squirrely.

"Conductors" and "Engineers" walk around in full regalia, which is also fun for the kids. It's relatively inexpensive, and there's a decent gift shop where you can buy a wooden train whistle. Even in the winter, the steam heat kept the cars toasty. The museum itself is sort of in the middle of nowhere - they have many old trains on the grounds, and a larger museum that we didn't duck into. We just wanted the train ride. If you've got kids who are even mildly interested in trains, check out their daily rides this summer.

Mid-Continent Railway Museum
E8948 Diamond Hill Road
North Freedom, WI 53951

(Thanks for the review Honkus!)

Flat Top Grill in Madison, WI

The Flat Top Grill stir fry bar is a healthy alternative to burger and fries. The menu lists combinations of ingredients from the stir fry bar to create the different dishes in it. You walk up to the stir fry bar, fill your bowl with the ingredients, and add different colored sticks to let the cooks know what options you would like. They fry it up and then it is brought back to your table. The only tricky part of the whole experience is how to pick out the food, put it in a bowl, and carry it and a squirmy baby over to the cook.

Overall, it's a pretty inexpensive lunch and the food was fairly healthy and tasty. Kids under 10 eat free all day on Mondays.

Flat Top Grill
534 N Midvale Blvd
Madison, WI 53705
(608) 236-0500

The Village Green in Middleton, WI

Traditional Sconnie table fare can be had at the Village Green in downtown Middleton. This is a very kid-friendly place with two exceptions: they're not open on Sundays, and the bar allows smoking, hence the 4 stars.

The staff is attentive yet laid back, while the clientele is also relaxed and typically family-friendly. There are lots of yummy foods like fried cheese curds for the kids, and there are also a couple of video games. The interior is decorated with trains, trains, and more trains. Best of all, they serve great burgers on sheets of waxed paper and have Capital seasonal on tap! The bathrooms are small, so change your young 'uns before you go if possible.

The Village Green
7508 Hubbard Ave
Middleton, WI 53562
(608) 831-9962

(Thanks for the review Honkus!)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Portrait Innovations in Middleton, WI

If you are looking for a place to get your kids pictures taken, this is the spot. I've taken my girls there numerous times and have had wonderful results each time. I just had them in for our baby's one year pics and some Valentine's pics of both of them, and they turned out adorable. The photographers spend a nice amount of time taking pictures on different backgrounds. There's no sitting fee, and you can add as many people that you want to the pictures. So if you want to get a couple taken of you with your kids, you can do that for free. They also encourage you to bring a change of outfits for your kids. You get to see and pick your picks immediately and receive your pictures that same day. Plus, the cost is VERY reasonable. I spent much less on these sets of pictures than I did on my first child's one year pics that were taken elsewhere. Much less. There is a lego table in the waiting area to keep the kiddos occupied while you're picking pictures. My oldest loves it. I highly recommend Portrait Innovations!! It's a fabulous place.

Portrait Innovations
1701 Deming Way
Middleton, WI 53562
(608) 824-8720

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Vitense Golfland in Madison, WI

This place has two outdoor mini-golf courses, a rockwall and batting cages outside. Inside, there is another mini-golf course and a few chuck-ee-cheese type games (skee ball, etc).

The courses are all pretty fun, and going inside here to play games in the winter doesn't have that same overwhelming feeling that chuk-ee-cheese gives me.

There's a snack bar too.

(they also have a par 3 golf course and a driving range for adults)

Vitense Golfland
5501 W Beltline Hwy
Madison, WI 53711
(608) 271-1400

(Thanks for the review Anne!)

Monday, January 14, 2008

East Towne Mall in Madison, WI

Most malls have places to take kids or find things for your kids. East Towne Mall has a couple: Cyber Station, a video arcade, and Pawsenclaws, a make your own bear store that also hosts birthday parties. East Towne also has Gymboree and Children's Place to get clothes and nice Barnes and Noble (with coffee shop of course) where kid's can look at books.

One of the cool, free things that kids can do at East Towne Mall is play several mini-games projected on a 4'x6' floor. The projector detects where the kids are moving and then the game reacts. The games aren't very long or complex. There is hockey, soccer, a mouse maze, and a soon to be classic stomp the ninja monkey game. Some of the games are creative too. One game consists of kicking paint blobs around. We spent the good part of an hour watching the girls play.

Parents shouldn't underestimate the indoor mall as a place to shake off cabin fever during the short days of winter. It's free, and you can push the stroller around with a good cup of coffee without trying to wrap a ski glove around your latte.

East Towne Mall
89 E Towne Mall
Madison, WI 53704
(608) 244-1387