Road Trip to Madison with Kids

Ah, Madison!  When isn’t it a fun road trip to visit Madison with kids?!

Whenever I return to Madison, it feels a bit like coming home.

Daddy O. and I called Madison home because we both went to college at UW-Madison. We first met on campus and actually lived in apartment buildings next to one another.  That’s the beginning of our love story in a nutshell.

Anyway, it is lovely to return to Madison as a couple and with our kids.

Most recently, we went as a family. I spent time with the kids at the Madison Children’s Museum.  It’s definitely one of our all time favorite museums that we’ve been to countless times through the years.

Now that our kids are getting older, they tend to gravitate to different exhibits, but still enjoy checking it out (yay)!

Madison Childrens Museum 2019

A few pictures from our visit to the Madison Children’s Museum

We love the rooftop garden with views of the state capitol (see top left image for a picture of my kids on the play structure on the roof).

I love the art space, where kids can create from a variety of up cycled materials. They made a raft and a sling shot with popsicle sticks and LOTS of glue.  At another station, daughter painted on the windows.  There are so many cool things to check out in the art area and throughout the entire museum.

It was our first time discovering this giant fish and a pretend play lake area.

We also checked out the Urb Garden this time, located right off of the lowest level.

Every time we go there, my kids pose with the animals near the front door.  This time they chose to hug and make a goofy face by the penguin.

Madison Childrens Museum penguins

Colorful penguin near the entrance of the Madison Children’s Museum

After playing and eating our packed lunch at the museum, we decided it was time for Babcock ice cream at Memorial Union.

We all picked a different flavor: chocolate, cookies and cream, chocolate peanut butter (my favorite), and mocha chocolate chip (pretty good).

And it wouldn’t be a visit to the terrace without a picture in the giant chair.

UW Memorial Union

Big Sister and Little Brother – so hard to get a nice picture. Mama and Daddy O. at the Terrace.

As you can see, even at ages seven and nine, we don’t always manage to have both kids smiling at the same time.

Daddy O. and I are pros though, even making a W with our feet!

Madison is such a lovely city, and we sure had a great visit as a family.  We may be grooming our kids to be future Badgers….just maybe.

#onWisconsin

 

Summer Trip to the North Woods

Hi!! I recently saw my blog’s renewal come through, and I realized it’s been forever since I’ve written (so says bloggers everywhere at some point during their blogging life).

I decided to share some beautiful photos and a few highlights from our camping trip in Wisconsin’s pristine north woods.  We ventured to Northern Highland – American Legion State Forest – the largest state forest in Wisconsin, spanning three counties and over 200,000 acres.  Our campsite was near Crystal Lake, north of Minocqua and Woodruff.

Just look at these huge trees around the site.

tall trees Northern Highland American Legion forest

My crew looked very happy before leaving on our hike. You can just see the hammock and our tent in the background.  We had to walk a bit from our car to access our campsite.

Happy hikers Go Mama O

Here’s a view of from our hike around Fallison Lake.  Simply Gorgeous.  Needless to say after 2.5 miles, my crew was not as eager to finish hiking.  Fortunately, we hiked with a bigger group of extended family, so the kids kept each other going, while the adults spaced out to accommodate different speeds.

Fallison Lake

View from the trail around Fallison Lake

After our hike, the kids enjoyed swimming in Crystal Lake, a small, peaceful lake without the noise of boat motors whirring across it.  Daddy O. and I borrowed kayaks from a family member and had fun paddling around.

In St. Germain, a short jaunt from our campsite, we spent time with a big group of family, enjoying numerous pot luck dinners and time to catch up.  On our way back from one such gathering, Daddy O. and the kids fished on a small pier.  We were the only people on the lake!

Fishing near St. Germain

Sunset view on a small lake near St. Germain

I read my book and took in the solitude of the evening.  We all watched a few mama ducks cross the lake with their babies in a long line behind them.  One baby duck let out loud squawks, upon being left behind, so mama duck and her babies circled back to rescue the lost baby.  The duck siblings seemed to celebrate his or her return to the line-up – a sweet scene. Fishing wise, there wasn’t much luck: only Big Sister caught one small fish.

We ended up spending some time in the city of Minocqua, eating at Minocqua Brewing Company and Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty.  The shanty was kitschy with red and white checked table cloths, up-north cabin decor, and all-you-can-eat family, style, hearty breakfast food.

Paul Bunyan Cook Shanty

Giant Paul Bunyan outside of the cook shanty.  You can’t miss it! 

One morning we grabbed some coffee at a place in Woodruff.  We sat outside on their back patio, savoring the view.

View from coffee shop northwoods

Another lake in the North Woods

All in all the camping trip and family reunion up in the north woods was a huge hit. While tent-camping for three nights IS a lot of prep and work, our family really has a lot of quality time together on these kinds of trips.  As our kids grow older, it may be more difficult to get away between sports and activities, which makes this time together even more special – just look at me and my sweet girl!

Mama O and Big Sister in the North Woods

Mama O. and Big Sister in the north woods

Cheers to summer, family-time and exploring together!