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2020 Farms, Pumpkin Patches & Orchards | Greater Madison Area

Fall in Wisconsin is pretty fantastic! And one of our favorite family activities is to visit the local farms, pumpkin patches & orchards. Luckily there are lots of places like that right here in the Greater Madison Area!

There are so many farms and orchards in the Madison area that I’m just going to list them. Feel free to let us know which ones you’ve been to and enjoyed in the comments below!

*This Guide is sponsored by our featured farms. We so appreciate the support of the community and the opportunity to present our readers with valuable resources such as these!

Treinen Farm

Now more than ever we need to connect with family and friends, and realistically, being outdoors is the safest option in 2020. The Treinen Farm, the area’s favorite destination for fall fun for over 25 years, now has an expanded season and new options for safe outdoor activities.

Visit our award-winning corn maze. Explore our new walking trails, scenic overlooks, and woodland exploration areas. Enjoy acres of adventure in the fresh country air. We’re close by–only twenty miles north of Madison. Make plans now!

2020 Schedule:

  • Open August 8-November 8, 2020
  • Wednesday – Sunday: 9:00am-10:00pm
  • Open Labor Day: 9:00am-10:00pm
  • Advance ticket purchase and entry time reservation required!

W12420 State Road 60
Lodi, WI 53555

Schuster's Farm

Enjoy our awesome animals, fantastic farm activities, delectable sweets, corn mazes, beautiful hayride, and pick your perfect pumpkin!

Our farm blends nature, agriculture and pure entertainment in a manner uniquely its own. We have farmtastic attractions for the perfect autumn adventure, whether weekdays or weekends are your pleasure.

Enjoy a shock of fright with your fall weekend evening night when the wind begins to blow and the haunted forest comes to life. The fun is in the country at Schuster’s Farm.

We have been diligently working to seriously and creatively address changes needed during this time. Please visit our website to see how the farm and guests can work together to engage in farmtastic outdoor fun!

2020 Schedule:

  • Open September 19-November 1, 2020
  • Monday-Friday: 9:00am-6:00pm
  • Saturday-Sunday: 10:00am-6:00pm

1326 US Highway 12 and 18
Deerfield, WI 53531

Enchanted Valley Acres

Slide into fall fun with a trip down not 1 but 2 GIANT slides at Enchanted Valley Acres (each slide is over 200 feet long!).

Wander through the corn mazes, enjoy a wagon ride, see what fish you can catch in magnetic fishing, what rubber ducky will win the duck races, try your skills out on the obstacle course or barnyard ball zone area or one of the many other activities!

2020 Schedule:

  • Open September 12-November 1, 2020
  • Saturday and Sunday: 9:00am-6:00pm (in September) 
  • Friday – Sunday: 9:00am-6:00pm (in October) + Thursday, Oct 22 & Oct 29

5047 Enchanted Valley Road
Cross Plains, WI 53528


Pumpkin Patches & Apple Orchards | Greater Madison Area

Rating
Featured/Unfeatured
Claimed/Unclaimed
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5.00 (2 reviews)
2313 Koshkonong Rd, Cottage Grove, WI, USA
Our mission is to provide families with an enjoyable country experience.  We sell our produc...
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8079 Maurer Road, Cross Plains, WI, USA
Established in 1975, Appleberry Farm has grown to be a local favorite for fresh-picked apples and...
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W7675 U.S. 12, Fort Atkinson, WI, USA
Make plans to spend the day on the farm as you interact with the animals, play in the corn and st...
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N2767 Mountford Rd, Poynette, WI, USA
Located in South Eastern Wisconsin, just 30 minutes North of Madison, Creek Bed Country Farmacy w...
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4.75 (2 reviews)
3252 Vilas Road, Cottage Grove, WI, USA
The orchard sits on two sites in the middle of what once was a typical Norwegian-American dairy f...
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5.00 (2 reviews)
5047 Enchanted Valley Rd, Cross Plains, WI, USA
Enjoy fall and winter fun with a variety of activities at Enchanted Valley Acres, LLC! In the fal...
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2227 Fitchburg Road, Fitchburg, WI, USA
Velkommen til Eplegaarden – da apple orchard vit da Norvegian exposure – located sout...
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3865 State Hwy 138, Stoughton, WI, USA
Eugster’s Farm Market & Petting Farm is a beautiful 349 acre farm located on Hwy 138 be...
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2722 Williams Drive, Stoughton, WI, USA
At Green’s Pleasant Springs Orchard apples are our specialty. We grow 74 varieties of apples ...
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127 County Road N, Edgerton, WI, USA
Join us for fun on the farm this fall!  Pumpkins – all shapes, sizes & colors, squ...
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7054 Co Rd K, Middleton, WI, USA
Check out the pumpkins and check out the animals on the farm: pigs, cows, calves, rabbits, k...
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N1959 Kroncke Road, Poynette, WI, USA
APPLES & FUN! Over 60 varieties of apples to sample throughout the season Pick your...
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5.00 (1 review)
1326 U.S. Highway 12, Deerfield, WI, USA
Get lost in 8 acres of corn maze, ride the wagon to 14+ acres of pumpkins and explore the dozens ...
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2713 South Hayner Road, Janesville, WI, USA
Our fall highlights include pumpkins, gourds, apples, apple cider, and of course, apple cider don...
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5.00 (1 review)
2074 Sutter Drive, Mount Horeb, WI, USA
The Activity Area is ment to be an interactive experience for everyone.  It includes a tricy...
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W12420 State Road 60 Lodi, WI
The home of the Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch is a real 200-acre farm. Miles and ...
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N7416 County Road I, Juneau, WI, USA
With over 40 attractions, fresh produce, baked goods from their on-farm bakery, fall hayrides and...
Showing 17 results

And a bonus – here are some great recipes to use those apples & pumpkins you pick!
Apple Recipes
Pumpkin Muffins & Apple Dip (both with just 3 easy ingredients!)
Caramel Pumpkin Granola
Autumn Popcorn Balls
Cranberry Crunch Muffins

5 Tips for Talking to Kids About Politics

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With another election season coming up, and a very divided nation, politics are bound to come up. Kids are likely to hear, at some point, people talk about politics and political issues. Plus, kids definitely notice the signs going up all over the laws in our neighborhoods.

So, should we talk to kids about politics? I argue we should. Politics are complicated, and one problem people can have is being polarized and unaccepting of people with different viewpoints. Children between five and seven years old go through a major cognitive shift that allows them to begin taking the perspective of other people. To me, this makes it the perfect time to start discussing politics. Now, we don’t want kids to feel stressed about politics, because we want them to be comfortable talking about it and feel comfortable asking us about it. With this in mind, here are five tips to talking to kids about politics.

  1. Emphasize that people can have different viewpoints. By the time kids are five to seven years old, they have some basic perspective taking skills. They can use this to think about how different people might view the same issues from different perspectives. We can pick a few topics, perhaps things that kids have overheard or had interest in, and talk about some of the different perspectives. Breaking ideas down into simple components can help kids to make more sense of the complexity of the issues. Plus, understanding different perspectives will help kids to build empathy and move away from the us vs. them mentality that is so dominant in our culture.
  2. Focus on your values. It can help to talk about that is important to you and your family and how this connects to issues in politics. For example, if your family values helping other or values hard work, discuss how different laws might help or hinder those goals in the country at large. However, it is also helpful to mention that no one politician is going to follow every one of your values or behave exactly how you would like.
  3. Talk about many issues. It is important for kids (and adults) to remember that there is more than one issue that politicians need to vote on. When discussing elections it can be helpful for them to understand that you might need to prioritize different issues because no one politician is going to agree with you and your family values. Being able to acknowledge that things are complex and even adults struggle with these issues helps kids to understand that it is ok to not know everything, but that it is important to keep learning.
  4. If you and your spouse disagree, do so in a way that models civil discourse. It is not inherently bad to “argue” in front of kids, depending on how it is done. Yelling and creating an environment of fear is problematic. However, it is actually helpful for kids to see grown ups who disagree have a lively debate about the issues. It models that you don’t always have to agree with each other and that you can still love and/or care about someone, even if they have different opinions. This is important for kids to see so that they can understand and value tolerance of others. Also, civil discourse is lacking in our current culture, so modeling how you can debate issues without making personal attacks and name calling is a great skill to model for kids.
  5. Remind them that we are all human, and no one is perfect. If you do slip up and start arguing, make sure they also see you make up in a healthy way. Acknowledge that your emotions got the best of you and that you will strive to not make personal attacks next time. Another way to acknowledge that no one is perfect is to discuss how politicians make mistakes as well. Also, it is ok to change your viewpoint when you get more information, as this is a healthy way to grow as a person. Politicians may do this as well, and it is important for kids to understand that changing opinions isn’t inherently bad if there is a reason behind it.

Politics can be hard for us to discuss as adults, but if we want kids to not be afraid to discuss political issues as adults, we need to start discussing it openly when they are children. Plus, there is the added benefit that we can help kids build other skills, like empathy and perspective taking skills by having these discussions at a young age. It can be hard to help kids with something that many adults struggle with, maybe this will help them to struggle less as adults.

Finding the Silver Lining in a Pandemic

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I am trying to wrap my head around what 2020 has brought us thus far. I remember the day, March 13th, 2020, very vividly, when I picked my child up from school, for what would be the last time. She was sent home with her iPad, “just in case” they may need to do some short-term virtual learning. No one knew what was to come.

I am sure my experience is not unique. It’s a memory that will be engraved in my mind, forever. It’s the day that everything in my world completely shifted. It’s a day that sits in my memory as deeply as the day I gave birth to my three children. I remember every detail.

What I didn’t know, was that the short-term shutdown would last for much longer than we anticipated. What I didn’t know, was that my child wouldn’t step foot back into that classroom as a Kindergartner. What I didn’t know was that everything in my life, and everyone’s life, would be completely shaken to the core.

While I have had many moments of focusing on what we have lost during these past 6 months of the Pandemic, I am currently choosing to focus on what we have gained; the Silver Lining. Here are some of my positives from the past 6 months.

Less Commitments

These past 6 months have given me even more permission to say no to things that I don’t really want to do. It’s given myself and my family more time together, which to me, was starting to feel like we were never together without rushing to an activity, to bed, to school, to birthday parties, etc. The lack of places to be has given us more time to just BE, and more time to sit an enjoy each other’s company. I have even been able to notice things in my children that I had missed before.

Working from Home

While I have been lucky enough to work from home for the last 7 years, more people have started to work from home. Video conferences have become the go-to for meetings now. Many professionals are now completely empathic with someone when their child screams in the middle of a business meeting or runs into the frame of the camera, for all the participants to see. While this used to look “unprofessional”, it’s now completely understandable and accepted.

More Convenient Shopping

Most stores are now offering curbside pickup, or even drive-thru. Some are even offering delivery, and while I was on this train before the pandemic hit, part of me felt guilty or lazy for using these services. Now, it’s quite accepted and actually encouraged. With 3 young children, if I don’t have to haul them into the store or risk spending more money at Target than I anticipated, then I will surely be happy to accept the convenience. It cuts down on public meltdowns, as well. Win-win.

Weeding Out the “Friends”

While there has been a lot of judgment in the past 6 months, which I talk about in my last article, what I have appreciated from this, is the weeding out of people in my life who I thought were my friends. I have spent the better part of my adult life trying to unlearn all the beliefs I had picked up growing up. The beliefs that hindered me from being free to be myself. I have gained and lost many friends throughout the years, but this year was the hardest. I thought I had some stronger friends than I had, and it turned out, they were most likely quietly judging me all along. (Some probably still are!) Many hot topics revealed who was supportive of me and who was not. It wasn’t about who agreed with me, but rather who was willing to stand by me, because they knew my intentions were coming from the right place. I have long desired for “my tribe”, and these past 6 months have revealed more people I can truly trust, and be myself with, than ever before.

More Opportunities to Heal

There have been many opportunities presented to me these past 6 months that have shown me where I still need to do some work to heal past wounds and trauma. I am thankful for these opportunities to grow and heal some more. This is a constant in my life, but these past several months have been intense.

School Options

Perhaps this may be the best of all, but I am still in the midst of this so the jury is still out on this one. What school looks like for many children is not at all what it once was, and while we can’t yet say if this is a good or bad thing, I know that the transition of how school looks, will probably lead to something better. Schools were overcrowded and underfunded, so how can we take this as an opportunity to create a better, more flexible learning environment? I, personally, chose to homeschool my 1st grader this year. I do not know if she will go back to regular school, because we are so new to this still, but what I do know, is that I am thankful that I get a choice in this. I am thankful that I am able to homeschool her and teach her what I have long been wanting to “have the time” to teach her. Now I have the opportunity and the time to spend with her and her siblings learning in an environment that I choose and can be flexible with our family’s needs and desires. I hope school continues to evolve and becomes more of a “choice offering” for families, rather than a “one-way fits all” approach.

These are just a few examples of how I have found the silver lining in the chaos. I hope you can find a few, too, because most likely, there are many- even if you aren’t seeing them.

It is through the most traumatic and painful experiences that I have learned the most. I expect nothing short of that through all of this.

Wishing you peace, love, and joy in your hearts.

The Painful Adjustment to Mom Going Back to School

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Over 23 years ago I made a decision that I did not know would impact me as long as it did. I unexpectedly got pregnant with our first child when I was barely out of school. I was a brand new teacher in a new town with my newish husband at his new job. This job of his was incredibly demanding, including weeks of travel at a time. I faced the possibility of starting a brand new career while caring for an infant, often by myself with no family nearby. Not to mention, childcare would have cost most of my paycheck.

It was not a difficult decision. We could afford for me to stay home and I knew at the time I’d be better off mentally if I only focused on one thing rather than two.

As my husband’s jobs have changed, as we’ve added children to our family, and as the years have gone by, I have occasionally revisited the possibility of going back to work full time. But I had fallen into a life that I loved. One that was not always easy but absolutely right for me. 

And then, over a year ago I came to the realization that my youngest child was getting older. She was starting first grade and all of my ducks were mostly in a row. Two of my oldest kids were already out of the house, a third was on his way. My life really wasn’t going to be the same forever. What was next?

Listening to that quiet voice that has been with me my entire life brought me to graduate school. I had been going in this direction for years, but it didn’t really sharpen into focus until very recently. I do not regret starting at age 47 because I believe I needed to have other life experiences to bring me to this point. But, being a “non-traditional” student is no joke. The adjustment for me and the family has been rough. 

Last time I was in school I didn’t own a cell phone or a computer. My schoolwork consisted of getting a paper syllabus on the first day of class, buying my books at the actual book store, writing a few papers at the computer lab (keeping them saved on a floppy disk), and taking tests on scantron or Blue Book (or both).

If you do not understand this last paragraph, please try to acknowledge my dismay at the way things are now. Also, I know I sound old, and, I don’t care. I have experiences and gifts that are many but technology is not one of them (beyond Facebook, Instagram and Google).

Getting my brain used to reading textbooks again is an adjustment. Leaving VoiceThreads, Padlet, and journal entries on other platforms has brought me to tears more than the pandemic has. But it’s been about a month now, and it is starting to click. Also, I have amazing classmates (that are my son’s age-ugh) who have helped me when I get stuck.

While I am adjusting to student life, my family is adjusting to me being elsewhere. Because of the pandemic I’m still in the house, but I’m not nearly as accessible as I once was. As my 17 year old remarked recently, “Mom, you’re so boring now, all you do is homework.”

Noise cancelling headphones on, ignoring what she’s doing while I squeeze in a chapter.

All of the years I have told my kids how important it is to do your best, to work on things even if they’re hard, well, they’re getting a front row seat watching me practicing what I’ve preached. Turns out school is WAY harder than I remember. Then again, maybe it wouldn’t be so hard if my family didn’t expect me to keep their lives the same AND do my schoolwork. 

They’ve been in for a rude awakening.

As the realization of these changes have settled, the questions have begun. Who will make dinner? Who will watch little sister? Why is Dad so bad at X, Y and Z (because he doesn’t have 23 years of experience on the job as I do)? How much, really, am I planning to work once I graduate? I have become increasingly aware of how much I made life easier for them, despite my efforts in raising independent humans. I think they are getting a glimpse of life in the future as I begin a new career (even as they move on themselves) and none of them are happy. 

I do not know what I will be doing in two years, I only need to focus on my first set of midterms. I do know that they will be just fine because I’m still here, just in a different way. It is all an adjustment for me and them. But I am hopeful that I’m setting an example for them as they set on their own paths. Someday, when my kids get in their mid-forties I hope they remember when Mom made a drastic change in her own life and how much her soul really needed that change. I hope that it inspires them to do the hard things, take the risks and set new goals if they feel a pull to do so. Being part of a family means supporting each other, even when it means sacrifices and adjustments.

Life is full of changes. 

6 Ideas for Low-Contact Halloween Fun in 2020

Halloween 2020 will certainly look quite different this year amidst the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make it special for our kids. I am all for any way that we can restore even a sliver of normalcy into this unpredictable year!

Speaking of unpredictable – remember how it SNOWED last Halloween in Wisconsin? We powered through then, and we can power through now!

We have some fun and unique ideas for low-contact celebrating this Halloween. Even in 2020, Halloween can still be spooktacular!

6 Ideas for Low Contact + Safe Halloween Fun!

1:Halloween Egg Hunt: This idea is fun and simple. Hide treats or goodies in your yard or throughout your house. Have the kids go on a hunt (just like egg hunts)… don’t forget the costumes!

2: Transform Your Yard into a Candy Graveyard: Using tombstones, zombies, monsters and skeletons, turn your front yard into a candy graveyard. Kids can go wild and collect their treats/prizes. Place piles of candy (wrapped of course) – so kids can grab a treat as they run through. One kid or trick or treater (or one family) should go through at a time to keep it social distancing safe!

3: BOO your friends!: This is such a fun thing for kids! Similar to May Day baskets, put together some treats or goodies and leave them on a friend or neighbor’s doorstep. Print a  “BOO” sheet (with a ghost) and include it with the goodie bag. Leave it on someone’s door step, ring the bell, and RUN!

If you have been Boo’ed, cut out the ghost and place it on or near your door so you won’t be Boo-ed again.

4: Costume Parade with Neighbors: Show off your Halloween costumes with a costume parade throughout your neighborhood! Kids can pick up treats/non-candy goodies along the parade. Even if it’s just a couple streets (or your street only); it can definitely be memorable for your kids!

5: Virtual Halloween Costume Party: Invite friends and/or family for a virtual Halloween party! Send out special party invitations and come up with a fun game or costume contest.

6: Trick or Treat in Different Rooms in Your House (or Apartment): This is as simple as it sounds – have your kids go door to door and have different treats stationed in your house or apartment. Make sure the kids say ‘Trick or Treat’!

7: Trunk or Treat with Friends or Neighbors: Decorate the trunk of your car or tailgate and fill it with tricks or treats! You can do it on your block or street (also a fun option if you have access to a parking lot). Kids can go from trunk to trunk and pick out some goodies. Just make sure to keep your distance – but this is a super fun and low-contact option as well!

Other Tips/Ideas:

Wear masks; leave the candy on your porch or on a table in your yard (to avoid the face to face contact); have a ‘grabber/tongs’ to reduce touching/contact; or if you prefer to stay in – a Halloween themed movie night is also super fun! There are plenty of ways to keep Halloween special this year, even while we continue to practice social distancing. 2020 is the year of the pivot and since it’s been a hard year for so many – a little celebrating can go a long way!

7 Most Commonly Asked Financial Q’s from New Parents | Answered by Summit Credit Union

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When you become a parent, your finances completely change. Expenses are added, new considerations for the future are needed and its time to make sure you are prepared for what may come your way!

Summit Credit Union offers an array of financial services (from lending and banking to insurance and investments) and also focuses on giving back to our community.

Amy Crowe, a Financial Education Specialist at Summit Credit Union, has answered some of the most commonly asked questions that new moms have when it comes to finances. 

Q&A with Amy Crowe, Financial Education Specialist at Summit Credit Union:

Q: What should I be doing about life insurance (when we have a baby)?

A: If you already have life insurance, be sure to add your child as a beneficiary and decide whether you want to bump up the amount of coverage – your current policy might not be enough. If you don’t have life insurance, now’s the time to add it. A new little someone is counting on you! You may be able to get affordable protection through work – check with your HR department to learn more and be sure to investigate whether their plan includes voluntary dependent life coverage. If you don’t have life insurance at work, or you just want to learn more about your options, Summit’s here to help. Visit our website at SummitCreditUnion.com or give us a call at 800-236-5560. We’d love to help you protect your new family.

Q: Should I set up a will?

A: It’s a good idea and can help you avoid problems in the future. I’d also recommend looking into estate planning and guardianship. There are many ways to tackle these issues, ranging from online wills to working with a professional estate planner. Do some research and determine which options are available and what’s the best fit for your needs. Already have a will? Good for you! But a big life change like a new baby is the perfect time to make sure your existing will still meets your needs.  

Q: How much should I aim to set aside in an emergency fund? 

A: If you don’t have any savings, start with one month’s worth of living expenses. Make it a priority to cut spending and save for this as quickly as you can. It might be painful in the short term, but it’s really critical to have this cushion. Once you’ve done that, keep saving on a consistent basis, until you have 3-6 months of living expenses in an emergency fund. To make sure you don’t run out of paycheck before you fund your savings, pay yourself first. Set up automatic transfers that move funds right into savings as soon as your paycheck hits. One last tip: Put these funds in certificates of deposit or money market accounts to earn more in interest.  

Q: Any advice on budgeting for basics? 

A: Here’s a trick that many people find helpful: Track expenses for one month. And we mean track everything, down to those lattes and the money you spend on parking. Divvy it up into categories (we have a great tool that can help, Summit’s Climbr®, available in online banking) so you can see exactly where your money is going every paycheck. Are you spending on needs, wants or a combo? Be honest with yourself and figure out how to cut spending to achieve your big-picture goals. 

Q: What about big expenses like childcare? How can I work that into my budget?

A: Use our budget worksheet available in the Money Smarts section of SummitCreditUnion.com to create a budget that includes your childcare expenses.  This is an Excel worksheet with two columns, one for living expenses now and one for the future when you have childcare costs. Then, you can reduce or increase line items until you create a budget that works for you. 

Q: Should I open a 529 for college?

A: Education is expensive! Anything that lets you build up funds over time is valuable, so 529 accounts are definitely worth investigating. One of their biggest benefits is that they make it easy for family members to contribute to the account online. Summit Financial Advisors can help you determine which college savings options might be right for you – set up an appointment online at SummitCreditUnion.com.

Q: When should I open a savings account for my child? When should I start teaching him/her about money?

A: The answer to the first question is easy: Open an account as soon as your child has a Social Security number. Money is a common new baby gift and having an account that’s set up and ready to go makes it easy to start building a nest egg for your child. In terms of when to start teaching, experts recommend starting as young as two or three with simple lessons about coins and buying things – grocery trips or meals out are great places to start talking about how money works. Children as young as five can understand the concept of an allowance and the save, spend, give model is a great way to give them some control, which really helps them learn about money.


Amy Crowe
Financial Education Specialist at Summit Credit Union

Amy Crowe is a Financial Education Specialist at Summit Credit Union where she started her career in marketing over 20 years ago and now leads its award-winning signature community financial education programs, Project Money and Project Teen Money. A personal finance expert, Amy spends her time writing, speaking, developing learning content, and educating about money. Her thoughts, ideas and advice have been featured on television, in print and online magazines, on podcasts, at conferences and on expo stages. Amy is passionate about illuminating the connection between mindset and money behavior, and empowering others to make breakthrough changes that result in financial transformation. This passion led her to being named a 2016 CU Rock Star by Credit Union Magazine, the publication of the Credit Union National Association.

Four Things I Learned While Working From Home

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This past spring life changed for everyone – we were told to stay home 24/7 and work while teaching our kids. It was an exhausting and trying time for all of us… attempting to learn new tasks on the spot with no guidance or assistance. Being an eternal optimist, I did my best to find the positives that came along with these changes; no long commute, spending more time with my kids and husband, wearing yoga pants every day. After the initial shock, I am getting used to working from home and I am ok with not going back to the office for a while. My family is spending a lot of quality time together and we are experiencing unique memories. Our neighbors have become part of our support system and our families have grown very close as we spend most evenings outside playing and socializing. 

With the return of our children to school imminent (whether virtual or in-person), the anxiety is creeping in. I am trying not to get overwhelmed with the thoughts of being inside all day, dealing with virtual learning again, and the looming shortened days of winter… but it is SO hard. I started to think about how I can make this next chapter of life easier. I realized it comes down to 4 things: Communication, Communication, Communication AND Communication.

Communication with your partner:  You and your partner need to be on the same page, or at least the same chapter of your book. My husband and I sit down every day (either over coffee or wine) to talk about what our schedule is for the day. It is important to be specific of the expectations of your day, so if your kid is melting down in the middle of a meeting you can decide who is going to be able to handle the situation. I prefer to write down our schedules, but sometimes we don’t always remember to look at our calendar so verbally communicating your plan TOGETHER makes a huge difference.  

  • Talk to each other about At-Home learning expectations and teaching styles
  • Remember that they can’t read your mind, if you need help with something ask (ie. I would like to work out at 6am, can you get up with the kids).
  • Let your partner know if you have an important meeting or project so that you can focus and they can handle the kids during that time. 
  • Share your work calendar (google calendar is our favorite)

Communication with your kids: Trying to get your kids to listen while you teach can be exhausting. But this past spring I took the time to write down the daily school schedule every morning with my 6-year-old son. So he knew exactly what he had to do and together we would create his schedule. This truly helped him feel less frustrated and gave him the control and the structure he is used to. By laying out the day and communicating what needs to get done (including the fun stuff) they will be more likely to stay on track.  

  • Communicate goals and rewards to them, if they do XYZ then they get to go for a bike ride or play video games, etc. 
  • Find 15-30 min of uninterrupted time together. Tell them that during this time there will be no phone calls, emails, or devices. No distractions will make a huge difference in building relationships with your kids
  • Try not to yell. When stressed it can be difficult to keep your cool, but remember that your kids are stressed, too; if you need it, take a break!

Communication with your manager and coworkers:  We all know that almost everyone is doing multiple jobs at once; all our situations are different; and we can’t assume our coworkers know what is going on at home. It is of the utmost importance to share your schedule with your coworkers and managers, while at the same time letting them know that they may hear or see little ones in the background during a call, so you may have to turn off video, or the microphone intermittently while putting out small fires, or dealing with them going to “the potty”.  

  • Block out your schedule with specifics i.e.: Dropping kids off at day care, virtual learning set up for my child etc.
  • Have an honest conversation with your manager on what your schedule is going to look like: i.e. mornings will be very hectic, so I will need to have 15 minute breaks between meetings to work with my child; or I can’t start before 8:30am. 

Communication with yourself: Let’s be honest, when you are going 100 miles an hour it is hard to find time for yourself. In times like these it is imperative to get an idea of your daily “temperature”.  Take some time to find out how you are doing mentally and physically, and giving yourself the grace and attention you need.

  • Intentionally find some ME time
  • Get moving, take a walk, work out, meditate 
  • Get some girl time, go on a walk outside with a friend, do a virtual happy hour, join an online community. Get out of your family bubble and have some adult conversations.  

Communication is not a THING; it IS EVERYTHING! And remember you are not alone in this.


Amanda Lindow

Amanda was born and raised in Mid-Michigan, then after college she moved to Columbus, OH – where she married her college sweetheart Brian, and had two sons; Parker and Charlie. In 2018 her family moved to Verona, WI. Besides working a full-time job in the fashion industry, she also started an online community called The Candid Mom Society, where she focuses on building connections with moms during every stage of life. Sharing tips on intentional goal setting and ‘calendarization’ so moms can take back their time and sanity.

Want to learn more about The Candid Mom Society check us out on Facebook or our newsletter!

I know things can be tough so I want to help you out; grab your FREE AT-Home daily learning calendar here.

 

Perfect Lactation Cookies: Notes from the Breastfeeding Trenches

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It only took me FIVE BABIES to discover the magic of lactation cookies, but I have arrived! Lactation cookies are the perfect breastfeeding snack, and they are a guilt-free way to eat cookies. Hard to feel bad about an extra dessert or seven when it’s helping you feed your baby, you know?

I tried this recipe, loved it, and then decided to make it my own. So, without further ado (because those recipe blogs with 5,000 words before the recipe! DRIVE! ME! CRAZY!), here’s my perfect lactation cookie recipe:

Perfect Lactation Cookies

  • 3 Tbsp flax seed (key for making milk)
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1 cup browned butter (BROWN YOUR BUTTER. IT IS AMAZEBALLS).
  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup brewer’s yeast (also a galactagogue)
  • 2 cup flour
  • 2.5 cup rolled oats (another key lactation food)
  • 1 cup raisins (obviously 2 cups of chocolate chips would be better, but for some reason, my babies can’t tolerate chocolate– it’s tragic)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (coconut is controversial– if you hate it, skip it. Maybe throw in some more raisins?)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix flax seed in water, set aside.
  3. Brown the butter by melting it in a light-colored pan until it turns brown and smells nutty.
  4. Combine butter and sugar in mixer. Add egg yolk, vanilla, almond, and flax sludge. Mix.
  5. Add baking soda, cinnamon, yeast, and flour. Mix until combined. (most people would tell you to, like, sift these together in a separate bowl first, but I just throw them in one at a time usually while the mixer is still running.)
  6. Add oats, raisins, and coconuts.
  7. Drop onto prepared cookie sheets. Cook for 7-9 mins.

Devour. Maybe with a cup of lactation tea? (while I do love Mother’s Milk tea, I am a firm milk-and-cookies basically always)

lactation cookies

I am not going to lie to you: I make lactation cookies weekly. I like the original recipe I linked above, this one, and one more: eliminate the raisins and coconut and add a cup of peanut butter– so, so good!

Other breastfeeding hacks besides tea and cookies:

  • Drink at least 12 ounces of water every time you nurse the baby. It can be hard to remember to take care of yourself, so use the strategy of pairing to make sure both of you stay hydrated.
  • Do not watch the clock. As long as your baby is peeing and pooping and sleeping (sort of), they are probably getting enough milk. Frequent feedings are fine and don’t mean your milk supply is low. Feed on demand because breastfeeding is all about supply and demand.
  • Newborns loooove the football hold, which is a great way to get a deeper latch.
  • Nipple cream is your BFF.
  • These bras are great.
  • This breast pump is amazing– affordable, so easy to use, and incredibly convenient. You just stick it on one side and leave it there to catch the let down and any drips while your baby eats on the other side. I also adore a plain old single hand pump. You can use on one side while your baby eats on the other. Both of these are such a quick and unobtrusive way to build a stash.
  • Ask for help! Your friends, your baby’s doctor, a lactation consultant, your local La Leche League, the interwebs— all of these resources are there for you.

Since I am writing this WHILE NURSING (because I do just about everything WHILE NURSING these days), I am deep in the breastfeeding trenches. Give me all of your best hacks in the comments, please. I’d love to hear your tips, tricks– and even recipes– for making breastfeeding your baby as simple and enjoyable as possible.

How to do School Lunches While Home | 4 Tips from a Nutritionist

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School looks a little different (okay, a lot different!) for most of us this year. However you’re doing school this year, the last thing you want to add to your plate (pun intended!) is to make a Pinterest-worthy lunch, complete with star-shaped watermelon cut outs and a sandwich made into a friendly face. Unless this is something you love to do, chances are good this is a low priority for you this year…and, who are we kidding, every year.

Something that isn’t changing this year is the fact that our kids still need to eat lunch—every day! After 6+ months of preparing lunches while your kids have been at home, it’s hard to stay motivated. Believe me, I get it. I’m not here to tell you how to make elaborate lunches—nobody has time for that. But here are a few things that may help make lunches go a little more smoothly this year as we transition into a new routine.

  1. Prep your kiddos’ lunches in advance. Yes, I know they may be eating at home and you now have the luxury of waiting to make lunches rather than scrambling in the morning to get them all made in advance. But, maintaining the routine of “packing a lunch” the night before or in the morning for your kids will streamline lunches. Plus, this eliminates the debate of “What should we have for lunch?” and the disagreements or whining that may come with it. Once the food is packed, this is what lunch is going to be—just like it is when they’re at school. Give this a try for a week and see how it works for you and your family.
  2. As you prepare the lunches for your littlest kiddos, include them in the decision making. While it’s your job as a parent to decide what you serve your kids to ensure they’re getting a balanced variety throughout the day and week, you can still offer your kids a limited choice. This may look like giving them two options you’d be totally comfortable giving them. Instead of asking them, “What do you want for lunch?” ask them, “Would you like a turkey or ham sandwich?” or “Do you want Ranch or hummus dip with your veggies?” This not only keeps you in control of what you’re serving your child, it gives your kiddos a sense of autonomy with more buy-in for the meal.
  3. Have snacks at scheduled times. Constant snacking isn’t a snack—it’s grazing. While it’s tempting to have snacks available throughout the day for your kids to stay focused while they work, it’s not helping them in the long run. Kids don’t get snacks whenever they like at school, so it doesn’t need to be necessary at home either. For starters, eating with distractions (such as school work) leads to mindless eating and a loss of our kids’ ability to eat due to physical hunger and to stop when satisfied. Snacks also tend to be more beige, dry, and bland than foods at other meals (things like crackers, cereal, chips, or cheese crackers). If kids fill up on these foods, they’re missing out on a lot of variety and other flavors that come mostly at meals. It’s okay for our kids to feel hunger for a short period of time; it’ll help them recognize their hunger cues and come ready to eat at meals. 
  4. Take time to eat lunch with your kids. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but if it is, make the most of this time with your kids at home. Kids learn the most by watching what you do, not always what you say. If they see you eating the same fruits and veggies that are in their lunch, they’re more likely to eventually give them a try. You may be exhausted by the time lunch rolls around, but simply taking the time to eat with them allows you to be the positive role model they need. 

This school year may have some uncertainties, but lunch doesn’t have to be one of them. You’ve got this, mama!


Kara Hoerr is a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in family and childhood nutrition. She’s originally from Iowa, but has called Madison home for the past 7 years. When she’s not helping families and individuals end mealtime battles or quit diets for good, she’s usually baking or cooking in her kitchen (she started making sourdough before it was the cool thing to do pre-Covid!), running or biking on the Madison trails, or relaxing with a good book. She never expected to start her own business, but here she is with Kara Hoerr Nutrition. She offers nutrition coaching and online courses to help moms (and dads!) out at the dinner table. To learn more or to set up a free discovery call, email Kara at [email protected], or find her on Instagram.

 

Fall Fun at Enchanted Valley Acres | Cross Plains, WI

(Cross Plains, WI:) Slide into fall fun with a trip down not 1 but 2 GIANT slides at Enchanted Valley Acres (each slide is over 200 feet long!).

Wander through the corn mazes, enjoy a wagon ride, see what fish you can catch in magnetic fishing, what rubber ducky will win the duck races, try your skills out on the obstacle course or barnyard ball zone area or one of the many other activities!

5047 Enchanted Valley Road
Cross Plains, WI 53528

2020 Schedule:

  • Open September 12-November 1, 2020
  • Saturday and Sunday: 9:00am-6:00pm (in September) 
  • Friday – Sunday: 9:00am-6:00pm (in October) + Thursday, Oct 22 & Oct 29
  • Reserve Tickets Here

Giant Slides

A trip to the farm isn’t complete without grabbing a burlap sack and sliding into fall fun with a trip down one or both of the TWO Giant Slippery Slides!

Once to the top of the slides you can enjoy the beautiful farm views as well before the adrenaline rush of speeding down over 200 feet on a slide! You can even race your family member or friend. Repeated trips down the slide are not only fun but included in your admission!

Corn Mazes

Are you up to the challenge of finding your way through over 8 acres of corn mazes?

Wander through this fall’s corn mazes celebrating the 100th Anniversary of UW Health’s American Family’s Children’s Hospital and all the amazing work they do for children! 100 years of Kids, Care & Courage! The smaller corn maze is .3 miles in length and the larger corn maze is 2.8 miles.

Photo by Above Pix, LLC – https://www.abovepix.com

Pumpkins

Wagons and wheelbarrows will be available for your convenience to gather items and transport to your vehicle. You will find items such as various kinds of pumpkins, gourds, and squash.

We also have Paint-A-Pumpkin kits, which includes a pumpkin, paintbrush and paint pods so you don’t need to make an extra trip to purchase these supplies! Instead, you can head home and your/or the kiddos can start creating pumpkin masterpieces!

Admission passes are NOT required to visit the Pumpkin Patch.

Activities

  • Goats + Chickens
  • Wagon Rides
  • Human Hamster Wheels
  • Magnetic Fishing
  • Tricycle Track
  • Rubber Ducky Races
  • Hoppity Hops
  • Barn Yard Ball Zone
  • Musical Scavenger Hunt
  • Playground + Yard Games
  • Obstacle Courses
  • Mr. Pumpkin Head
  • Tug of War
  • Fairy Tale Trail
  • Giant Corn Corral
  • Barn Games

Fall Fun at Schuster’s Farm | Deerfield, WI

(Deerfield, WI:) Enjoy the awesome animals, fantastic farm activities, delectable sweets, corn mazes, beautiful hayride, and pick your perfect pumpkin!

1326 US Highway 12 and 18
Deerfield, WI

Schuster’s Farm blends nature, agriculture and pure entertainment in a manner uniquely its own. They have farmtastic attractions for the perfect autumn adventure, whether weekdays or weekends are your pleasure.

Enjoy a shock of fright with your fall weekend evening night when the wind begins to blow and the haunted forest comes to life. The fun is in the country at Schuster’s Farm.

They have been diligently working to seriously and creatively address changes needed during this time. Please visit their website to see how the farm and guests can work together to engage in farmtastic outdoor fun!

2020 Schedule:

  • Open September 19-November 1, 2020
  • Monday-Friday: 9:00am-6:00pm
  • Saturday-Sunday: 10:00am-6:00pm

An aMAZEing adventure by day or night

The corn maze is divided into phases that will accommodate all age groups. The small maze is just the right challenge for the young crowd and provides the perfect controlled maze experience. The LARGE maze consists of two phases so directionally-challenged guests may take a break or “regroup” mid-way through the maze. Right turns, wrong turns and U-turns, taking a break at each of the two scenic bridges hidden within, keep going until you find your way out!

Pumpkins, Gourds & Produce

There are 14 acres of pumpkins + they planted 3 dozen varieties of pumpkins and squash!

Beyond the beautiful colors and shapes of the squash and pumpkins, they have just what you need for decorating.

Mini pumpkins: Orange, white, striped; Gourds: All sizes and colors; Corn shocks and Straw bales; Decorative corn

Main Attractions

  • Hayride and Corn Mazes
  • Barnyard Fun: includes meeting friendly farm animals
  • Pig Races
  • Tire Maze
  • Corn Pit
  • Straw Jump
  • Fort Hugh (with mega Sand Zone)
  • Duck Races
  • Slides
  • Spider Web
  • Corn Ball
  • Kiddie Maze
  • Pygmy Putt Putt
  • Wooden Play Structures (Tractor, Hay Wagon, Truck and Ark)
  • + a turn-of-the-century Play Village.

Fall Fun at Treinen Farm | Lodi, WI

(Lodi, WI:) Now more than ever we need to connect with family and friends, and realistically, being outdoors is the safest option in 2020. The Treinen Farm, the area’s favorite destination for fall fun for over 25 years, now has an expanded season and new options for safe outdoor activities.

Visit their award-winning corn maze. Explore the new walking trails, scenic overlooks, and woodland exploration areas. Enjoy acres of adventure in the fresh country air.

2020 Schedule:

W12420 State Road 60 | Lodi, WI

Treinen Farm Mazes

Part art installation, part outdoor game, part social experiment, the Treinen Farm corn mazes are AMAZING. Each year they pick a theme and create an entire experience around it!

Pumpkin Patch

For 2020, they have two pumpkin patches and thousands of pumpkins, all within an easy walk.

Explore

The Treinen Farm is more than amazing mazes and acres of pumpkins. Spend a day in the country – take a walk in the woods. Bring a picnic. See what’s around the next corner. In the natural parts of the farm, the pace is relaxed, so you can soak up the beautiful fall Wisconsin countryside.

  • “The Wild” — explore the woods and hillside. Take a hike, play in the woods.
  • Natural Playground — climb trees, build a fort
  • Ice Age Rocks Boulder Climber

Active Play

Climbing, crawling, running, hiding. Take everyone home tired and happy.

  • Molehill Mountain — Double 40-foot tubes slides, tire climbers, spooky cave
  • Tractor Tire playground
  • Natural Playground

Walking Trails

Explore the NEW hiking trails and scenic overlook. Our draft horses are not only great at giving wagon rides–they are also our brush-clearers. They’ve been busy making trails all summer.

  • Visit the restored remnant prairie on the limestone bluff
  • Wander in the woods
  • Bring a picnic
  • Look for fairy doors in the Enchanted Woods (opens mid-August)
  • Build a fort

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2020 Farms, Pumpkin Patches & Orchards | Greater Madison Area

Fall in Wisconsin is pretty fantastic! And one of our favorite family activities is to visit the local farms, pumpkin patches & orchards. Luckily...