Memorial Day is past; yard-work‘s mostly done, – now summer fun in Wisconsin begins! You might say, “No! I’m not ready! What will I do with the kids all day? Their teachers have been saying this for nine months; they are definitely ready for summers arrival! School bus drivers are counting down the hours until that last drop-off ride. Kids are squirming in their seats, ready to flood from the bus on that last day. So, conscientious parents, what do you have planned for your kids this summer, besides the Discovery channel?
Well, I’m in the same boat as you. Here are some fun activities on our family’s summer-to-do list:
- Madison Mallards Baseball games. Every summer our family supports the home team with trips to the “Duck Pond” at Madison’s Warner Park. The minor league baseball games are inexpensive, fun, family entertainment. Goofy, audience-participating antics on the field intersperse each inning, and the roaming, costumed mascots, Maynard, Millie, and Bonehead, delight (or frighten) pre-schoolers. The games and food are cheap, -the fun rich! We’re going to the home game on June 13th. Later in the summer, we’ll get to take our dog to the game too.
- Hiking, swimming, boating and picnicking in Wisconsin’s State Parks. We bought our State Park season sticker weeks ago. We’re ready for summer fun at Devil’s Lake, Blue Mounds, Governor Dodge, and Governor Nelson. And those are just the parks near us. Travel farther north in Wisconsin and find bigger, wilder parks great for camping and back-packing.
- For thrills, we’ll go to water parks at The Wisconsin Dells. We’ll go to Wisconsin county fairs to get dizzy on carnival rides and see the farm animals. Wisconsin has lots of counties, and so has lots of county fairs, – all a fun time for kids. In August we’ll go to the Wisconsin State Fair, – the grandest fair of the summer. Plan at least two days for this fair if you want to see it all!
- For educational activities, we’ll be returning to Old World Wisconsin to roam the fields and homes of re-created pioneer life in Wisconsin. The kids will talk with docents dressed in period garb demonstrating the many skills required for survival in Wisconsin during the 1800’s. Click on “Continue reading…” for more ideas for fun things to do in the summer.
- Of course we’ll go to the zoos. Henry Vilas Zoo is close-by and free. The Milwaukee Zoo is huge, impressive, and educational.
- And of course we’ll have lots of those little pleasures that are often the most cherished in later years: We’ll eat ice cream cones by the lake. We’ll catch fireflies and let them go. We’ll dance in the driveway during rainstorms. We’ll get messy eating corn on the cob and grilled burgers. In the fading light of Wisconsin summer nights, kids will play capture the flag, hide-and-seek, and baseball with neighbor children while parents relax on the decks and talk.
For more ideas about fun things to do with kids in Wisconsin in the summer, check out these books:
- Wisconsin Family Weekends, by Susan Lampert Smith
- Great Weekend Adventures, compiled by the editors of the Wisconsin Trails Magazine
- Great Midwest Country Escapes: Farms, Foods, and Festivals, by Nina Gadomski
- The Great Wisconsin Touring Book, by travel writer, Gary Knowles
Yes, just four more days of school and our summer fun begins. We’re getting a head start this week by eating Wisconsin’s first of the summer, garden bounty: homemade rhubarb pie. The recipe is Helen Myrhre’s, taken from her cookbook: Farm Recipes and Food Secrets from the Norske Nook. Helen is the queen of Wisconsin pies. Her pies have won 13 awards in national pie competitions. Folks travel from throughout Wisconsin to Helen’s hometown of Osseo to taste her incredible pies and pastries served at The Norske Nook restaurant. Here’s Helen Myhre’s recipe for rhubarb pie:
- Makes 1 10″ pie:
- 4 or 5 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, cut into 3/4″ pieces
- 2 cups sugar and a little to sprinkle over
- 1/3 cup flour
- Dash of ground nutmeg
- 3 eggs
- 1 double crust
- 4 Tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the rhubarb in a large bowl. Pour the sugar over, add the flour and nutmeg, and mix it together a little on top of the rhubarb.
Using your hands, in the center of this mixture, make a well for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the well and beat them with a fork.
When the eggs are mixed, gradually blend them into the rhubarb and flour mixture until the rhubarb is partially coated. (Do not over-mix.)
Using your hands, put the filling into the pie crust and dot with thinly sliced butter. This may seem to be a heaping pie tin, but rhubarb shrinks a lot.
Cover with the slitted top crust, and flute the edges. Sprinkle with a little sugar, and bake 1 hour for fresh rhubarb, 1 1/2 hours for frozen.
Nothing tastes like summer better than fresh rhubarb pie!!!! Welcome to summer.