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That’s fat

Biking trend aims to ‘make winter fun again’

Gaming without electronics

Demand for ‘old school’ fun continues to expand


Pets can have healing powers

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Your House Here! WINTER 2018/2019 YOUR FAMILY 3


Playing games and living to tell about it INSIDE YOUR FAMILY BY LEE BORKOWSKI


he cover story in this issue of Your Family is about the resurgent popularity of board games – and how some have always stayed popular. That makes me happy, because I love board games! Not because I’m good at them, but because it means I get to spend time with family and friends. There are some great ones out there – ones that make you think and ones that can cost you your life. That last part might take some explanation. When I was young, I would be with my cousins every holiday, and we would gather around a card table in front of Grandma’s fireplace and play board games. Monopoly, Mouse Trap, Parcheesi and Battleship were perennial favorites. However, the one that we still talk about to this day is Scrabble. That’s because, thanks to my brother, it nearly caused our deaths. My brother, at the wise, old age of 11, decided to change up the scoring rules and invented Dirty Word Scrabble. A player was awarded 10 times the normal points for

creating a word that they would not want Grandma to see.

Each year now, my grandkids buy me a new board game for Christmas. We then gather around the table and play. We were all engaged in this new version while Grandma was in the kitchen cooking Christmas dinner. Show-stoppers such as “shoot, dang and darn” had already been played when my brother laid down the worst word of all… “hell”! At ages 8 to 12, this was big stuff, and it was hysterical – until Grandma walked in the room. Thankfully, my brother is a quick thinker. He kicked the bottom of the table and sent the pieces flying. We all lived to eat dinner. As a grandmother myself, I have played

a fair number of games with my grandkids. One of the earliest that they liked to play was Candyland. I hate Candyland. But fortunately for me, the kids grew up and Candyland was retired to a dark shelf in the game closet. Not so long ago, my grandson asked if I’d like to play a game. I said yes and suggested he go to the closet and pick one out. He came back with Candyland. I pointed out that he was 14. He said he didn’t care, it was still his favorite game. So, I died a thousand deaths that day but agreed to play for old time’s sake. Each year now, my grandkids buy me a new board game for Christmas. We then gather around the table and play. My new favorite is Scattergories. If you haven’t played it I’d encourage you to check it out. It’s so much safer than Scrabble. l Lee Borkowski is the general manager of Unified Newspaper Group, which publishes Your Family magazine.

Pick up your FREE copy today at these locations! Senior Centers: Fitchburg, Oregon, Stoughton & Verona. Public Libraries: Fitchburg, Oregon, Stoughton & Verona. Chamber of Commerces: Fitchburg, Oregon, Stoughton & Verona. GHC Clinics: Capitol, Hatchery Hill, Sauk Trails. UW Health: UW Hospital, The American Center, Union Corners, West Towne, West, Odana Atrium, UW Health Orthopedics, 1 S. Park and 20 S. Park, Broadway, University Station, Middleton, Oregon, Stoughton & Verona. Dean Clinics: Fish Hatchery, East, Oregon, West Harbor Wellness, Dean Foundation, Dean St. Mary’s Outpatient, Evansville. UnityPoint - Meriter: Meriter Hospital, Stoughton, Fitchburg, Monona. St. Mary’s: Hospital, Madison Urgent Care, Janesville, St Mary’s Care Center. Stoughton Hospital: Oregon and Stoughton Locations. Mercy: Janesville Health Mall, Hospital, Clinic East, Emergency North, Evansville. Walgreen’s: Oregon, Stoughton, Verona. YMCA: East and West Locations. Fitchburg: Fitchburg City Hall, Gymfinity, Starbucks Coffee, Ten Pin Alley, Swim West. Oregon: Allure Salon, Firefly Coffeehouse, Oregon Pharmacy, Oregon Pool, Zone Fitness, ProModern Salon, Chad Mueller DDS. Stoughton: Doctor’s Park Dental, Anytime Fitness, McGlynn Pharmacy, Viking Lanes. Verona: Miller & Sons Supermarket, Verona Hometown Pharmacy, Tuvalu Coffee & Tea, The Sow’s Ear. Madison: Kayser Ford Service Department, Princeton Club East, Zimbrick Body Shop, YMCA East & West Branch, Access Community Health. Evansville: Allen Realty, Luchsinger Realty, Remax, Symdon Motors. And many more locations!

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To the rescue

Humane Society, smaller shelters team up to find a place for all animals

Five of the best beac hes arou nd


Arthritis can be managed

Day Trip:




NOVEMBER 15, 2018 is published by UNIFIED NEWSPAPER GROUP 133 Enterprise Dr. PO Box 930427 Verona WI 53593 (608) 845 9559



Jeffary Sonnentag, Madison, looks at his cards and moves a game piece, as Bob Hunter, Madison, also looks at his cards, while playing the board game Ex Libris at the “Old Geezers” game day Oct. 17 at Pegasus Games in Madison. Board game store owners and aficionados say board and tabletop gaming is undergoing an expansion in Dane County, with new places to play competitively and for entertainment. In a digital age where many games are played online, many young and old are turning back to board games to fill their crave for entertainment.


Photo by Mark Nesbitt



................................... YOUR FAMILY STAFF Alexander Cramer, Scott De Laruelle, Josh Frederick, Scott Girard, Donna Larson, Amber Levenhagen, Bill Livick, Monica Morgan, Mark Nesbitt, Angie Roberts, Carolyn Schultz, Catherine Stang and Kimberly Wethal

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WINTER 2018/2019


Family Fun 5 Things Ski areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Day Trip A visit to Rockford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Holiday gift guide ads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Boundary Waters trip provides new perspective. . . . . . . 22 Fat bikes are a growing trend . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Calendar of Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Family Health To Your Health The whole story on milk. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Family Food My Blood Type is Coffee Home for the holidays. . . . . . . . . .

8 9

Recipes: Chili Con Grafton:Cheddar Dip; Slow Cooker Spiced Cranberry-Pork; Espresso-Chocolate Chip Angel Food Cake; Tortilla Soup. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Family Life Publishers of the Oregon Observer Stoughton Courier Hub Verona Press Great Dane Shopping News Fitchburg Star


Senior Living Pets possess a healing power. . . . . . . . . . .


Business Spotlight Underground history at the Milton House . . . . . . . . . . . 34



5 SKI AREAS worth the trek Winter in Wisconsin can sap the motivation of even the strongest among us, but one key to surviving the season is finding a way to enjoy nature – even when it’s 30 below. These five ski areas run the gamut from an afternoon outing a half-hour from Madison to the most extreme downhill skiing the Midwest has to offer in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Finding a way to exercise throughout winter can turn the season on its head and give a new meaning to the four-letter word S-N-O-W. Story by Alexander Cramer Photos submitted

Tyrol Basin

3487 Bohn Road, Mount Horeb, WI (608) 437-4135, tyrolbasin.com

Tyrol Basin is under new ownership this year, but it’ll continue the tradition of cheap daytime tickets, special deals on Tuesdays and some of the best night skiing around. New owner Nathan McGree, who closed in September, said though he’s looking to expand year-round programming and current offerings, he’s looking forward to continuing “to be the awesome Tyrol you all know and love.” “We’re no Vail; we’re just normal people,” McGree said when he answered the ski area’s phone line on a recent afternoon. “Tyrol’s awesome, it’s a great place and a great area for family fun.” The ski area features standard beginner terrain, with a magic carpet to help newbies up the hill without the hassle of a rope tow and gentle, lift-accessed terrain for those who have moved on from the bunny hill. But it also has steeper runs where area ski racers train and an extensive terrain park visible from one of the five lifts. In the past, Tyrol has had a halfpipe, skicross/snowboardcross course and a giant air bag riders can pay to launch into and land safely when learning new tricks. Skiers and snowboarders can buy a lift ticket for $16 every weekday before 4 p.m., and on Tuesdays, rentals, tickets and lessons for beginners are each offered for $15. Starting Jan. 4, there will be a deal on Friday and Saturday nights: $17 for rentals and another $17 for lift tickets from 6:30-11 p.m., when the mountain usually closes at 9. McGree also plans to reach out to local school areas to try to set up ski and snowboard programs for kids. 6 YOUR FAMILY WINTER 2018/2019

Blackhawk Ski Club

10118 Blackhawk Road, Middleton, WI (608) 233-4661, blackhawkskiclub.org

Exotic winter sports that recall visions of Europeans in the Alps have a home just west of Madison at the Blackhawk Ski Club. Founded in 1947 by a group of ski jumpers – the kind you see in the Olympics soaring down a hill with their skis in a V – the club also hosts a vibrant biathlon scene, the sport that combines cross-country skiing and target shooting. Members can also take advantage of a rope tow that provides access to downhill ski trails and use the three warming chalets and extensive trail network to cross-country ski or mountain bike year round. Volunteers come out at all times of the year to clear brush and maintain the trails. The club is a nonprofit that puts its money back into the facilities, making snow and grooming trails, and works with the Madison Metropolitan School District to host middle school and high school cross country ski programs. Membership is purchased on a yearly basis and is broken down into tiers depending on what services one might want. Full membership costs $225 for an individual and $450 for a family, and includes access to all of the race teams. There are individualized plans for certain activities, like telemark skiing and winter biking, and discounted rates for students.


Mt. Bohemia

6532 Gay Lac La Belle Road Mohawk, MI (906) 289-4105 mtbohemia.com

If you’re looking for the most challenging downhill skiing in the Midwest, Mt. Bohemia in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula might be the answer. Two lifts meet at the summit, where riders look out over the 200 acres of skiable terrain before the view melts into the blue waters of Lake Superior stretching to the horizon. With an average snowfall of 273 inches, according to its website, Bohemia gets some of the best snow in the Midwest, and the setup allows riders to explore 270 degrees of the winter playscape, instead of having to stick to the frontside or backside of the mountain like in traditional resorts. Chasing great glade skiing through thinned-out trees all the way down the side of the mountain shoots riders out on an access road, where a trusty shuttle bus shows up in a few minutes to take them back to the base area where the lifts bring riders back to the top. In recent years, the operation has added yurts and it claims it has the largest hot tub in the UP to try to entice guests to stay on the site itself, though there are plenty of options for lodging nearby. The UP enjoys robust tourism year-round, and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling trails abound. The ski area isn’t set up for beginners, and it doesn’t make snow or groom the trails. But there is an air of rugged authenticity that draws riders from all over the Midwest to take advantage of the natural cliffs and steep terrain that’s hard to find east of the Rockies.

ABR Trails

E5299 West Pioneer Road Ironwood, MI (906) 932-3502 abrski.com

The ABR Trails are a system of crosscountry ski trails just over the border in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that boast over 1,100 acres of groomed, skiable terrain for beginners and experts alike. ABR stands for “active backwoods retreats” and was officially started in 1995 by a father-and-son team whose family had been skiing, snowshoeing and cutting its own trails on the land since the 1970s, according to its website. With onsite equipment rentals, a fullservice waxing station, groomed trails and enough room for a group of friends to get lost for a day, the trails have become known for destination crosscountry skiing. Adult tickets cost $14 for a day or $20 for two days. Prices vary for kids, seniors and longer stays. There’s lodging onsite and many rental homes in the area, some with wintertime bonuses like saunas and hot tubs for achy legs. There’s even an onsite Finnish sauna for guests who want to wind down after a day of skiing. Run by Eric Anderson and Angela Santini, the trails have the feel of a family operation. Santini is a staple in the lodge, selling tickets and helping to acquaint guests. Anderson said in a phone interview that they “love doing what we do” and he hopes to keep it up for years to come.

Blue Mound State Park

4350 Mounds Park Road Blue Mounds, WI 608-437-5711 dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/ bluemound

More than 10 miles of cross-country skiing trails roll through Blue Mound State Park during winter months, groomed for classic skiing when conditions allow and skate skiing when the snow doesn’t cooperate. The park’s elevation – at 1,716 feet, the highest point in southern Wisconsin, according to its website – offers spectacular views of the rolling hills of the Driftless Area, where the land was spared the flattening path of glaciers thousands of years ago. The park’s cross-country ski trail system boasts trails to suit all abilities. The John Minx and Pleasure Valley trails are good for beginners, while Flint Rock and Willow Springs offer thrills for more advanced skiers – look for aerobic uphill climbs and downhill slides over the park’s rolling hills. All trails are well-marked, with trail maps posted at most trail junctions. The heated “Friends Shelter” warming house at the ski/snowshoe trailhead is a good place for a group to take a break. While the downhill chutes are exhilarating, the best sensory experience Blue Mounds has to offer may well come through your ears. The park’s unique geological makeup allows for four-season freshwater springs; if you stop your skis long enough, the sound of the springs gurgles through the snow. Like all state parks, there is an entrance fee: $8 for vehicles with Wisconsin license plates, or $28 for an annual pass for all state parks. Skiing requires a state trails pass for all riders over 16 years, which costs $5 for a day or $25 for a calendar year. l WINTER 2018/2019 YOUR FAMILY 7


Be sure you get the whole story on milk TO YOUR HEALTH BY KARA HOERR


’ve made the switch. I no longer use skim milk in my morning cereal or by the glass with my dinner. Instead, I’ve started grabbing the fullfat milk for my family. Before you pour your milk of choice down the drain, however, let me explain. Neither type of milk is necessarily better for you. I grew up on skim milk in the 1990s, when low-fat was everything (and everything was low-fat). In college, I continued to buy skim milk. It’s what I had known growing up, and low-fat dairy was considered a better option due to the high saturated fat content in full-fat dairy products – a known contributor to heart disease and high cholesterol. But then – like most things in an ever-changing field – new research started to emerge. Perhaps the saturated fat from dairy isn’t as harmful as we thought. You might have seen conflicting messages recently, too, and may be utterly confused about what you should be drinking. In the past few decades, full-fat dairy often was shunned in favor of skim or 1 percent because it contains more fat, which means more calories. With this combination, it also was thought that your risk for cardiovascular disease and

obesity would increase. However, in recent years, studies have shown that consuming full-fat dairy did not make individuals more at risk for developing cardiovascular disease or Type 2 diabetes, and they were even possibly less likely to gain weight. It’s not initially intuitive. Even though the American Heart Association still recommends limiting saturated fat in our diets, research has been finding the source of the saturated fat makes a difference on whether it does – or doesn’t – contribute to heart disease. While saturated fat as a category has been shown to increase the bad cholesterol in our blood, the makeup of the fat in dairy milk is such that it might not cause an increased risk of either cardiovascular disease or Type 2 diabetes. Keep in mind that while full-fat dairy might not increase your risk for heart disease, it also isn’t conclusive yet whether it lowers your risk for heart disease. It might be tempting to start using butter and cheese in everything, but unsaturated fats found in oils, nuts, seeds, fatty fish and avocados continue to be the best sources to help lower your risk. Even though whole milk contains twice as many calories as skim milk,

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it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re increasing your risk for becoming obese by drinking it. It’s been hypothesized that those who have low-fat milk may end up compensating for the calories in less healthful ways later on in the day. Full-fat milk might for some people be more satisfying, meaning you get fuller faster and stay satisfied longer. And it’s possible milk fat alters our metabolism and helps us burn and use the fat rather than storing it. There are several questions that still need to be answered. The million-dollar question is what we are supposed to be buying. For now, there is no definite answer. Whichever you choose – whether it’s low-fat or full-fat milk – is up to you and your preferences. Until more research is done, we can’t assume one is superior over the other, so all can fit into a healthy diet. Five years ago, I would have recommended swapping a high-fat milk with skim, no questions asked. But now, I would find other areas in the diet to focus on instead. Choosing between low- or high-fat yogurt or milk isn’t something to spend energy fretting about. My recommendation is that you drink milk of some kind, if you’re able. Dairy is high in so many other beneficial nutrients (calcium, protein, vitamin D and K, magnesium) that rather than focusing on one single nutrient – such as the saturated fat content – we need to look at it as a whole food group. Like all foods we eat, let’s remember to not get hung up on specific nutrients to determine whether it’s “healthy” or not. We eat food, not just nutrients. l Kara Hoerr, MS, RD, CD, is the registered dietitian at the Fitchburg Hy-Vee. This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.


The holidays are about being with family MY BLOOD TYPE IS COFFEE BY RHONDA MOSSNER


s Tom Turkey defrosts and my pumpkin pie bakes in the oven this year, my thoughts will turn to past holidays. This time of year, memories creep in that either brings a small tear or chuckle to our annual preparations. These memories don’t make me sad. Instead, they bring a sense of belonging and purpose to my baking, cooking and gingerbread cookie making. Because what the holidays means to me is family. When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was a busy time. Most years, my family drove to Grandpa and Grandma’s farm in Illinois for the long weekend. It’s funny now how big a trip it felt like for my sister and me in the backseat of the car. We’d pass time reading our books, working in our coloring books, playing the 1970s version of I Spy, and napping. The trip from Iowa was around seven hours if the weather was good. As always, just before we thought we couldn’t take one more minute of travel, my mother would say “We’re here, girls!” I can’t be sure, but I think I recall my father adding, “Thank goodness,” under his breath. I can see Grandma spotting us through her large picture kitchen window smiling as we pulled up to the house. Soon, she’d be out the back door wiping her hands on her homemade apron and spreading her arms wide for a big holiday hug. She would notice how tall we had gotten since summer and would ask if we were hungry since supper was almost ready. Then she’d shoo us away to greet the folks. My sister and I would take our things upstairs and pick the room we would share. At Grandma’s house, there were three rooms to choose from. There was the yellow room, which was the smallest, the big, blue room, where we stayed during our two-week summer visit, and the green room that we always ended up choosing for the holidays. The green room had a great closet to play in for hide-and-seek with our cousins, and it had room for them to stay all night and sleep on the floor if they chose, which they usually did. Soon, we would hear Grandpa come in

from his job in town and yell upstairs, “Who is that I hear up there?” and my sister and I would come pounding down the stairs. “It’s us! It’s us!” we’d yell back, happy to be together again. Grandma would pretend to scold him for getting us all excited. “Oh, Irene,” Grandpa would say, and then he’d give her a big kiss from being gone all day. Maybe she didn’t care if we got all excited after all. In minutes, the large farm table was full of baked chicken, steamy mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, carrots, green beans she had canned during the summer and homemade rolls with warmed butter. Of course, we had milk from right there on the farm to wash it all down. Dessert was usually apple pie, because the pumpkin pies Grandma had lined up on the kitchen counter were for Thanksgiving dinner with the whole family. On Thanksgiving Day we were greeted in the morning with Grandma’s Baking Powder biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast. We were told to eat up because it had to hold us until early afternoon when we would eat our big meal. And eat we did! By mid-morning the aunts, uncles, and cousins arrived and the festivities would begin. The women donned their aprons, present their food offerings to Grandma, who then told them what to do to get things ready. The men would talk and discuss issues of the day in the living room while we kids ran upstairs to play until it was time to eat. Later, I would take my place at the family table, surrounded by my parents, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. There were so many of us, we could hardly squeeze everyone around it, but somehow we always managed to find space for everyone. Those were happy times. It was a time of innocence when I somehow thought it would always be that way. Maybe that’s why I can still see Grandma’s joy as she greets us at her door and smell the aroma of her warm apple pies baking in her oven. l In addition to her blog, TheDanglingThread.blogspot.com, Rhonda Mossner is a professional speaker, quilter and chef.

Overnight Easy Caramel Rolls

No time for farmhouse baking at my house on holiday mornings. I simply assemble these rolls together the night before and my guests wake up to the aroma of fresh baked caramel rolls in the morning! I am sure there are many versions of this recipe, but mine comes from Faith Lutheran Church Cookbook, Pierre, S.D., 1985. ½ cup butter, melted 1 cup brown sugar 2 Tablespoons milk Cinnamon, to taste Frozen dinner rolls (12-14) 1 large box of butterscotch or vanilla pudding (not instant) Shortening for preparing baking pan Extra butter, optional Before bed: Mix all ingredients except bread dough in a medium bowl and set aside. Generously grease a bundt pan (or large tube pan with high sides) with shortening being sure to get into all the grooves to avoid sticking. Place pan on a large cookie sheet with sides lined with foil or parchment paper. The mixture turns to caramel and can ooze out. Layer half of the frozen dinner rolls around evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the mixture from your bowl. Repeat until you have used all ingredients. Dot with extra butter if desired. Place in cold oven overnight in middle of rack. Lower racks in oven a notch below the center to allow plenty of headspace for baking in the morning. Rolls need about five hours for rising before baking. The next morning: Check to see rolls have risen. The top of the dough should be even with the top of the bundt pan, slightly lower with a tube pan as sides are higher. Do not remove from oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30-35 minutes. Start timing after preheating. One per person to start, as they are big and sticky! WINTER 2018/2019 YOUR FAMILY 9


Discovering Rockford An electric current ball can be found on the second floor of the Discovery Center Museum.

Plenty to do south of the Illinois state line


. . . p i r T y


Story and photos by Kimberly Wethal

espite growing up just 45 minutes from the Wisconsin-Illinois border, I only need two hands to count the number of times I’ve crossed over it. The number of times I’ve been to Rockford requires only one. So when I was assigned to take on our Day Trip there a few months ago, I was really excited to plan a trip to a place that I’d heard so much about, but never taken the time to go see. My prior experience with the second-


largest city in Illinois was limited. I was an adult before I’d stepped foot in this a city 13 miles south of the border with a population of 153,000, and it was mostly trips to two homes, a Dairy Queen and the movie theater she had previously worked at. Earlier last month on a chilly and drizzly Monday, I dragged my boyfriend out of bed at 8 a.m. to make the 1-hour, 15-minute drive and spend the day exploring some of the attractions in the downtown and in the surrounding area.

What we found was a host of activities that could fit any kind of group you’re taking a trip with, from a trip with your significant other to friend groups or families with children of any age. I planned for us an itinerary of two downtown museums, a quick lunch at a restaurant across the Rock River, a stroll through gardens that would provide the two of us – both photographers – plenty of photo fodder and end our day at an apple orchard 30


minutes east of the city in Poplar Grove. For how busy our day was from mid-morning to later in the afternoon, we left knowing we’d barely having scratched the surface, and could see returning just to experience more of what the northern Illinois city has to offer. Hopefully we’ll return enough times that I’ll need more than two hands to count.

Museum fun

Our day began with a stop at the iconic Burpee Museum of Natural History, located on North Main Street. I had been anticipating seeing this museum for myself since earlier this year, when one of my newspaper stories involved an area resident who had accompanied museum staff to Utah for an archeological dig. We were slightly taken aback by the modest outward appearance of the museum, which looked like a 19th-century home. But we found plenty to marvel at inside. We started on the main level of the four-story building, dedicated to prehistoric artifacts. We came face-to-face with multiple skeletons, including one named Jane, who looked to be around 90 percent recovered fossils, with the remainder of her skeleton made out of replica bones to finish her frame. The second floor focused on the parts of Earth we can’t see, below the surface. It detailed rock formations, tectonic plate shifts, minerals and the story of how Rockford’s landscape was formed from being located near the equator 1.5 billion years ago to now, all topics I found fascinating. The third floor was split into two – one side consisted of animal and plant life exhibits from around the world, the other was dedicated to Native American history. The basement floor contains a lab for processing fossils and ancient artifacts. Both of us remarked as we walked to the Discovery Center Museum just down the block that if we’d had the time, we could have spent a few more hours soaking it all in. Instead, we transitioned into 22- and 24-year-old children. The first floor of the Discovery Center – which was designed for kids half our ages – comprised different rooms featuring weather patterns and clouds, space exploration, farm equipment and color illusions. We took more of a liking to the second floor, where before we could enter the electricity area, my boyfriend decided he had to sit down and pedal a bike to generate 100 watts of energy to power lights on the top of the arch at the front of the exhibit. Then we played with a plasma globe and attempted to attach wires to power sources to run small machines (without much luck). Other exhibits on the second floor included a special play area for toddlers and a large body science and athletics area, complete with a dance floor. If you have inquisitive children (or young-at-heart twentysometings), a combination of both museums, where admission is $8 for both places, is an easy way to spark a little one’s imagination for a few hours.

Pub grub

I’d asked my editor, a Rockford native, for advice on an iconic Rockford restaurant to stop at for lunch, and he suggested we instead find lunch downtown, just a few blocks from the museums, as any other group of people might after a morning of museum sightseeing. But being too much of a Type A personality for kind of spontaneity, I met him halfway, selecting a restaurant ahead Continued on page 12

Dinosaur skeletons fill the first floor of the Burpee Museum of Natural History.

Other Rockford attractions

There were a few attractions recommended to us that we didn’t get around to visiting. Here are a couple of other places in Rockford that might be worth visiting, if you get a chance: Sinnissippi Gardens and Park Located along the Rock River, Sinnissippi Gardens and Park are a good place to stop if you haven’t gotten enough of a nature fill from the Anderson Japanese Gardens. According to gorockford.com, the Gardens feature over 2,000 rose plants from 62 varieties. On the eastern side of North Second Street, visitors will find a wooded park that is home to the Sinnissippi Park Music Shell, where free concerts are held on summer evenings and the Festival of Lights is set up during the holidays. Midway Village Museum Take a step back into Rockford’s history at the Midway Village Museum, where time stands still in the years between 1890 and 1910. The grounds feature 26 historical Victorian buildings and a 19th century garden. The museum hosts events throughout the year such as The Great War: World War I, Sock Monkey Madness Festival, Scarecrow Harvest Festival and World War II Days. Toad Hall Books and Records For music and book lovers, Toad Hall Books and Records is a great place to stop to find unusual and vintage records and paperbacks. The store, a landmark of Rockford for four decades, was started by Larry and Bev Mason who separately ran record and book stores, respectively, and merged them when they married. WINTER 2018/2019 YOUR FAMILY 11

Holiday fun in Rockford

For more information on holiday events taking place in Rockford in December, visit gorockford.com Nov. 30-Dec. 2 34th Annual Rockton Christmas Walk, Friday Pub Crawl, Saturday pancake breakfast, Lighted Christmas parade and Santa visit, Sunday chocolate goodies and library book sale Dec. 1 9th Annual Tour de Frost, annual bike ride around the city Local Holiday Market for Winnebago County businesses Dec. 1-2 The Nutcracker at the Coronado Performing Arts Center, Rockford Dance Company Dec. 1-16 All Aglow Express, Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens Dec. 6 Candy Cane Hunt, Nature at The Confluence Learning Center Dec. 7 A Charlie Brown Christmas, Starlight Theatre at Rock Valley College Dec. 7-8 Luminaria Walk, Stroll on a candlelit trail at Severson Dells Nature Center Dec. 7-9 Festival of Lights in Sinnissippi Park Dec. 14-16 Festival of Lights in Sinnissippi Park A Christmas Carol: Radio Play at Artists’ Ensemble Theater Dec. 15-16 Holiday Pops concert at by the Rockford Symphony Orchestra at Coronado Performing Arts Center Dec. 16 Langston Hughes’ “A Black Nativity” at the Ethnic Heritage Museum Dec. 20 Winter Solstice Gathering and Luminary Walk at the Nature at The Confluence Learning Center Dec. 21-23 Festival of Lights in Sinnissippi Park Dec. 24-25 Festival of Lights in Sinnissippi Park Dec. 26-30 Holiday Hoopla at the Discovery Center Museum Dec. 28-31 Festival of Lights in Sinnissippi Park 12 YOUR FAMILY WINTER 2018/2019


DISCOVERING ROCKFORD Continued from page 11

The Anderson Japanese features multiple waterfall features around the park.

of time across the river. A four-minute drive took us to Prairie Street Brewing Company, a cozy midsize restaurant with exposed lightcolored brick walls, prominent lighting fixtures and a glass window behind the bar where patrons can watch as beer is brewed. We knew walking in we’d only be getting half of the experience – not only was it noon on a Monday, a bit early for a drink, but neither of us are beer drinkers. (Yes, we are both from Wisconsin and know that borders on blasphemy.) The wait staff was friendly and willing to help select our entrees, and the service was prompt. As we waited, we watched the Brewers-Cubs game, cheering for my team in enemy territory. My jaw dropped as I received my meal, which looked like they had placed the entire fish on a bun for me. I kept grabbing at the sweet potato fries that came with my boyfriend’s chicken sandwich. I wouldn’t recommend it for young children, but it’s suitable to grab a drink and a meal after work with friends.

A statute at the Anderson Japanese Gardens.

A garden stroll

We walked off those generous portion sizes on the pebbled paths of Anderson


Rows of bagged candy sit along the wall in the Apple Barn at Edwards Apple Orchard. The Apple Barn featured homemade goods, salsas, candles and other home decor.

Japanese Gardens just north of the downtown, looking at streams, waterfalls and foliage. The gorgeous gardens were founded in 1978 after a Rockford businessman visited an Japanese-style garden in Portland, Ore., and decided that he wanted to turn his backyard into the same. It turned out to be a good idea to attend on a Monday, because it allowed us to really take our time observing and photographing the landscape and not feel rushed by other people looking to keep moving on the narrow paths only wide enough for two. We had some bouts of confusion there – a lack of clear signage had us unsure about how to access the visitor’s center to pay the admission fee, and multiple times we were able to walk down paths that were labeled “staff only” on the other side, making us second-guess whether we were in areas it was okay for visitors to be in. The experience was good overall, but for the price of admission at $9 a person, it’s OK to skip if you’re on a budget. The gardens are open from late April to the end of October.

the basement of the big, red apple barn for apple cider (my boyfriend’s favorite) and apple cider donuts (what brought me there in the first place). We were pleased with how affordable both the cider and the donuts were, and that feeling continued to the upstairs of the apple barn, where a country general store met a farmers market met a homegoods store with candles, candy and samples of homemade dips, salsas and jams. If there was a pretzel or cracker near a sample, it was a pretty safe bet we were trying it.

We then went over to socialize with the farm animals, glance at some of the farming artifacts of decades past and finished our day by meandering back into the apple barn, where I picked up a bag of gala apples for our way home to Madison. The orchard also sells pumpkins and allows visitors to drive their vehicles into the apple trees to pick a bushel for $45, an activity perfect for a group of friends or a family with older children. For families with younger children, a playground near the farm animals features barnyard play structures. l


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The history of Black Friday

Black Friday marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Come Black Friday, shoppers strive to get the lowest prices on gifts for their loved ones. Much of the focus of Black Friday is on finding the best deals, but it can be interesting to take a breath and learn how this phenomenon developed and how it has evolved over the years.

“Black Friday”

The term “black Friday” was originally associated with gold prices and manipulation on the part of speculators Jay Gould and James Fisk. This scandal occurred in September 1869. Commodity prices plummeted 50 percent as a result, and the term “black Friday” was coined to refer to that drop. The phrase “black Friday” also became famous for all the wrong reasons in 1966. Philadelphia police used it to refer to the Friday traffic jams and crowding in downtown stores from tourists and shoppers who flooded into the city in advance of the Army-Navy football game held the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year. Bigger crowds and rowdiness contributed to long hours and stressful shifts for local police.

Black Friday reinvented

The retail industry started using the term “Black Friday” in the late 1980s. Spin doctors turned previously negative connotations into positive ones by associating the phrase with stores turning a profit and moving accounting ledgers from “red to black” thanks to big year-end sales. Retailers and consumers rallied around low-cost “doorbusters” and other discounted prices.

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Interestingly enough, according to the National Retail Federation, Black Friday really hasn’t been the most lucrative day for retailers over the years. In fact, greater profits and larger crowds are often seen on the last Saturday preceding Christmas.

Shopping weekend evolves

While Black Friday may have been the catalyst, in recent years shoppers have made the entire weekend of Black Friday a lucrative one for retailers. Many stores now open on Thanksgiving and extend sales through the entire weekend. Small Business Saturday and Sunday promote patronizing mom-and-pop stores. Cyber Monday emerged when online shopping became a popular way to grab deals, and it marks the close of the opening weekend of the holiday shopping season. In 2017, Black Friday weekend attracted 174 million shoppers who spent an average of $335.47, according to the NRF.




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Ann Hamon, who lives on the east side of Madison, moves a game piece with Jill Hatleberg, Monona, looking on while they play Ex Libris at the “Old Geezers” board game day at Pegasus Games in Madison.

Getting on board ‘Old-school’ gaming making a comeback in digital age Story and photos by Mark Nesbitt


hen Jeffary Sonnentag walks into the game room at Madison’s Pegasus Games, it’s a flood of memories and nostalgia back to his childhood passion for playing board games. 18 YOUR FAMILY WINTER 2018/2019

Every Wednesday, he’s a regular at the “Old Geezers” board game day at the game store, one of a growing number of people of all ages in the area getting interested – or re-interested – in good, old-fashioned board games.

Sonnentag said he’s been hooked on board games since he could read, and in his 35-plus years of gaming, he’s collected more than 900 of them. Of course, there isn’t space to keep them all, he said, so he only keeps the ones

he still plays (adding some occasionally when he likes the cover art) and gets rid of the ones he doesn’t. He said he rotates games in and out for a good reason. “It helps me sustain my marriage and my collection,” Sonnentag quipped, noting that his wife is more interested in newer games that the older, familiar ones. For board games lovers these days, there’s plenty of both. Before the advent of cell phones, Facebook and Instagram, when families wanted a night of entertainment, camaraderie and laughs, they would often turn to board games. In those days, many games were based around the luck of rolling dice and moving game pieces, like Monopoly, Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders and Risk, or more advanced ones like Axis and Allies. While those traditional games remain popular, they’ve been joined by role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, and more recent additions like Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan and Castle Panic. According to area game store owners and aficionados, the board gaming industry is undergoing expansion and growth in Dane County, with more places to buy and play the games competitively, and more demand from players. Even in this digital age where most games are played on cell phones or game systems, people from the youngest kids to the youngest-at-heart senior citizens are enjoying the strategy, fantasy and face-to-face camaraderie only “old school” board games can provide.

Board game boom

Brett Myers, Madison game designer and founder of the group Madison Board Games, said the latest report he’s read noted a 10 percent increase in the board game industry in just the past year. And that spike in interest is evident all over the area, with more and more outlets for gamers to fulfill their competitive desire and find some entertainment. Verona Public Library youth services librarian Mary Ostrander said with the “boom” right now in board game publishing, they’re doing their best to keep up with the increased demand for games at the library The library has expanded its board game collection from 15 to 52 in the past year, with 519 games checked out


Jeff Bopp, Madison, makes a move in a game of Stratego Oct. 17 at Pegasus Games. Bopp said his favorite games are Dungeons and Dragons and Chronicles of Darkness.

since it started its rental program last year. That surge of interest and products hasn’t gone unnoticed in the local business sector, either, with new board game stores popping up all over the area. And board game makers are growing, too, with manufacturers like I’m Board! Games and Family Fun, a board game company in Middleton, expanding soon into Sun Prairie. I’m Board! Games owner Bryan Winter said the new Sun Prairie store is slated to open in early November in the Prairie Lakes Shopping Center, on the road leading to the Marcus Palace Cinema. “It’s a long time coming,” he said. Winter said when he opened the Middleton store seven years ago, he considered opening on the east side of the Madison-area, but changed his mind when he saw “all the demographic

research and marketing was saying Middleton.” “That was the right call,” he said. “It was time to start looking at expansion (and) it’s an extraordinary popular area that really is growing fast. The trends were certainly pointing to that being a good area to get into.” In nearby Fitchburg, Noble Knight Games has expanded into a new 45,000-square-foot store that opened Nov. 5, featuring a 23-foot castle storefront. General manager Dan Leeder said just before the move he was excited about coming here. “There is such a great gaming culture in the Madison area,” he said. “We just felt like from a regional and employee perspective it made so much sense.” The store, which buys and sells games, has around 2,800 available for its customers, who come from far and wide. Continued on page 20 WINTER 2018/2019 YOUR FAMILY 19

GETTING ON BOARD Continued from page 19 “We are known in the gaming industry for ‘Where the Out-Of-Print is Available Again,’” Leeder said.

‘Geezers’ welcome

When it comes time to playing, the world of board gaming and table top games goes well beyond children or teenagers. Talking trash and trying to get a leg up on friends while playing board and tabletop games brings many circles of friends together – young and notso-young. That’s the idea behind “Old Geezers” night at Pegasus Games, a board gaming and role playing store in Madison.

FAMILYFUN The board game day, held every Wednesday afternoon, was designed to give people in the older generations opportunities to play new and unfamiliar board games, particularly some of the newer, more complex ones, said co-owner and general manager Lory Aitken. “They enjoy learning new games that have more thinking than just rolling the dice and moving a piece,” she said. “They like games that make them think more and use more strategy.” For Beth Tucker Long, walking through Pegasus Games is like a trip back in time to her days as a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison 20

years ago, when she said she developed a passion for board gaming that’s continued to this day. Now, she hosts board games twice a month at her Verona home, something that brings her back to fond childhood memories, as well. “My family always played games growing up like Monopoly and Clue,” Long said. “I think the thing I like the most about gaming is the role playing and teaching new starters new games.” Long and her family also host an board and role playing event twice a year, called Exploricon, where she rents hotel space and sets up dozens of board and role playing games for people to test out. For those wishing to test their skills, the next Exploricon is scheduled for Jan. 18-19 at the Wyndham Garden in Fitchburg – two days to give gamers plenty of time to do their thing. “There are a lot of games that take a lot of time to prepare that we like to play,” Long said. “This gives us more motivation to have these events so we can play those games.” Ann Hamon, another regular at “Old Geezers” nights, has been playing board games for even longer – 65 years, in fact. The Madison resident said she started playing Monopoly as a child and then advanced to European-type games, although she still enjoys the simplicity of a puzzle game to put books in alphanumeric order. “When I was growing up, this was the first library game I played,” she recalled. For Sonnentag, the game that got him started was a 1903 version of the stock trading game “Pit” he purchased for 25 cents at a Goodwill, complete with brown wax paper around the two packs of game cards. He said the “uniqueness” of the game drew his attention, and it ended up being a hit with him and his friends.

Fun with family and friends

Allan Bishell, Verona, shops for a new board game during the opening ble Knight Games Modnay, Nov. 5 in Fitchburg. Bishell pucrahsed two including Exit, a Murdery mystery type game that Jess Carrier, Noble Games event coordinator said was an escape room in a box-type


of Nogames Knight game.

There are plenty of places around the Dane County area to play board and tabletop games. Board game companies like Noble Knight Games in Fitchburg, I’m Board! in Middleton and Pegasus Games in Madison offer open times for people to try new board games and host various tournaments. And for people looking to try other locations, there are more and more options to play around the Madison area, from libraries to bars. Continued on page 27

What’s hot this winter


Bryan Winter, former game designer and owner of I’m Board! Games and Family Fun in Middleton, said while customers constantly ask what’s the new “big thing,” board gaming isn’t driven by sweeping fads like other items. “There is no Tickle Me Elmo in our industry,” he said. Last year alone, around 3,500 new tabletop games came out – about 10 per day, Winter said, so even if people just go online and see what’s selling, it doesn’t mean it’s a good fit. “What game is hot or fun depends on your interests,” he said. “Your decision of Noble Knight Games event coordinator Jess what is fun is different for each group.” Carrier organizes games during the store’s The best thing is to do a bit of research, and see if the games sound interesting. opening Monday, Nov. 5 in Fitchburg. Thankfully, as Winter pointed out, there is an ever-growing volume and variety. Here’s the scoop some of the more popular games – and why they’re popular – according to an interview with Winter and fellow area board gaming expert Lory Aitken of Pegasus Games in Madison: Trivial Pursuit A retro game that ruled the 1980s, Winter said Trivial Pursuit is one of several party games becoming more popular again, despite the occasional problem if the questions are too difficult. “It’s only fun for the one person who knows all of the answers,” he said. “Everyone is just sitting around waiting for them.” Dungeons and Dragons Now in a new, fifth edition, this dicefilled medieval role-playing adventure game from the 1970s and 1980s is seeing a revival, Winter said. Players can create their own characters as they interact; one of the first games to do this. “It used to be we would call it the nerd or geek culture,” he said. “Now, with TV shows like Stranger Things and Riverdale, some of those role-playing games are are becoming more popular.” Settlers of Catan The heir to the Dungeons and Dragons throne, first published in 1995 in Germany, Winter said this is the game that sparked the recent board game renaissance. “That was the sea-change moment; the first big firework,” he said of the game’s release. Players assume the roles of settlers, each attempting to build and develop holdings while trading and acquiring resources, gaining points as their settlements grow. The core game costs $49 for 3-4 players, and there are expansions available to add features. Sushi Go! The most popular game at I’m Board!, this is a card game where players are eating at a sushi restaurant and trying to

grab the best combination of dishes as they whiz by, scoring points for collecting the most sushi rolls or making a full set of sashimi. The best part? It only takes around 15 minutes to play a game, Winter said. “You can get a game or two in between different things you are doing and it’s easy to teach,” he said. “It’s fast-thinking, social and engaging.” Azul This game, where players move ceramic floor tiles from a factory, earned the German award, Spiel des Jahres, for top new game of the year. “It’s like winning the Oscar for best picture,” Winter said. Players take turns drafting colored tiles from suppliers to their player board. Later in the round, players score points based on how they’ve placed their tiles to decorate a palace. Kingdomino

Another 2017 Spiel des Jahres Game of the Year winner, this new take on an old game is what Aitken recommended most last holiday season. “It’s a twist on the build your best building/city/country/kingdom game,” he said. “Part of its appeal is that most folks know how dominoes plays, so it does not seem foreign. Each player is building a kingdom with tiles, and the strategy lies in the choosing and placing of these tiles, with scoring based on the number of contiguous terrain types. “You never really know the winner until the last tile is placed,” she said.

Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate Explore dark alleys and deadly catacombs, work with your fellow adventurers to survive in this multiplayer game. But beware, you never know when, or even if, someone will become a traitor and tries to hide it. “Hamming up your character and identifying the traitor make the fun,” Aitken said. Pandemic

Players have different skills to work together to stop ghastly disease outbreaks all over the world. Can Logistics get the Chemist to Siberia in time? Not without the Pilot. The problem is, at least one essential professional is not included in any given game. “Challenging but possible to win, Aitken said “Every game is different. Lords of Waterdeep A strategy game for 2-5 players, each is a secret Lord of the city with his or her own goal. At each turn, send your agents to locations to take advantage of their specialty: information, thugs, buying property, buying influence. See if you can discern the goals of the other players and get in their way. Mysterium

“A whole new kind of game,” Aitken said, where one player is the “Ghost,” who uses gorgeous artwork on cards to tell up to six other players the details of her/his murder. “Hopefully the detectives interpret the art the way the ghost intends,” she said. WINTER 2018/2019 YOUR FAMILY 21

Rejuvenating in wilderness FAMILYFUN

Story by Bill Livick Photos by Minnesota Dept of Tourism

Boundary waters trip is challenging & rewarding About the Canoe Area

The 1,090,000-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota extends along 150 miles of the U.S.Canada border and includes over 1,100 lakes and hundreds of miles of rivers and streams, according to the U.S. Forest Service. About 80 percent of the area is dense forest and rocky bluffs, crisscrossed by numerous hiking trails. The area’s preservation as a primitive wilderness began in the 1900s and culminated in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act of 1978. It is a popular destination for canoeing, hiking and fishing, and it is one of the most visited wildernesses in the United States, attracting approximately 250,000 visitors per year. It contains more than 2,000 backcountry campsites, 1,200 miles of canoe routes, and 12 different hiking trails. The Boundary Waters wilderness is popular for canoeing, canoe touring, fishing, backpacking, dog sledding and enjoying the area’s remote wilderness character. 22 YOUR FAMILY WINTER 2018/2019

While there are hiking trails in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness, canoeing is the most efficient way to see the area’s pristine lakes and rocky, forest-covered islands.


ix days paddling and five nights camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness seemed like a longer time than it was. Apparently, that’s what happens when one’s mind is dramatically expanding. My first “through trip” in the area was indeed a mind-blowing experience, a journey through time and space filled with water, forest and islands. What stands out most when I think back is the vast expanse of pristine landscape and the absence of human-related sound. Motors that drive the modern world make noise, and you don’t hear them in the Boundary Waters wilderness – not even a plane flying overhead. I joined a group of eight other men for a canoe trip in August that took us across some 20 lakes in a loop beginning at Seagull Lake and ending on Round Lake in the Superior National Forest of northeastern Minnesota. It was an exhilarating week physically and mentally, and I enjoyed the company of the group. It was a stark contrast to the way I usually travel and explore the world – solo. I’ve been doing outdoor adventures since my late teens and have had amazing experiences in places as far from home as Egypt, Israel and the mountains and islands of Greece. For years, Colorado and the American Southwest was a favorite region for camping, backpacking and mountain biking. But there’s an allure in the environs around Lake Superior that captured my imagination years ago and has kept me returning for decades. Twenty years ago, I rode a mountain bike from Madison north to Ashland on the south shore of the world’s largest freshwater lake – what the Ojibwe people call gitchi-gumi – and circled the shining blue water, camping along the way before returning. Yet until August, at age 62, I had never visited the Boundary Waters, which combined with the adjacent Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, comprises more than 2 million acres of protected wilderness area. The group I traveled with included six young men with whom I was not well acquainted, ranging in age from 19 to 26, along with two childhood friends from my hometown of Janesville. Four of the younger guys are brothers, including a pair of twins, and for the most part, it was fun exploring the area with such a big,

energetic group. Packing up and hitting the trail each day with a bunch of strong guys in their 20s felt like what I imagine it would be as a member of a military platoon. And I was reminded that a shared experience can enhance it in fundamental ways.


Journey across lakes

The trip involved paddling across lakes to the point where they end and lead to another lake, usually with a portage to the next lake. Most of the lakes are connected by rivers that tumble over small waterfalls. Intensely scenic trails run beside them, and since it’s not possible to paddle a canoe laden with gear against the rivers’ currents, the only option is to land the boat, unload it and carry it (and any equipment) over uneven, often steep, rocky terrain to the next lake. It’s an exercise we repeated more than a dozen times. There are more than 2,000 designated campsites established on islands throughout the Boundary Waters. To find them, and to navigate a route through the area, you need maps and a compass. Each campsite is marked on a map with a red dot, and portages are shown as a series of dotted lines. They’re easy to see on the map, but finding their locations on the Earth is another matter. They’re never obvious – at least, not to a novice – and it took several days before I started to get the hang of correlating what appeared on maps with what I was seeing on the land and water. You could easily become lost in the vast expanse of lakes and islands, and I was fortunate to travel with people who’d made a “through trip” – as opposed to leaving from a location and returning along the same route – once before. The only human-made things in the area are campsites, each of which has a fire ring and a pit toilet that’s located in the woods 100 yards or more from tent sites. Each day began with a designated camp cook making breakfast over a fire, washing dishes, breaking camp and loading tents and other gear into our four heavy aluminum canoes. Then it was paddling to the next portage, crossing another lake and doing it again until we reached our next campsite. There was plenty of time each day for pumping lake water through a filter for cooking and drinking, observing the natural world around us, exploring the islands and swimming in those magnificent lakes.

When the water is still, it reflects the landscape like a mirror.

Cliff jumping, loons at dusk

A highlight for me was our fourth night out, camping on an island in Little Saganaga Lake (which is, in fact, a large lake with many islands). There, we discovered a rocky bluff towering 100 feet above the clear water. From atop the bluff, you could see treecovered islands, rock outcrops and water in all directions. It proved an ideal spot for jumping from cliffs – below the blufftop and perhaps 25 feet above the water – into the deep, refreshing lake. It’s an activity I’ve enjoyed at various spots in the Apostle Islands and along the Lake Superior shoreline, as well. Each time I thrust myself off the edge of a cliff and plunge into a body of cold water, I get the same exhilarating thrill and rush of adrenaline. I find it reminiscent of the fun I had as a 16-year-old. Perhaps my favorite part of the journey was the portages, which not everyone in our group would agree with. But paddling a canoe for hours, even in the most scenic landscapes, can become a bit monotonous. I relished the times we reached the end of a lake, located the portage and undertook the demanding task of carrying gear and boats up and down trials that often involved crossing streams and maneuvering over rugged terrain. A favorite time each day came at dusk, when the wind calms and water becomes as smooth as glass, the sun is setting and you hear the mournful wail of loons, those astounding, otherworldly creatures. Speaking of loons, it was surprising how little wildlife we saw during a week in the Boundary Waters. Other than those beautiful, eccentric birds and an occasional bald eagle or hawk, we didn’t see much. There were signs of black bears at the campsites, however, and we hung our food packs from trees at night as a precaution.

The company of others

Our group paddled a well-used route through the area, and we did it opposite of what most people do. That was good, because we got to encounter other paddlers at portage sites and share stories and learn what lay ahead. Inevitably, there was a feeling of camaraderie. Spending a week in the Boundary Waters reassured that me I’m not too old – not yet – to be energized and reinvigorated by visiting new places and undertaking new challenges. I hope it portends good things as I near retirement, knowing I’ll have more free time to discover beautiful landscapes. And I was reminded that having companions on outdoor adventures can be a very good thing, as well. l

Permits required Permits are required for all overnight visits to the BWCAW. Quota permits are required for groups taking an overnight paddle or hiking trip from May 1 through Sept. 30. These permits must be reserved in advance. Day use paddle and hiking permits do not require advance reservation and can be filled out at BWCAW entry points. From Oct. 1 through April 30, permit reservations are not necessary, but a permit must be filled out at permit stations located at each entry point. Each permit must specify the trip leader, the specific entry point and the day of entry. The permits are for an indefinite length, although visitors are only allowed one entry into the wilderness and cannot stay in one campsite for more than 14 nights. WINTER 2018/2019 YOUR FAMILY 23


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Slow Cooker Spiced-Cranberry Pork

Espresso-Chocolate Chip Angel Food Cake

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Slow Cooker Spiced-Cranberry Pork Serves 8

3½ to 4 pound pork shoulder 1 - 6-oz. can jellied cranberry sauce

⁄3 cup sugar ⁄4 cup cranberry juice

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2 tbsp. Dijon-style mustard 1½ tsp. ground cloves 1 tsp. ground black pepper Salt to taste Trim fat from pork roast, if necessary. Place roast in 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Use wire whisk to stir together cranberry sauce and sugar in medium bowl. Stir in juice, mustard, cloves and pepper until well combined. Pour cranberry mixture over roast in slow cooker. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until pork roast is tender. Season roast to taste with salt; serve juices with roast.

Chili Con Grafton: Cheddar Dip

2½ lbs. Grafton cheddar, diced or shredded (1- or 2-year aged)

11⁄3 cups milk 1 cup diced onion ½ cup diced Anaheim chiles ½ cup sliced jalapenos ½ cup tomatoes, diced 2 tsp. chopped fresh garlic 1 tsp. ground cumin 1¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper Heat the cheese and milk in a double boiler until melted and smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Put mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. Place the dip in a bowl and serve with your favorite chips or vegetable strips. Option: For a smoky taste, add in some Grafton Maple Smoked Cheddar.

Send your favorite recipe(s) to aroberts@wcinet.com

Tortilla Soup

Espresso-Chocolate Chip Angel Food Cake

4 corn tortillas, freshly made or a few days old 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus extra for frying 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 - 14-ounce can plum tomatoes, drained 4 cups chicken stock Small bunch cilantro Salt and ground black pepper Using a sharp knife, cut each tortilla into 4 or 5 strips, each measuring about 3 ⁄4 inches wide. Pour vegetable oil to a depth of 3⁄4 inch into a heavy frying pan. Heat until a small piece of tortilla, added to the oil, floats on the top and bubbles at the edges. Add a few tortilla strips to the hot oil and fry for a few minutes, until crisp and golden brown all over, turning them occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a double layer of paper towels. Cook the remaining tortilla strips in the same way. Heat the 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large, heavy pan. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula, until the onion is soft and translucent. Do not let the garlic turn brown or it will give the soup a bitter taste. Chop the tomatoes using a large, sharp knife and add them to the onion mixture in the pan. Pour in the chicken stock and stir well. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes, until the liquid has reduced slightly. Chop the cilantro. Add to the soup, reserving a little to use as a garnish. Season to taste. Place a few of the crisp tortilla pieces in the bottom of four warmed soup bowls. Ladle the soup on top. Sprinkle each portion with the reserved chopped cilantro and serve.

2 tsp. instant espresso powder 11⁄3 cups cake flour, sifted 1 ⁄8 tsp. kosher salt 13⁄4 cups (about 12 large) egg whites 1 tsp. cream of tartar 13⁄4 cups granulated sugar 1½ tsp. vanilla extract 1¼ tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice 3 ⁄4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, coarsely chopped Preheat the oven to 350o. Have ready an ungreased 10-inch nonstick angel food cake pan. Sift together the espresso powder and flour onto a piece of parchment paper or into a bowl. Add the salt and set aside. Put the egg whites in the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and whip on medium speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to high and continue whipping while slowly pouring in the sugar until the whites are firm and satiny, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add the vanilla and lemon juice and then add the dry ingredients. When the flour mixture is almost completely incorporated, remove the bowl from the mixer stand and fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula. Make sure that the chips are spread evenly throughout the batter and that the flour mixture is evenly incorporated. But be careful not to overmix, or you will deflate the batter and the cake will not rise fully in the oven. Pour the batter into the cake pan. Cut through the batter a few times with a table knife to break up any air pockets. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Invert the cake and let cool completely upside down in the pan. (If the pan does not have feet, balance the inverted pan on the neck of a bottle or rest the edge of the pan rim on three or four ramekins.) To unmold the cake, run a long knife around the inside edge of the pan. Then, holding the center tube, free the cake from the pan sides. Slip a knife between the cake and the bottom of the pan to loosen the cake and gently flip the cake over, letting it fall onto a platter. (If the pan does not have a removable bottom, release the sides with the knife, then place a platter on top of the cake. Gently invert the platter and the cake together. Lift off the pan.) To server, cut into slices with a serrated knife, using a gentle sawing motion.

Serves 4


Serves 10 to 12

GETTING ON BOARD Continued from page 21 And sometimes both. The Verona Public Library has teamed up with the Hop Haus Brewing Company to offer a board game night once a month. The event started in July and has drawn as many as 20 people. The Oct. 15 event was wellattended, despite it being the same night as a Green Bay Packers Monday Night Football game and a Milwaukee Brewers playoff game. Katie Olsen of Verona and Lex Martin, from the Town of Madison, made the trek in for a night of gaming and drinks, including the card game, “Organ Attack,” the object of which is to remove all of an opponent’s’ organ cards by using attack cards. “A friendly game of organ harvesting,” Martin quipped. “I bring this one around quite a bit because it tends to keeps people amused.” Another of Olsen’s favorites is “Lift It,” where players strap a crane to their heads and attempt to “remove stuff.” “It’s fun to play while you have been drinking,” she said. For families with younger children and teens that may not want to play in a bar setting, they can check out board games from the library at no charge with a library card. “We try to purchase games so people who think (board games) are really expensive can try them out before they buy them,” Ostrander said. And for those looking for a bit of variety in their gaming locations, for the past several years, Madison Board Games and Beer has hosted a public board gaming night Tuesdays at various bars around Madison. The group is free and open to the public, said organizer Myers, who encouraged people to come out and give it a shot. “I wanted to have a weekly game night and through my friends in the brewing industry, the bars wanted to have me,” he said. “I just ask that you drink a beer or two with us and tip the waitress.” l



The lure of the tabletop

There are many motivations for what lures people to board games. Some are looking for ways to connect and meet new people – others want the challenge of competition, or solving a storyline, problem or puzzle. “(Board games can) allow people to learn strategy, Some of the many board teamwork, cooperation and compromise,” said Dan games at Pegasus Games in Leeder, general manager of Fitchburg’s Noble Knight Madison. Games. “Or even how to lose gracefully.” For others, in a time when many people are just “staring at their cell phones” by themselves, board gaming and other tabletop games offer some an outlet for socializing and connecting with others with similar interests. “They want to all get together, and I think that is why they are playing more tabletop games with friends and family,” said Lory Aitken, co-owner and general manager of Pegasus Games in Madison. Madison’s Jeff Bopp, who grew up playing role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, said he feels a personal connection while playing tabletop role playing games. “I enjoy the immersion into a storyline; it’s almost like stepping into a novel,” he said. “You learn about collaborative imaginations of story building. There’s a lot of exercise of your imagination you may not get otherwise.” Jeffary Sonnentag, who enjoys attending the weekly “Old Geezers” board gaming event at Madison’s Pegasus Games, said it’s about more than just winning, something he has in common with many of the gamers who attend. “These people will tell you that,” he said. “I enjoy gaming with adults, the puzzles and camaraderie. I enjoy teaching games and introducing new people to gaming.”


Your Family staff member Scott De Laruelle contributed to this story.

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Freezing your assets Story by Scott De Laruelle Photos submitted

While families can rent fat bikes to try them on for size, for some, they’re as personal as fat bike enthusiast Corey Stelljes’ custom-built “Rocky Mountain Suzi Q.” Photo by Anderson Bortoletto


Winter ‘Fat Bike’ riding is kind of a thing now

ike figuring out when to finally put the snowblower away for the year, determining southern Wisconsin’s “winter sports” season is becoming a moving target. When will the snow (or ice) come? Will it be enough? How long will it last? But while skiers, hockey players, snowmobilers and anglers never know quite when (or if) their season will begin or end, one group who can literally ride through it all are “fat bikers.” And their numbers are growing around the Madison area, joined by many families looking for some outdoor fun or even competition during those long winter months – no matter what weather they bring. For nature or cycling enthusiasts, the wide-wheeled bikes open up many more possibilities to explore trails and areas previously impractical to traverse on foot in the winter. Equipped with extra-wide rims and oversized, low-pressure tires around twice the size as mountain bikes, “fat bikes” are ideal for off-road or snowy winter terrain because of their wider base and better traction. Isaac Neff of Neff Cycle Service in Madison said “true” fat bikes have at least 3.8-inchwide tires, which “provide lots of traction in snow as well as frozen trails, as the big tires “smooth out the ride.” He said most fat bikes start around $1,000, though some heavier and “not much fun to ride” options could be 28 YOUR FAMILY WINTER 2018/2019

found a bit cheaper. “You find the biggest selection between $1,500 and $2,000,” he said. The bikes started showing up around the Dane County area around 2010, and in recent years, it’s become far more than a fad, turning into a bit of a local subculture, with competitive races combined with an active spirit to get out and enjoy those winter months. Jackie Herring, owner of the Big Cheese Fatbike Series, said fat biking is a great winter activity because it allows cyclists of all skill levels to “get on a bike and ride confidently off road and in otherwise not ideal biking weather,” including the worst winter can dish out. “The wide tires give you lots of stability and comfort, and with big tires, you’re never going too fast, so in colder conditions the wind-chill is less of an issue,” she said. “The wider tires also ride at a very low tire pressure, allowing them to go through snow.” Herring said it’s has grown “tremendously” in the last few years around Madison, due to a combination of places to ride and people looking for some fun outdoor activity during those winter months. “Getting through winter with an activity will never get old,” she said. Once you’re geared up and ready to go, there are many places to get out and explore not too far from home. Neff said he enjoys getting out among Madison’s “ever-expanding

network” of trails, especially Seminole Trails, Quarry Ridge, Black Hawk and Pleasant View. Going a bit further out, the south-central part of the state provides a variety of ideal terrain for bikers, including CamRock Trails in Cambridge, Kettle Moraine State Forest in Mukwonago, John Muir and Emma Carlin Trails in La Grange, Lapham Peak State Park in Delafield and Minooka Park in Waukesha Be aware of the regulations, though – according to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, it is illegal to ride fat bikes on most snowmobile and cross-country ski trails (it’s suggested to always best to check with the land manager first). Also, trails often have restrictions on a minimum tire width and a maximum tire pressure, so “normal” mountain bikes don’t always qualify for fat bike trails. With more trails on the way around the area, Neff said the future is bright for fat bike enthusiasts. “I think people will have more and more opportunities to try out and places to ride, and also with the cost of fat bikes steadily coming down, more people will be able to afford a bike that will allow them to get out,” he said, Herring agreed, and encouraged people to try it out, and get in on some outdoor winter fun and good exercise that is only getting more popular. “It’s a growing trend that will be here for years to come,” Herring said. l


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With wide, low-pressure tires providing a flatter base than regular mountain bikes, fat bikes can make their way over snow-packed trails with ease, giving people access to trails and adventure in the winter. Photo by Ben Jones

Frozen Assets Fat Bike Race

33 W. Sherman Ave., Fort Atkinson (920) 563-2222 and 2 East Main St,. Watertown (920) 261-4400 .2riversbicycle.com

Big Cheese Fatbike Race

The Clean Lakes Alliance’s “Frozen Later that weekend, this winter The need for speed Assets Festival” fundraiser drew over marks the fourth year of the The Big For those looking for thrillraising of the chase –Cheese or just the 6,000 attendees lastthe year, Fatbike Series, starting at more thanto$150,000 for conservation 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3 at Elver celebration follow – there are several competitive events of area lakes. Park in Madison. All ability levels This year’s festival, set for Feb. 1-3, are encouraged to participate, with is highlighted by the Frozen Assets events featuring a shorter, “less Fat Bike race on Friday, Feb. 1 – a technical” citizen/juniors race (around night race across the ice of Lake 45 minutes) and a more challenging Mendota, past downtown Madison “elite” course (around 60 minutes). and the UW campus, starting at the For information, visit fatbikewi.com. Edgewater. Participants can choose from a single-lap, 4.25-mile or 3-lap, 12.75mile course, with medals and prices for top finishers in fat bike, open (any bikes) and a junior ride (ages 10-16, all bikes). For more information, visit cleanlakesalliance.org. The annual winter Big Cheese Fatbike Series is one of several races for riders of all ages gaining popularity around the area. Photo by Ben Jones

Hugh Jass Fat Bike Series

For those looking to branch out and explore a bit further from home, the “Hugh Jass Fat Bike series” has been a popular regional trend. With a slogan to “Make winter fun again,” this group rides roughshod over winter trails with ease throughout southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, with its fourth annual “race” series running from November through March. All ages and abilities of riders are welcome. The series features citizen and pro “racer” categories for men, women and juniors that will vary in laps and lengths depending on course difficulty and weather conditions. Races include fat bike rentals, tech service, post-race beverages, parking lot contests and a live dj. “The real point is to have a lot of fun outside this winter,” the website states. For more information, visit hughjass.bike/#home-race WINTER 2018/2019 YOUR FAMILY 29


Pets possess a healing power for elders SENIOR LIVING BY STEPHEN RUDOLPH


hen my great-uncle Henry was left a widower at the age of 71, he was lost. He and his wife had worked together in their grocery store and traveled to many garden spots to enjoy the warmth during the cold Wisconsin winters. They were inseparable. Now, he was stuck in a rut. He didn’t want to travel or visit friends or family. He didn’t eat well. He hardly left the house to participate in some of his onceloved activities. He was lonely. When his daughter brought a 3-yearold Labrador retriever from a rescue shelter and asked him to spend his time with the dog, he was quite upset she had not asked his permission first. But after one week, Henry was taking the dog, Boots, in his car and on long walks to visit people, and he soon resumed bowling, going to church and doing his activities. He was happy again, and he and Boots shared life together for 12 years. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Dog is man’s best friend.” But dogs (and cats)

are much more than that. For many elders, they possess a healing power. Getting older can lead to loneliness, and animals can increase social interaction and physical activity. They can also help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. As psychotherapist Jay P. Granat told agingcare.com, “Dogs and cats … don’t worry about tomorrow, which can be a very scary concept for an older person. An animal embodies that sense of here and now, and it tends to rub off on people.” In that story, “The Healing Power of Pets for Seniors,” writer Barbara Ballinger points out that pets can help with depression and loneliness and relays stories of a dog who brightened the lives of a retired couple, another couple who started a Minneapolis organization to “spread awareness of the benefits of pet ownership” and a psychologist whose dog comes to the office and sometimes helps elders regain memories. In cases of elders suffering from

Interaction with pets can help seniors be more healthy, both mentally and physically.

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FAMILYLIFE dementia, the mental and emotional benefits might be more obvious than the physical benefits. They enjoy the calm, soothing, placid feeling that comes from stroking the fur of a dog or a cat, and some children have reported that their parents who have dementia were more focused, less prone to confusion and “connected” with the animals. Most nursing home administrators see these benefits, according to a study in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing. And a University of Iowa law professor who worked with elder advocacy groups to change laws and regulations to make it easier for nursing homes to expand their policies so residents can keep pets agrees. “Many studies suggest that interacting with pets has many benefits for residents of nursing homes,” says Josephine Gittler, who founded the National Health Law and Policy Resource Center almost 40 years ago. “Allowing them to have pets will improve the quality of life of not only the residents, but the animals, too.” In a story on the university’s website, Gittler cites studies showing pets “can lower blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety, decrease depression and increase exercise and cardiovascular fitness.” The story said reported pet visitation programs have “increased social interaction by residents, reducing their sense of isolation. Residents tend to feel better and even eat better when allowed to have an animal companion, if only for a short time.” A word of caution: If you or a loved one is considering adopting an animal for an elderly relative or friend, please move slowly. First, make sure to ask permission of the elder to acquire a dog or cat on their behalf or have them be part of the process. It worked out for my greatuncle, but he had always liked dogs and the only reason he’d never owned a dog before was because his wife was allergic to dander. Second, consider all the aspects associated with the elder having a dog. Mobility has to be a factor. Is the elder still active or limited in the activities they do? For some, a dog might fit the bill, while others may be better off with a cat who can curl up with them on a couch. Age of the animal is another factor. For older people who are slowing down, an older dog or cat would make the perfect addition to the family. There are even rescue programs geared toward

elders adopting older animals. According to the story in agingcare. com, there are many resources to help match up a senior with the right pet. It can be helpful to talk to shelter employees, Susan Daffron, author of a book about dog adoption, explained. They often know each animal’s personality well and can assist in making a good match. And sometimes the Internet can help. Sites like petfinder.com, which allow potential owners to search a database of 250,000 adoptable animals from nearly 11,000 animal and rescue groups.

Having a companion animal in one’s life is incredibly beneficial at any stage of life and our elder years are no exception. Animal shelters are full of older animals waiting to be rescued and they have so much to offer. Before you know it, it really will be a question of who rescued who! l Stephen Rudolph is a consultant for Comfort Keepers of South Central Wisconsin, a home care agency that provides skilled nursing and personal care services for aging adults, those with disabilities and others needing assistance.


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WINTER 2018/2019 CALENDAR Nov. 23-25 Holiday light show, Rotary Botanical Gardens, Janesville, janesvillecvb.com Nov. 25-Dec. 30 Rotary in Lights 2018, Waunakee, Waunakee Village Park, Main Street entrance, waunakeechamber.com Nov. 29 Taste of Chocolate, Janesville: Evening of chocolate decadence, crowned by holiday light show at Rotary Botanical Gardens, janesvillecvb.com Nov. 29 to Dec. 2 Victorian Holiday Weekend, Stoughton: Holiday concerts, carriage rides, parades, shopping, events for the kids, performance of the Nutcracker Suite, arts and crafts fair, stoughtonwi.com/victorian Nov. 30 Christmas Parade of Lights, Whitewater: Lighted holiday parade, cookie decorating, whitewaterchamber.com Lighted Christmas Parade, Monroe: Arrival of Santa, mainstreetmonroe.org Holiday Light Parade and tree lighting, Sauk City: Homemade and professional floats, choir, bands, dancers, saukprairieriverway.com Nov. 30-Dec. 1 Jolly Jingle, Janesville, fun weekend featuring ice skating, live reindeer, a lighted parade, live theater, a holiday market, fireworks, a tree lighting, family entertainment and kids activities, janesvillecvb.com Katie’s Garden Winter Wonderland, Platteville: Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by fire truck at 6 p.m. followed by a tree lighting and cocoa and cookies in Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Cabin, platteville.com Madison Symphony Christmas, Overture Center: Classic holiday music performances, madisonsymphony.org Cambridge Classic Christmas: Holiday lights display with Santa lighting the tree, hayrides, kids’ activities, fat tire bike ride. Nov. 30-Dec. 2 Caroling in the Cave, Cave of the Mounds, Blue Mounds, caveofthemounds.com Wizard World Comic Con, Alliant Energy Center, Madison: Celebrating a range of pop culture, wizardworld.com/comiccon/madison Dec. 1 Christmastime in the City, Eau Claire: Visit from Santa, horse-drawn wagon rides, hot cocoa, tree-lighting, downtowneauclaire.org WinterFest, DeForest: craft fair, make/take ornaments, bingo, movie, piano concert, Business.deforestarea.com Winter Farmers and Art Market, Fort Atkinson: Handmade crafts and food, fortchamber.com Gala Holiday Concert, UW-Whitewater, dinner, concert, silent auction, small ensembles, uww.edu/youngauditorium Parade of Lights, Jefferson: Holiday floats, marching bands, caroling and refreshments, jeffersonchamberwi.com Christmas in the Village, McFarland: Pancake breakfast, horse-drawn carriage rides, crafts, illuminated fire truck parade, Santa, caroling, mcfarlandchamber.com Candlelight shopping, Gallery Night and Santa Day, Mineral Point: mineralpoint.com Christmas Parade, Oconomowoc: Music of Christmas theme, oconomowoc.org Midnight Magic, Mukwonago: Town-wide indoor and outdoor holiday festival going from 10 a.m. until midnight, including parade, carriage rides, dog sled races, vintage baseball game, gingerbread forest, East Troy Santa Train, fireworks. Mukwonagochamber.org 32 YOUR FAMILY WINTER 2018/2019

43rd annual Great Electric Children’s Christmas Parade, Lake Geneva: Tree lighting ceremony, live entertainment including the arrival of reindeer and Father Christmas, shopping and more, lakegenevawi.com St. Nicholas Day, New Glarus: Cookie sale, crafts, downtown shopping, tree lighting swisstown.com Country Christmas, Spring Green: Lights, fireworks, carolers, home tour, craft show, breakfast with Santa, springgreen.com Fair Trade Holiday Festival, Monona Terrace: Shop among 50 fair trade vendors, fairtrademadison.org Snowflake Craft Show, Edgerton: Holiday shopping, Edgerton Chamber Singers caroling, hourly door prizes and lunch, edgerton.k12.wi.us Winter Festival, Taliesin, Spring Green: Frank Lloyd Wright’s estate opens for one-hour wagon rides, fireside beverages, kids’ activities, lunch, taliesinpreservation.org Fireside Christmas, Pendarvis, Mineral Point: Old-fashioned 1930s-themed event includes crafts, treats, readings, wisconsinhistory.org Holly Jolly Sauk Prairie: Fireworks, parade, chili cookoff, carolers, craft fair, saukprairie.com Dec. 1-2 A Wade House Christmas, Fond du Lac: 19th-century Christmas theme, activities, period games, holiday refreshments, wadehouse.org Schumacher Farm Christmas teas, Waunakee: holiday music, stories, games, tea and three courses of light holiday fare, schumacherfarmpark.org Old World Christmas, Eagle: 19th-century Christmas celebration, Old World Wisconsin storytelling, horse-drawn bobsled rides, caroling, oldworldwisconsin.org Winter Fantasia, Overture Center, Madison: kanopydance.org Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22 Holiday open house and pictures with Santa, Madison, DreamBank: Holiday crafts, free hot cocoa and photos with Santa, dreamfearlessly.com Dec. 1-31 Holiday Express, Madison: Model train sets zip through miniature landscapes lined with hundreds of poinsettias at Olbrich Gardens, olbrich.org Dec. 2 Gale Singers Holiday Concert, Portage: Portagecenterforthearts.com Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 Holiday Concerts, Olbrich Gardens: Enjoy holiday music in the Evjue Commons each Sunday in December, olbrich.org Dec. 6 Get Festive with the Agora, Fitchburg: Free carriage rides, strolling carolers, laser tag, photo booth, pop-up boutiques and Dash with Santa, silent disco, Giving Tree, agorafitchburg.com Lighted Christmas Parade, Monroe: Arrival of Santa, monroedowntown.com Dec. 7 Holiday Wine Walk, Waunakee: Horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, photo booth, food carts and more than a dozen stops, waunakeechamber.com Christmas Parade of Lights, Whitewater: Lighted holiday parade, cookie decorating, whitewaterchamber.com Holidazzle, Beloit: celebration featuring artists and craftspeople in thirty-plus locations, live music, Santa visits, children’s events and holiday treats, trolley rides,visitbeloit.com Dec. 7-8 Very Merry Holiday Fair, Baraboo: Crafts, books, food, theverymerryholidayfair.com Fire and Ice Festival, Brodhead Square: Lighted parade, ice sculptures, photos with Santa, car giveaway, cityofbrodheadwi.us

Dec. 7-9 Hometown Holidays, Verona: Tree lighting, chili supper, pictures with Santa, veronawi.com Dec. 8 Christmas Light Parade, Lodi: tree-lighting and visits with Santa and a chance to learn how to curl, travelwisconsin.com Downtown Historic Living Windows, downtown Portage, live actors fill the stores with holiday entertainment, travelwisconsin.com Kiddie Christmas at Indian Agency House, Portage, meet Santa and his reindeer, agencyhouse.org Natural wreath making, MacKenzie Environmental Education Center, Poynette: make your own holiday greenery, dnr.wi.gov The Nutcracker- The Dane Factory, UW-Whitewater, uww.edu/youngauditorium Canadian Pacific Railroad Holiday Train and Music Show, 3-3:30 p.m. stop in Wisconsin Dells, 9-9:30 p.m. stop in La Crosse, concert, raffles, cpr.ca/holiday-train/ Lunch with Santa, New Glarus: Photos with the Big Guy, crafts, a movie, lunch, swisstown.com Winter Festival, Taliesin, Spring Green: Frank Lloyd Wright’s estate opens for one-hour wagon rides, fireside beverages, kids’ activities, lunch, taliesinpreservation.org Breakfast with Santa, Monona Community Center: Arts and crafts, horse-drawn carriage rides, mymonona.com Jingle Bell Run, Verona Area High School: 5k run/walk or a 10k run to benefit arthritis research, arthritis.org Santa Lucia crafts workshop and ceremony, Folklore Village, Dodgeville: Swedish winter tradition, making crafts, food, learning songs, folklorevillage.com Dec. 8-10 Madrigal dinner, Stoughton: Stoughton High School Madrigal Singers provide entertainment during a multi-course dinner in a medieval atmosphere, stoughton.k12.wi.us Dec. 9 Children’s Holiday Party, Fitchburg Community Center: Meet Santa, face painting, crafts, games, fitchburgchamber.com Dec. 15 Candlelight Snowshoe Hike, Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Monona: Enjoy guided twilight hikes, a campfire, crafts for the kids and snacks, aldoleopoldnaturecenter.org Cave after Dark, Cave of the Mounds, Blue Mounds: Adults-only, specialty cocktail tasting and live “lounge” music inside the cace as well as holiday music, tasty treats and cash bar in the Visitor Center German Tree Lighting, Folklore Village, Dodgeville: Singing, dancing, candelight, potluck supper, folklorevillage.com Dec. 16 Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra holiday concert, Janesville Performing Arts Center, janesvillecvb.com Bach’s Christmas Oratorio- Wisconsin Chamber Choir with orchestra, UW-Whitewater, uww.edu/youngauditorium Hero Club Breakfast With Santa, Waunakee: take photos with Santa, waunakeechamber.com Dec. 21-3 Christmas at the Armory, Christmas songs performed by the area’s finest performers, janesvillecvb.com Dec. 22 Verona Youth Ballet “Nutcracker Suite,” Verona Performing Arts Center: veronayouthballet.org Dec. 28-Jan. 1 Festival of Christmas and Midwinter Traditions, Folklore Village, Dodgeville: Learn international dances, singing, take part in games, crafts, blacksmithing


WINTER 2018/2019 CALENDAR Dec. 31 Droppin’ off the Carp, Prairie du Chien: capping of a weeklong carpfest with a bonfire, entertainment and a countdown to New Year’s, carpfest.org Light up Eau Claire, Family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration with a Little Lantern Parade, live music and midnight fireworks, visiteauclaire.com/lightupeauclaire/ New Year’s Eve Fireworks at the Bluff, La Crosse, Two shows light up Grandad Bluff and the Mississippi Valley, 6 p.m. and 12 a.m., skyrockers.org Jan. 1 New Year’s Day Dash, Death’s Door Spirits, Middleton: Benefiting the Autism Society of Greater Madison, fleetfeetmadison.com Jan. 9-10 Midwest Farm Center, La Crosse Center, 40th anniversary showcase of all things farming, lacrossecenter.com Jan. 12 Jane Farwell Night, Folklore Village, Dodgeville: Dancing, games, family activities, folklorevillage.com Jan. 12-13 Winter Wedding Show, Alliant Energy Center: A show to help calm the stresses of wedding planning, wedplan.com/shows Jan. 12-14 Winterfest Veterans Rally, New Glarus: Parade, dance, music, run, auction, social gatherings, swisstown.com Jan. 18 Beach party, Northleaf Winery, Milton, janesvillecvb.com Jan. 18-19 Bald Eagle Watching Days, Sauk City: Birds of Prey shows, guided bus tours, wildlife photography seminar, Native American legends, aerial antics and family activities, saukprairie.com Winter Gallery Night and Day, Milwaukee’s Third Ward: Discover galleries, explore museums, browse shops, historicthirdward.org Jan. 19 Moonlight/candlelight hike, Storrs Lake Wildlife Area, Milton, janesvillecvb.com Isthmus Beer and Cheese Fest, Alliant Energy Center: Find the best Wisconsin has to offer in cheeses and beers and meet the brewers and cheesemakers behind the magic, isthmusbeercheese.com Jan. 19-20 Winter Free Fishing Weekend, all inland waters, Great Lakes and Mississippi River: dnr.wi.us Jan. 25-26 Well Expo, Monona Terrace: Local resources for healthy eating, weight loss, wellness programs, wellexpomadison.com Jan. 25-27 Monster Truck Nationals, Alliant Energy Center: Monster trucks from around the country compete, monstertrucknationals.com JanBoree, Waukesha: Family fun winter celebration, janboree.org Jan. 26 Taste and Tunes, craft beer and listen to amazing music, Janesville Performing Arts Center, janesvillecvb.com Stoughton Conservation Club Ice Fisheree, Lake Kegonsa: Ice fishing contest, outdoor activities, stoughtoncc.com Sing-A-Long: Frozen, UW-Whitewater, uww.edu/youngauditorium Jan. 26-Feb. 3 Winterfest and National Snow Sculpting Championships, Lake Geneva: Music, magic, food and refreshments and the magnificent snow sculptures, lakegenevawi.com

Jan. 27 Bridal Fair, Watertown: Annual fair with booths, bridal show and prizes, watertownchamber.com Feb. 1-2 Lake Ripley Fisheree, Lake Ripley, visitcambridgewi.com Feb. 1-3 Hot Air Affair, Hudson, winter ballooning event with parade, a craft fair mooshboarding, volleyball in the snow, geocaching, bird watching, dances and other winter activities, hudsonhotairaffair.com Scandihoovian Winter Festival, Mount Horeb: Outdoor sports activities, bonfire, carriage rides, vintage snowmobiles, cross-country skiing, ice skating, trollway.com Frozen Assets Festival, Edgewater, Madison: Free activities include ice skating, games, ice fishing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, ice science labs, performances, visitmadison.com Feb. 2 Candlelight ski, hike and snowshoe: Mirror Lake State Park, dnr.wi.gov/calendar Jimmy the Groundhog Prognostication, Sun Prairie. Jimmy will arrive by fire truck at 7 a.m. to give his prediction. Winter Carnival at Christmas Mountain, Wisconsin Dells, dog sled races, snowman-building contests, log splitting, turkey bowling, live music and more, dells.com Feb. 2-3 Knickerbocker Ice Festival, Lake Mills: Ice sculptures, golf tournament and fisheree on ice, chili cook-off, raffle, legendarylakemills.com Winter Festival, Elver Park, Madison: celebration of outdoor recreation includes cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snow sculpting, sledding, running, visitmadison.com Feb. 8-9 Banbury Art Crawl, Eau Claire: live music, dozens of art vendors, food and activities for the kids, banburyartcrawl.com Feb. 8-10 WPT Garden Expo, Alliant Energy Center: A midwinter oasis for those ready to go out and dig their hands in the dirt, wigardenexpo.com Feb. 9 Polar Plunge, Menomonie, music, 5k, fundraiser for Special Olympics Wisconsin, polarplungewi.org Snowshoe/hike into Fern Dell Gorge, Mirror Lake State Park, dnr.wi.gov/calendar Sturgeon Stampede Ice Extravaganza, Fond du Lac: Ice bowling, games, bonfire, fdl.com Dip for Dozer, Cambridge: Dip into frozen Lake Ripley for a football scholarship fund, dipfordozer.com Feb. 15-17 Zor Shrine Circus, Alliant Energy Center: A classic circus show, shrinecircusinfo.com Sky Circus on Ice, Delavan, kite performers and ice and snow sculptors, delavanwi.org

Feb. 22-23 Bald Eagle Appreciation Days, Prairie du Chien, educational exhibits and displays, birding experts on hand, outdoor viewing of Bald Eagles through spotting scopes, prairieduchien.org Feb. 22-24 Fishing Expo, Alliant Energy Center: Featuring a diverse lineup of fishing tackle, equipment and boats, wifishingexpo.com Feb. 22-March 3 Beloit International Film Festival, beloitfilmfest.org Feb. 23 Flannel festival, craft beer and music, downtown Janesville, janesvillecvb.com Overture’s International Festival, Overture Center: A day of food, music and entertainment from around the world, overturecenter.com Arftic art for animals, artists showcase unique items for people and their animal friends, Pontiac Convention Center, Janesville, janesvillecvb.com Feb. 24 Polar Plunge, Eau Claire, music, 5k, fundraiser for Special Olympics Wisconsin, polarplungewi.org March 1-2 Coulee Region Polar Plunge, La Crosse, music, 5k, fundraiser for Special Olympics Wisconsin, polarplungewi.org March 2 World’s Largest Weenie Roast, Cable, annual snowmobile race and polar plunge with the longest line of hot dog cookers over one fire in the world, lakewoodsresort.com Wollersheim Winery open house, Prairie du Sac: wollersheim.com March 2-3 Madison Kids Expo, Alliant Energy Center: More than 100 exhibitors showing products, and services in family health care, education, recreation, food, fitness, safety, entertainment and more, madisonkidsexpo.com March 5 Madison on Tap Craft Beer Festival, Madison: More than 150 releases from craft breweries around the U.S., madisonontap.com March 8-10 Midwest Bicycle Show and Sale, Alliant Energy Center: Test ride, accessorize and more, bikeorama.com Canoecopia, Alliant Energy Center: Giant sale of canoes, canoecopia.com March 15-17 Spring Swedish music and dance weekend, Folklore Village, Dodgeville: folklorevillage.com

Feb. 16 Polar Plunge, Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center: Grab some friends and jump into freezing water to raise money for local Special Olympics athletes, polarplungewi.org

March 16 St. Patrick’s Day parade, La Crosse: Irish dancers, live music, food and drink, irishfestlacrosse.org St. Patrick’s Day parade, Prairie du Chien, downtown parade with celebrations at local restaurants and businesses along the route, prairieduchien.org St. Patrick’s Day parade, Monroe: Led with Irish flag, bagpipers and plenty of green, mainstreetmonroe.org

Feb. 16-17 Snow Train, North Freedom, Mid-Continent Railroad: scenic ride through Sauk County, dinner available, midcontinent.org Model Railroad Show, Alliant Energy Center: Over 90,000 sq. ft. of models train exhibits, merchandise and activites, nmra-scwd.org

March 29-31 Cajun music and dance weekend, Folklore Village, Dodgeville: folklorevillage.com

March 17 Natural Family Expo, Monona Terrace: Venue for families to explore local resources, naturalfamilyexpo.com

If you know of an event that should be in this calendar, email yourfamily@wcinet.com. WINTER 2018/2019 YOUR FAMILY 33


B usiness S potlight

A walk through the past The Milton House Museum Story and photo by Amber Levenhagen


The Milton House museum, located at 18 S. Janesville St. in Milton, is the last authenticated and tourable underground railroad station in Wisconsin.

t’s the 1850s and you’re white. You just paid 60 cents in exchange for a meal for yourself and your horse and a night at the Milton House Inn. You are sitting down in the social room, maybe just after dinner when the sun is set, and 10 feet under your chair, unbeknownst to you, a runaway slave is crawling through a 40-foot-long, 3-foothigh tunnel through the pitch-black into a safe harbor room built underneath the inn. It’s the next stop on the Underground Railroad. Where to go from there was only known by the Milton House Inn owner, Joseph Goodrich, who would then direct slaves to the next safe harbor location as they traveled north to freedom. Goodrich built, opened and operated the Milton House starting in 1845 with the intent of it being a stop for slaves on their way to freedom. The Milton House Inn opened as a museum in 1950 and is the last authenticated and tourable underground railroad station in Wisconsin. It’s located

at 18 S. Janesville St. in Milton. Kari Klebba, executive director of the Milton Historical Society, explained that because the safe harbor locations for runaway slaves were meant to be kept secret, their certification can be difficult. On the tour, guests can read an excerpt from a diary entry of a runaway slave who reported visiting the stop at the Milton House Inn. That entry helped the Milton Historical Society certify the inn as an undeniable location that harbored slaves. The 75-minute tour takes guests through the inn, where they learn about what early pioneer life was like for the people of Milton, even before the city

got its name. Guests are then led through the tunnel, which has been modified to include steps and lights and heightened to be allow people to walk through. That tunnel led slaves them to a dirt room under the cabin, where they were able to stay for one or two nights. The historical society also hosts events at the museum throughout the year as a way to engage a variety of guests. Those include history days, where hundreds of re-enactors descend upon the house and Klebba said it’s like “literally traveling through time.” The tours help support the nonprofit. Tickets for adults are $8, and the times change depending on the season. In the off season, it’s requested guests call ahead to schedule a tour, but during the summer, there are regular hours. “I can take you to the very room where the slaves were sheltered, you can walk through the pathway where they walked all those years ago,” Klebba said. “We create an experience of history, not just a lesson.” l

YF: When did you join the Milton Historical Society and can you explain what you do? KARI: I joined as executive director in october of 2015, and that’s a difficult question to answer, because you find yourself doing a lot. I work with an incredible crew of volunteers that works hard to preserve the Milton House and the historical nature of Milton. The society works with businesses and the city council to help maintain our mission and we also work on programming and increasing opportunities for guests to experience the Milton House. YF: Can you explain the historical significance of the Milton House? KARI: There’s what’s on the surface, that this is the last authenticated underground railroad station in wisconsin that can be toured. But for me, there’s a significance in

what this place represents. It’s one part of the most incredible cross-cultural and racial movements in the country’s history, because it showcased the incredible humanity and generosity of the men and women that helped (slaves) on their quest to freedom. It can be summed up by strangers helping strangers because it was the right thing to do, and that’s what makes this place so incredible and makes the people who were here so great. YF: How have the museum and tours changed over the years? KARI: In the past year-and-a-half to two years, there have been what can only be described as a renaissance of historical discovery. A lot of these discoveries have been due to digitization of records and documents that we can find on the internet. We have to thank the internet and the preservation of these records for allowing

us to share more stories about people who lived and traveled through here. The museum (previously) had one tour with two halves. One talked about the pioneer life and what life was like for a pioneer first coming to Wisconsin. The second talked about the Milton House’s role as an underground railroad station. YF: What are the future plans with the museum? KARI: We’re focusing on the significance of the railroad and the underground railroad in Wisconsin. We’re planning to focus on one particular individual who came through the Milton House as a freedom-seeker and using his story as one representation of a larger population of people who chose to self-emancipate and what it was like to make that decision and what it meant after the abolition of slavery.

For more information about the museum, tour information, or how to become a sponsor or volunteer, visit:


Q&A with Kari Klebba


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