It happens about once a year. A household object breaks, in this case a lamp, and instead of immediately finding the nearest place to get it fixed and being done with it, I end up moving a replacement from a different part of the house into its place, thus setting off a whole-home redecorating/reorganization chain reaction.
And with this shift of furniture, throw rugs and tchotchkes, I am usually inspired to undertake a much-needed purge of all my accumulated crap. I try to be ruthless in my hunt through every drawer, storage box and basket, unceremoniously shedding years' worth of hardened Wite-Out, instructions for appliances I no longer own and age-specific birthday cards that went unsent. There's usually very little I feel guilty about tossing out, environmental guilt aside, with one ominous exception.
No matter how many twisted fuse bead amulets, shredded sponge dot self-portraits or shattered pinch pot change holders I find, it's always hard for me to let go of my kids' art projects.
Now, I'm not really sure why I feel so penitent getting rid of this stuff. None of it, to be frank, is particularly good. As much as I'd like to believe there is latent genius in my daughter's early finger paintings, I'm pretty sure her works are not distinguishable from those created by the pointer fingers and pinkies of thousands of other children from across the world. And even if, by some unexpected twist of talent, dozens of years from now she becomes the Grandma Moses of her day, I don't think any collector will be dying for the large assortment of Rainbow Loom bracelets that she generated over winter break of 2013.
Besides, our relatively small home doesn't have the archival capacity of the Chazen. So with three kids, a dog, a cat and two adults vying for squatters' rights on every inch of unused storage space, I remind myself quietly that some of these "treasures" will just have to go.
But fortunately for us storage-challenged parents of petite, yet prolific, Picassos, this week in Madison offers some pretty awesome artistic opportunities that have a distinct added perk.
Nothing has to come home with you.
If you haven't yet visited the Art Cart this summer, Madison School Commmunity Recreation and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's free, traveling art program, now's the time to do it. This coming week, on both July 22 and 23, the Art Cart will be stationed in Vilas Park to help facilitate the re-painting of the iconic Shoe slide -- an unforgettable Madison childhood experience.
Just think about the dual benefits of taking part. First, your kid's creativity will be on display in a popular public location for the entire city to see. Second, the mess -- and the mural -- stays in the park.
Then, on July 24, the whole family can head over to Villager Mall on South Park to take part in this year's Eat Play Art festival. From 6-9 pm, the mall (which houses the Urban League and Goodman Public Library, among other organizations) parking lot will be transformed into a community art and recreation space, allowing attendees to showcase their culture, skills and abilities.
And although the activities will run the gamut, including a dance party with DJ Chill, a highlight will be most certainly be the chance to see The Art Brothas, a highly entertaining music and painting improvisation group, perform live.
But even if the Brothas' talented artist Brota Oroian asks if I want to take home his creation at the end of the session, I will politely decline. The only work of art I plan to welcome into the house come event's close, child rendered or otherwise, will be one of Nuria Moffat's, face-painting artist extraordinaire, skillfully executed -- yet highly removable -- masterpieces.comments powered by Disqus
New Year's resolutions are hard to keep. In fact, something around 90% of people fail every year! But one way that you can increase your odds of victory is to get other people involved.
Like many parents, I look at the wide world around my kids and do my best to prepare them for life. We talk about working hard, being kind and responsible, Internet safety, stranger danger, and the (gulp) birds and the bees. But what about a topic such as race?
If you're like me, looking around your house in the weeks before Christmas will probably have you convinced that the last thing your kids need to find underneath the tree is a pile of new toys.
I spend a lot of time talking to my kids about how lucky we are to have what we have. Though our house is tiny and our van is unequipped with automatic doors, we have all we could ever need, and a lot of what we want.
On the evening of Nov. 6, a throng of people gathered at Monona Terrace. They were there to attend an impressive anniversary shindig, but the real buzz of excitement centered on the event's guest of honor.
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"There really is no wrong way to do it." That's how Madeline, age 13, describes creating artwork. She and her classmates at Prairie View Middle School in Sun Prairie are honing their artistic skills by participating in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's Art on Tour program.
I'm having trouble enjoying the season, because I can't keep myself from thinking about the miserable weather that's sure to be following close on the heels of the crisp, pleasant fall we've been having. I am not at all emotionally prepared to be the parent of two toddlers during a Wisconsin winter.
I've always been a supporter of companies that empower women and girls, and when the creator of such a company is a fellow Wisconsinite, I get even more excited. When Melissa Wardy of Janesville got fed up with stereotypes found in clothing for girls, she started her own company.
Do you have a little reader or an aspiring teenaged writer in your house? If so, you may want to venture to the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend, to whet their appetite for wonderful words as well as your own.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I had two names picked out. Upon her arrival we had not yet come to a conclusion on what that name would be. Everyone told us that when we saw her we would just know. We didn't.
At age 10 months, my kids have seen the zoo a lot already. I was a zoology major in college, and I have something of a zoo addiction still, so the twins (and their dad) are more or less condemned to a future rife with zoo visits.
Home-schooling can be a lonely proposition. Even as a college professor, Juliana Hunt remembers struggling to find support to home-school her now-grown daughter. "I was always hoping to find like-minded people who were in the same position as me," she says. "I know that children learn best through a give-and-take, question-and-answer process of teaching and learning, but where do you find mentors who can make that happen?"
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As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.
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