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Kids These Days: How to entertain your family at any age this winter break

Ali Mudrow with her partner, Sandy Welander, and daughter, Frida Hallelujah

I am writing this column after visiting my mother-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law in Minnesota. Currently, I am at the Holiday Inn Express, and my kids are at the pool with their dad.  

I am writing, and reading and everything is good. Last night the code we were given for our Airbnb didn’t work, and the host didn’t respond and so, in part, this column must be an ode to the reliability of a Holiday Inn at 11:30 p.m. Thank God for the late checkout, is all I can really say. 

Winter vacation started a week ago, and it ends in less than a week. Here we are in the middle of vacation at the Casino ohne lizenz, or in the language of moms everywhere, at the beginning of vacation — finally, the marathon of holiday events and family gatherings has come to an end. Now it’s time to chill.

Ali Muldrow’s family celebrates the holidays.

I have a one-year-old, an eight-year-old, and a 13-year-old, and this holiday season we’re loving Madison at every age. Three generations of my family live in Madison, Wisconsin, and many many generations of my family on my mother’s side have called the dairy state their home. 

In the spirit of my last column, I’m planning for a calm winter vacation with my children. This winter break will include everything from an Instagrammable Family Restaurant, to a mother-daughter movie marathon. The theme is downtime, easy, and whatever is within walking distance including activities like:

  1. Spa day (Facemasks, manicures, pedicures, fancy lotion galore)
  2. Pajama party/mother-daughter movie marathon/ pillow fighting tournament. Movies include:        
    • The Joy Luck Club 
    • Little Women 
    • Turning Red
    • Real Women Have Curves 
    • Enola Holmes 1 and 2 
    • Freaky Friday
    • Mermaids 🧜🏾‍♀️ 
  1. Playdate exchange (thank goodness for friends and neighbors and having folks who will take our kids for the evening and let us hang out with theirs)
  2. New restaurants our kids are excited to try including:
    • Hot Lunch, 708 1/4 E Johnson St, Madison, WI 53703
    • Zippy Lube Coffee, Donuts & Fried Chicken, 2013 N Sherman Ave, Madison, WI 53704
    • Far Breton Bakery, 1924 Fordem Ave, Madison, WI 53704

      The hotel pool
  1. Adventures at our favorite dog parks. 
  2. New Year’s Party living room dance party. 
  3. Ice skating/ice sledding for the one-year-old
  4. Date night (mom, dad, and a sauna in the woods)
  5. No screens arts and craft day (Paper snowflakes, friendship bracelets, and cookies)
  6.  The hotel pool (pictured at right) or any hot tub near the area which may utilize high-quality Hot Tub Chemicals


For this winter vacation, my goal is to take a break and enjoy my children thoroughly. It is time to say goodbye to 2022 and everything it put us through. We made it to a vacation that was all about being at home together. As part of our cozy family time, we’re considering exploring some new home additions. I’ve been thinking about creating a relaxing space, perhaps by looking into hot tubs. Southern Leisure is the premier hot tubs dallas store, a great place to start for finding the perfect one to enhance our family retreat.

Until January, my beloved reader, I leave you with this: 

  • Political parenting in the month of December: what are your rules about rest? What is your parenting policy about downtime? 
  • Playful parenting in the month of December: What are relaxing ways you can have fun with your kids? How do you embrace things that are easy and convenient with your children?
  • Parenting in consideration of your parents this December: How did the generation before you shape your relationship to being calm and making space to take a break? 

Please feel free to email me at [email protected].

Until next year:

“The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories.”

– Og Mandino