Post-Holiday Blues: What to do in the Madison Area During your Winter Break

MadisonChristmas is over, our bellies are full of cookies and hot cocoa, and we’re all out of money after graciously giving so many holiday gifts. So, now what do you do? We have found some great, fun activities for you to do in and around Madison between now and the end of your winter break that involve little or no cost.

 Outdoor Winter Break Activities

Ice Skating

There are lots of parks in the Madison area that offer free ice skating, some even offer skate rentals.  Click here for more information on locations that are open. If you are interested in ice skating lessons, check this site out for more information.

Winter Break Ice Skating Madison

Tenney Park, Madison Wisconsin

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10 Gadgets to Add to Your Life

New things come out all the time, so it’s hard to keep up. We did a bit of research to find some great gadgets for Madison residents. Here’s what we found!


Magnetic Bike Lights

Don’t worry about finding one that fits your bike. This is one size fits all! Keep it in your pocket/bag and clip it on when you’re ready to go.



Fit Bit

Be a little more contentious about your daily activity. Please include a short explanation of what it does. Set goals for yourself and track your progress.



Charge Pack

Spend the whole day out and about! You can study outside and keep your phone charged throughout your busiest days.



Heated Travel Mug

Gosh, that just sounds amazing during a week as cold as this past one.



Wi-Fi Coffee Maker

Have coffee ready before you step foot in the kitchen. If you have a waterproof phone case, you might even be able to have it start while you’re in the shower!



Smartphone Projector

Watch YouTube on the “big screen” with the roomies.



Cosmetic Holder

Keep your counters and drawers clean.



Carabineer Bands 

There are a lot of creative ways to use these. They are especially great for bike commuters!



Folding Hangers 

Not sure if these work, but they sure are intriguing. If you have them, let us know how they work.



Dashboard Alarm Clock/Thermometer

This looks cool, but it also seems handy. Allow yourself to be phone-free for a little bit in the mornings. A recent study found that phone-free mornings may actually help you maintain a routine and lower your stress level. It might be worth it!



While gadgets make your life easier, they could also just be a fad. Be smart; research a product before you buy it online and ask around. Personal experience is the best way to know if something is awesome or not. Feel free to comment with any of your own recommendations.

Home Cooked Meals

Welcome back to reality! We know exactly how you are feeling about being back to your routine, classes, homework, studying, the ups and downs of relationships, and stress. If you are like us, you are already missing that quality home cooking you had over the holidays. The ramen noodles, mac & cheese, subs, and pizza making up your current food pyramid are starting to taste bland. And let’s be honest, you are either way too lazy to create an extensive 5 course meal or you just plain don’t have the time. We totally hear you on that!

In the world of immediate gratification, it seems hard to cook. From experience, we can tell you it is well worth it to ditch the processed and prepackaged food for homemade meals. The health benefits are great, your pocketbook won’t feel quite as light, and your taste buds will be much happier with home cooking.

So how would we recommend implementation of cooking into your life? Just make a plan and stick to it! If you have one night a week to dedicate to meal prep, that is all it takes. We have friends who utilize one day on the weekend to cook all their meals for the week. It will take a little discipline and motivation to commit to cooking, but you can do it! The easiest way to have home cooked meals is via crock pot and advanced prep. When you decide to cook for yourself there are a few things you can do to make the process quick and pain free!

shutterstock_171205127First, create a budget.

Determine what you can spend on groceries, and create a list of what you need. (When shopping, buying similar things week in and week out helps you to keep your budget at a steady rate.


Second, make time to prepare in advance.

If you don’t want to cook all your meals in one day, you can still chop fruits and veggies or measure out ingredients in advance so the process is much faster on the day you actually make the meal. There is one last thing we have learned from experience; sometimes you just won’t feel like cooking. Every once and awhile it’s definitely okay to break your new habit of playing top chef. Prepare for these days by keeping some staple items and easy meal options in your pantry. It’s never a bad idea to have plenty of healthy snacks around either 🙂


Third, make meal time a fun adventure with friends or roommates.

Try new things and be creative! Heck, it might not be a bad idea to score some brownie points with your mom by asking her for that one recipe she makes so well. Feel free to share pictures of your delicious home cooked meals on our Facebook page Here. Maybe our like and share will be just the boost you need to keep up the good habit!

For more ideas check out our Easy Meals Board on Pinterest Here.

Bon Appetite!