My Grandfather had a rowing machine in his basement. I used to love it. I would go downstairs on hot summer days and row for hours in the cool, damp cellar. The “ergometer” (erg is Greek for “work”), was stainless steel and had 1-3 springs that you could attach to the oars for different levels of fitness. It was rather simple. After Grandpa passed away I inherited the erg, but eventually lost interest and sold the machine.

By the time I was in college, I had the bug to row again, however, I had never participated in a competitive sport in my life. I chickened out. Yup, I admit it, I was chicken. The prospect of starting my athletic career with one of the top rowing teams in the country at University of Wisconsin-Madison where I went to school, was too much pressure. Who could blame me?

We have recently relocated to Madison, 20 years after student life. I discovered that since we were students, there are now a couple of private rowing clubs that offer High School Learn to Row classes and competitive teams.

Camp Randall Rowing Club on Lake Monona, has grown enormously, and their rowers have won a number Regatta titles this year alone. Their home base, Brittingham Boathouse has been extensively renovated and won an award for Historic Preservation from the city of Madison.

I think its absolutely gorgeous. You can read more about their program on their website.

In our state, it is difficult to find High School sports that we can participate in as homeschoolers. Wisconsin Athletic Association rules (WIAA) forbid participating unless you are a full-time student with a High School for most competitive sports such as football, soccer, swimming and tennis. This causes many homeschoolers to send their kids to public school in High School. Wisconsin is one of only six states that have this rule.

There are fewer unsanctioned sports available, but rowing is one of them. I was very excited when I found this out. Rowing in particular, is becoming more popular nation wide. It used to be just for Ivy League colleges and few High School students had an opportunity to learn the sport before they joined a college team. There are more clubs and high school teams being formed nationally at this time. Some colleges are actively recruiting high school rowers and offering scholarships. Music to my ears! I decided our son Ted will be one of them.

So, what does it to be a good rower? We will find out! Ted is going into his Sophomore year of our Cramer Homeschool Academy and is enrolled the Learn to Row Class for the summer. It’s all new to us, but I gotta tell you, so far I am IMPRESSED. REALLY, REALLY IMPRESSED. I will keep you posted every step of the way.

Designer Mom

La Baguette

Shhhh……………I have a little secret that I will share with you. It’s the absolute best place for coffee and pastries outside of Paris. Well, I have never actually been to Europe, but I am SURE it’s the best. It has to be, nothing else could possibly come close. I am certain of this.

La Baguette is located on Madison’s West side, and is a completely authentic French bakery.

Breads, croissants, brioches, among other things, are baked daily.

Even the staff is authentic, most of them speak French.

Combine that with charming decor, music, European style coffee, and it’s a match made in Heaven.

My favorite pastry is the Chocolatine that I shared with my son Ben yesterday. We didn’t tell anyone we were going there. Secrets are sooooo delicious, aren’t they? Just don’t tell anyone I told you.

La Baguette is located at 7424 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI. Phone is 608-827-6775.

Designer Mom