Meet Our Madison Moms Blog Writing Team
Tara is mom to two energetic daughters Bianca and Iyla and wife to amazing husband Deepak. Passionate about inspiring others to cook healthy, delicious and allergy-friendly food, she teaches healthy cooking classes for both kids and parents at Whole Foods Market. She shares her recipes, kid-friendly restaurant reviews and healthy lunchbox ideas on her website yummysprout.com. Tara has been featured in the Wisconsin State Journal, on WISC-TV and NBC15 on topics including homemade baby food, cooking with kids, packing healthy lunches and allergy-friendly food. She adores living in Madison and all it has to offer family life. Her favorite ways to spend time include messing up her kitchen while recipe testing, running, yoga, writing, painting, traveling and reading books with her girls.
Betsy is a mom to two sassy, spunky and spirited kiddos and wife to an adventurous, soccer-loving Chemist named Noah. She is originally from the Chicago suburbs but has bounced around the world with her husband before landing (hopefully permanently!) in Madison. Her first child, Jackson, was born in Germany during their two years living abroad. Betsy loves exploring new cities, donuts (any kind, anywhere) and being a stay at home mom. She is currently in school with plans to become an Occupational Therapist.
Amy was born and raised in northern Wisconsin. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire she married her college sweetheart (Derek) and in 2012 they welcomed their beautiful daughter Emma into the world! In 2013, Derek, Amy, Emma (and their little papillon, Chelby) moved from Hudson, WI to Madison and they love it here! Amy is a work-from-home Mom running her own graphic and web design company (AJMJ Design). She loves having a perfect blend of her career and staying home with her sweet and funny toddler! Amy is an animal lover who enjoys spending time with her family, reading, writing, hanging out with friends, visiting family up north, pinning on Pinterest, shopping and taking her toddler to many of the fun activities Madison has to offer!
Melissa has been married to her husband, Brett, for six years now after being set up on a blind date by a mutual friend. Two and a half years later, their family doubled in size. After a complicated and very difficult pregnancy, they were blessed with identical twin daughters, Abriella (Ella) and Eva, who are now 4 1/2. Melissa received her bachelors degree from UW-Madison, her Masters from Edgewood College and now works in the Verona Area School District as a Spanish teacher. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, staying at bed & breakfasts, reading, writing, drinking coffee, shopping, biking, and of course spending time with family and friends! She also recently opened an Etsy shop – https://www.etsy.com/shop/CMbanners. She creates handmade, custom burlap banners for all occasions.
Falicia is a first-time mom to a hilarious and energetic toddler, and wife to an equally hilarious and energetic husband. She graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in Communications, and spends her days working for her alma mater. She loves trying new activities with her little girl and finding ways to stay active as a family. She enjoys cooking, yoga, reading, and drinking coffee or wine (depending on the time of day). She’s a sucker for anything with fur and a tail.
This Latina was born in Bogota, Colombia, adopted at 2 months and grew up in various spots in the US. She attended undergrad in Iowa, where she met Carolyn, the macaroni to her cheese. They ended up in Madison in 2002, and happily call this city home with Luciana (Luci), their spirited six year old, their energetic twins Catalina (Cati) and Elena (Lanie), and Augie the doggie (their newest 5 month old addition). Aside from being a mom and partner, Elisa teaches 8th grade Spanish, and is a style mentor for a new jewelry company called Adornable.u. She has much too long of a list of hobbies to include, but baking, traveling, dancing, crafts and laughing are probably at the top.
Adrian is originally from Miami Florida. She moved to Menomonie, WI at the start of high school. It was quite the culture shock but an overall positive experience. She came to Madison for her undergraduate career at UW-Madison and graduated in May of 2006. Like many Badger alumni that have the urge to exit Wisconsin, she stayed after meeting her husband in 2007. They have been married for 5 years and have 2 daughters, Olivia and Vanessa. Their girls keep them on their toes and fill their house with laughter! In the midst of her busy schedule, Adrian somehow manages to find time to be involved in the community. She is part of the Executive board and planning team for the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness, African American Health Network, Diversity Outreach Coalition, and The Conversation Mixtape. A foodie at heart – she would love to go restaurant hopping. She loves yoga, zumba, and cooking. One of the things that Adrian loves most about connecting with other mommies is just being able to share stories and exchange suggestions. As mommies and parents in general, having an out such as a blog can make a world of difference in how our days and weeks flow!
Sarah Jedd has a Ph.D. in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches and studies the rhetoric of Planned Parenthood. Sarah has 4 children nine years old and younger, three boys and an oh-look-you-finally-got-your girl (why does everyone say that?). Harry is 9; Jack is 8; Cooper is 4, and Dorothy is 3. In her spare time (ha! as if!) she is writing a memoir, and she blogs at harrytimes.blogspot.com.Sarah and her husband and their kids and world’s laziest dog live in Verona.
I am mom to one sweet, loving, and funny 6 year-old kid who is enjoying 1st grade and wife to Ryan. I work part-time at a small, local biotech in a non-scientist role. Additionally, I enjoy talking to moms and families in the Madison area about reading and literacy via my Usborne Books & More business. (Read, read, read to your kids and keep reading to them even when they can read to you!) As a family we laugh, hug, and cuddle; get frustrated with each other; love each other fiercely; and don’t have it all figured out, but we have it all because we’re together.
Andrea was born and raised in the Madison area. After attending college in Milwaukee, she met her amazing and supportive husband Nick. They spent several more years in Milwaukee prior to moving to Chicago. In late 2011 they were ecstatic to move back home to Madison just in time to welcome their sweet baby boy, Nolan who is now 4 years old to the world. Since moving back to Madison, they have added a sweet and spunky daughter, Hattie to their family. Andrea enjoys participating in triathlons and other racing events and loves the running trails and biking opportunities that Madison and the surrounding areas have to offer. Andrea works part time as a pediatric nurse at the American Family Children’s Hospital. And although she is very passionate about her nursing career, she was made to be a mama, and there is no where she’d rather be than home with her family.
Jessica is a work-at-home mom of three. She has been married for over 10 years to someone who makes her laugh every day and reminds her not to take herself too seriously. She grew up in northern Wisconsin but has called the Madison area home since college. She holds a degree in Social Welfare from UW-Madison and hopes to someday put it to good use. She spends her days trying to decide what she wants to be when she grows up while balancing life with three kids. She can be found reading cookbooks but not cooking, saying yes to more volunteer work than she has time for (and loving it), on a Netflix binge, or with her nose in a book.
Ashley is a first time mom to an inquisitive and vivacious toddler with another addition debuting this September. Born and raised in Naperville, IL her husband (a native of Middleton) stole her away to continue their life in the cheese state nine years ago. A proudly converted Packer and Badger fan continuing to firm her roots in this amazing city while exploring the vast array of restaurants and local attractions this town has to offer. Ashley works full time as a Regional Sales Manager for the North Central Group promoting six hotels on the West side of Madison. Besides spending time with her husband and daughter she enjoys running, hot yoga, attempting new recipes from Pinterest, re-furbishing garage sale treasures, making organic toiletries and getting her hands dirty crafting.
Jenny is a Madison transplant from Winona, MN, with imaginative and talkative twin boys, born November 2010. Her husband is a Madison native and suckered her in to staying. She loves reading, writing, coffee, wine, cooking, traveling, movies, music, and spending time with family and close friends. But most of all, sleeping. Jenny is very excited to have joined the team at Madison Moms Blog and share her wacky and sarcastic tales of Madison mom hood.
Julie Jensen is a mom of five boys ages 6-18 (the fifth and youngest recently adopted from China). She is a runner, biker, yoga instructor and socializer. That about sums it up. Believe it or not, she really does enjoy the soccer, cross country, swim team, track, dance classes, basketball, piano, orchestra and theater her kids are involved in as long as she has another mom (or dad) to talk to during these events. Julie works part time at Fleet Feet Sports where she gets to talk to other (adult) runners and is also a yoga instructor and owner of Red Ox Yoga – redoxyoga.com. You can also read about her adventures as a somewhat outnumbered mom on her own blog at http://myfiveboysblog.wordpress.com/
Ali was born in La Crosse, WI and moved to Madison in 2015. She has been married to her handsome hubby, Jake, for 3 amazing years. They met at UW-La Crosse while she was majoring in Communications and Jake in Marketing. During college, she explored her passion in the beauty world doing makeup for weddings and events. After running her own makeup business for two years, she decided to attend esthiology school after college to become a licensed esthetician. Jake and Ali recently welcomed their first child, Isaiah James, on September 11th, 2016. While they stumble through the newborn months, they enjoy spending their weekends exploring Madison, staying at their cabin up north, and taking care of their dog, Cash. Ali loves to blog, engage in social media, and manage her online baby boutique, Babymoon Boutique. www.babymoonboutiquewi.com
Melissa is a mother to two little people, ages 3 and 1, that are already much cooler than she will ever be. It was once proclaimed that she would never be a stay at home mom, but as funny as life can be, couldn’t be happier being home with her kiddos and being her husbands number one fan. Prior to her job of keeping the kids alive her experience was in architecture. In her spare time she loves to eat or wanderlust on their next vacation. You can also find her family adventures on www.defininglovely.com.
Kim grew up in Minnesota, but moved to Madison to attend the UW and fell in love with the city’s spirit and culture. Kim is married to a handsome dude named Brent and has two handsome little boys, Mason and Joshua. When she’s not racing monster trucks across furniture or reading dinosaur books, she’s working on freelance writing projects or planning events for Madison Momshine, a local health and fitness community for moms. Kim is a certified personal trainer and teaches strength training classes for women through her fitness business, Lioness Fitness. She’s also a food allergy mom, which means she can read a food label like nobody’s business! Kim’s a sucker for good wine, good sushi, a good book, and ANY beach.
Bethany is a Wisconsin native who loves everything Madison and health/fitness-related. She’s been married to her amazing high school sweetheart, Jake. After living in Colorado for one year, they decided that they couldn’t get enough of their favorite college town and set roots here. She has a sweet, spirited three year old son, Joel, and happy-go-lucky one year old, Eva who both keep her on her toes. When not wrangling the toddlers, she enjoys “working” for her own wellness business as an independent ambassador for Plexus Worldwide, running, doing yoga with her best friend, and trying can find her behind her laptop with coffee or wine, depending on the time of day, while she dreams of eventually tackling her ever-growing reading list!
Diana has never strayed far from home. After growing up on the east side of Madison, she is now raising her family in Middleton. She is a firm believer in finding humor in the chaos, that anything she sees (anywhere) she can probably DIY, and that good food can cure just about anything. She shares her life with her ridiculously awesome spouse Georgia, and her two wonderful daughters. She embraces their modern mixed family that has grown around them, and all the adventure it brings.
Becca is a born and raised Wisconsin girl. She moved to Madison for college in 2002 and has been here ever since. She’s been married to her hilarious husband, Andy, for seven years and they have four children, six and under. She’s passionate about faith, family, and all that pertains to faithfully raising a family; but if she has a moment to sneak away, her happy place is in a coffee shop with a book! You can follow her on Instagram @milkandhoneyliving
Katy was born and raised in England (yes, she still has the accent!) She has worked in England, Belgium, France, and now America (Madison via Indianapolis!) Home is with her husband Adam, along with Daniel and Emma (twins, November 2012) and Edie (December 2014). She graduated with her JD from UW Madison in 2010, and has been a die-hard Badger fan ever since! Katy’s oldest daughter was diagnosed with brain damage, a chromosomal disorder, and autism spectrum disorder in 2013. Katy works in Development and PR, and is passionate about our community. As for her free time? You can find her relaxing with her friends over a good bottle of wine!
Keri graduated from Penn State University before heading west in search of gold. She hit pay dirt when her friend Stephanie invited her to join her New Year’s Eve slash birthday bash in Lake Tahoe. It was there, at the opening Murder Mystery Dinner Party, that she met her forever fella in Stephanie’s brother Ricker. A long-distance-love-turned-match-made-for-Madison brought Keri (mid) west to live happily ever after. Six years to the day they met, the couple welcomed their first daughter, a ten-pound love child named Louise Scout with whom Keri now spends her delightful days, singing in the streets, trying to stay out of Target, and attempting to share the love with the couple’s furry friend, a yellow lab named Monty. In past lives, Keri has moonlighted as a recruiter, HR lady, advertising copywriter, event planner and most recently, freelance writer.
Ashlyn Mehlhaff was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and is a first time momma missing Mardi Gras but enjoying all that Madison has to offer. A former New Orleans Saints Cheerleader, Ashlyn first met her husband, Taylor Mehlhaff, when he was drafted to the New Orleans Saints in 2008, after earning All-American and All-Big Ten honors for the Badgers’ football program. Taylor and Ashlyn moved to Madison a little under two years ago so Taylor could return to his alma mater to coach in a Special Teams Quality Control position. Ashlyn works for Olbrich Botanical Gardens on the East side and has worked in Development and for non-profits for more than 10 years, utilizing her Marketing and Business degrees. Not only does her employment service the community, but she finds it important to donate her time and giveback by being involved with organizations such as United Way of Dane County’s WLC, the Arthritis Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Operation Stardust, Susan G. Komen, and many others locally and nationally. Ashlyn has a love for traveling having been on two USO tours visiting Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as other countries in Asia, Europe, and South and Central America. She also enjoys teaching dance and cheer, rooting for the Badgers (and LSU Tigers), loving on her baby girl Bennett, and figuring out how to navigate life in this white stuff locals call snow.
Barbara has been married to her Bible camp crush, Dan, for 15 years. Barbara is a brand new Madison resident. Barbara is loving this Wisconsin summer, but is in denial about the Wisconsin winters. Barbara is no stranger to moving as she has lived in Maryland (twice), Georgia, Texas (twice), and Iowa (twice). Barbara is now a stay at home mama to Henry, Lyla, & Eli. Barbara surprised even herself when she jumped into the awesome adventure of homeschooling. She is in her fourth year of homeschooling her crew. Barbara loves finding deals and shopping fair trade. Barbara enjoys group fitness classes, and by enjoys she means “surviving, sweating profusely, and limping out to my van.”
Dan was born and raised in New Berlin, WI. He is married to the most amazing woman, Dawn, and has two children, Joe (born September 2014) and a baby girl due at the end of March. Dan has a background in Psychology (BA from UW-La Crosse) and Nursing (BSN from UW-Oshkosh). He is currently staying at home full-time with his son. He enjoys cooking, biking, running, and yoga. He is also an avid coffee aficionado and hopes to one day be able to roast his own coffee beans. You can follow him at his personal blog, From My Point Of View (https://www.from-my-point-of-view.com).
Rebecca Riedel is part-owner of a counseling practice in Madison called Restoring Hope. She works with individuals, teens and couples and is trained in techniques such as Brainspotting, Imago Therapy, and Prepare/Enrich in order to meet the wide and varied needs of her clients. In her personal life, Rebecca lives with her husband, her two young kids, a dog and a fish named Bob. She likes to drink coffee, eat good food, read books, play outside and go on big adventures. If you are interested in learning more about Rebecca or would like to set up an appointment for counseling, please go to www.restoringhopetoday.com.
An Alabama native, Kristen moved to the Madison area in the summer of 2014 with her husband, Joe, and their then 3-month old identical twins, Paige and Kate. Licensed as a clinical social worker, Kristen became an “accidental stay-at-home mom” when her income didn’t cover daycare costs. She quickly fell in love with her new job! Kristen and Joe enjoy Madison and the challenges and rewards of being far from family while raising young children. With two really early risers, Kristen enjoys “sleeping in” until 4:50am before lifting weights in their sanity-saving home gym. She plans to obtain her personal trainer certificate and hopes to ultimately combine her passions for fitness and serving the older adult community.
Nestled into an unincorporated town just outside of Madison, Kyla has a passion for community and the slow-down, small-town lifestyle. She was born and raised in the Verona area, and kept her roots planted here, with the exception of a short stint at UW Milwaukee while getting her BBA in Marketing and cheerleading on the collegiate coed cheer team. A traditionalist in most aspects, she stays at home and tries to keep up with homemaking with toddlers by her side. Along with raising her two boys, she enjoys crafting and working on her blog (www.homemadehometown.com). On the weekends, you can catch Kyla’s family adventuring through many of the Wisconsin State Parks or working on the next project renovating their hundred-year-old home.
Jen was born and raised in Wisconsin. After college at UW-Green Bay, she headed west for Grad School at Cal State Los Angeles. Jen moved back to WI and, though she has been “home” for years, she has a deep love for Southern California and sunshine. Jen has a love for running, personal development, traveling, wine, and Badger football Saturdays. She has a bit of a shoe obsession and is a total foodie. Jen and her husband Joe are parents to their sweet and spunky daughter Kennedy Elaine (August 2015) who teaches them something every day. Jen is a busy mom and community member who has a passion for volunteer work and loves her career as an Account Executive at Association Management Partners and Executive Directors.