Dirty Dancing Live in DC!

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Published: 08/14/2014
Okay, okay, okay.  I know "Dirty Dancing" isn't necessarily little-kid-friendly, but it's my moms favorite favorite favorite (I'm going to repeat everything 3 times like the goose from Charlotte's Web today, apparently) and I'm really excited to have it playing live in DC!


Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage
National Theatre, August 26-September 14
DIRTY DANCING – THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE is an unprecedented live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance, and sensational dancing. Seen by millions across the globe, this worldwide smash hit tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. Featuring the hit songs, “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me?” and the heart stopping “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” London’s Sunday Express says “This crowd-pleasing stage adaptation hits the jackpot!” Don’t miss your chance to see this record-breaking live theatre sensation. You’ll have the time of your life!


Use code MELON for discounts on select performances and prices. Offer valid at all points of purchase, limit 8 tickets per order. For discounts, click HERE 
For more information on Dirty Dancing on Tour, click HERE

Review: Bobby McKeys Piano Bar

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Published: 07/28/2014
I love date nights.  I think they're really important to keeping your family emotionally healthy.  I know some parents don't like to leave their kids or don't have a sitter (although there are lots of options for kids nights out on our calendar!) but I really think it's worth doing, even if it's initially uncomfortable to leave your babies.  Heck, I know people who pick up grandma and grandpa from the airport, drop them at home, and don't come back until Monday.  #ByAnyMeansNecessary.

I also really like to keep it interesting.  Dinner and a movie is awesome, but if we can do something different, then I'd like to do that :) Last weekend, we checked out Bobby McKey's with some friends.  I'd never been to a dueling piano bar before, but it sounded like fun!

We paid extra to have a table, and I'm really glad we did. I figure that the $40 we spent works out to be the same as we'd pay at the movies for tickets and popcorn- and the bar stools/standing room only didn't look as comfortable. If you have a special event you can even get a light-up table at the very front.  We had to be there by 8 to ensure they didn't give our table away at 8:30, we actually go to National Harbor a little earlier and enjoyed walking around, and a member of our double-date party ate some hot sauce so hot that he had to sign a waiver.  He got a sticker- we were all very impressed!

When you check in, you'll of course need your ID, and then if you're sitting at a table you get glow necklaces!

Well hot dog!

(No joke, I was excited about this! My kids get these all the time, but I never do! Yes, yes, I know I'm 30 and they're in Elementary School.  You trying to make some kind of a point?)
I was a little worried that we were going to be the oldest people there, but there were some younger folks doing bachelor/bachelorette parties (probably just barely making the 21 cutoff) and there were people in their 70s and 80s there, too! Service isn't exactly quick or attentive, even at the tables, but we did okay.  I am always the DD for everything, so I had a coke, which sat empty the vast majority of the time, but my tablemates ordered a beer tower that lit up on the top (so everyone knew you ordered it!) which was $40- although I don't remember how many drinks that worked out to being for them- so their glasses were refilled easily.

Next, two pianists came up and got things rolling.  They don't really "duel" in any way- they just play songs requested by people on napkins.  You write your request on a napkin, put it on the piano with a tip, and the bigger the tip the sooner it plays. At one point, they'd accumulated a few requests for "Let It Go" and offered to stop if someone topped the $16 they had to play the song.  "$17 bucks can save you all!", but unfortunately I didn't have cash- so that was probably the low-point of the evening for me!

There are a total of 4 musicians who alternate in throughout the night in groups of two, and when they swap out, the 4 of them play together, including drums, keyboard, and even a really great electric violin moment when one of the pianists played "Devil Went Down to Georgia" standing on top of the baby grands.  I really enjoyed myself! We were laughing and clapping and singing along- and most of the songs were classic hits that everyone knew. Oh, and, there was a confetti cannon! Whooo!

I will definitely say that the show is R-rated. There are two mirrors behind the pianos that you can pay to have a "Phrase of the Night" written on in dry-erase marker, and with bachelor parties in full force, these phrases were definitely a little raunchy.  They also sang a version of "It's a Small World" that I had NEVER heard before for someone's birthday- and if you're easily offended this is probably not the place for you. (In fact, since I am not a photoshop-er, be sure not to read these mirrors!)

I thought it was hilarious- mainly because the birthday boy was such a good sport about the whole thing. Also worth noting- it's a bar and there's live music, so obviously things are a little loud for conversation, although we were able to talk between sets (loudly) with our friends.

The piano players were all really talented, the humor kept going all night, and we had an excellent time.  We all stayed out way too late, especially since the couple we went with also had swim team in the morning!! But, it was well worth it for a memorable night out! I would definitely go to Bobby McKey's again- we had a blast! 

(PS- they also do Kids' Days- which would be fun to try as a family!)



Disclosure: This was not a solicited review, all opinions are my own.  Don't be a jerkface if you go out and drive home buzzed, have a designated driver.  If you can't find one, hire one.  Or, become friends with me, I always DD. Also, they were out of mozzarella sticks.  Which was sad. I'm not sure why that goes in the disclosure, but I just wanted you to know.

Review: Vertical Rock

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Published: 06/13/2014
I don't really know how to start this other than to say that Vertical Rock was absolutely awesome.  Just so much fun.  Any age, any level, any ability, your family can have fun doing this.  If your child is old enough to try to scale your bookshelves or the kitchen pantry, they can rock climb.

I know that trying a completely new activity at a completely new place can be intimidating, so here's how it works.

1) Enter the address (10225 Nokesville Rd, Manassas, VA 20110) into your GPS/Garmin/iPhone.  
2) Follow directions
3) Arrive. 

That's really it.  Everything else that you need is taken care of.  Get a day pass and climb all you want for $18 (adults), $16 (students), or $12 (military).  You'll need your own equipment, or you can rent what you'll need ($11 for everything).  Alternatively, if you're new, you can try it out for $20, which includes your harness, 3 climbs ($5 for each additional) and a Vertical Rock belayer to help you figure it all out.  For $35 you can take their "Learn the Ropes" course, during which you'll learn how to top-rope, how to "tie in", and how to belay safely for your partner. Classes are drop-in and offered Monday-Friday from 6-8pm and Sundays from 3-5.  

Really love it? You don't need a Bally's membership- you can join Vertical Rock as your gym! In addition to climbing, they have a fitness room, and offer "Rock Ready" (which looks a lot like the class that rhymes with "Boss Bit"), Krav Maga, Yoga, and a host of other fun stuff to keep you in shape without relying solely on a treadmill, which, let's be honest, is boring. 

We did an open climb, and the one thing I'll say is that you should spring for the $5 to rent shoes.  They're sexy like bowling shoes:


But they are SO MUCH EASIER to climb in.  Seriously.  I was informed that if "they're not tight, they're not right" so don't hop up a size because your toes are giving each other a bear hug.  

Next, our friendly belayers helped us get into our harnesses.  One thing I didn't know about rock climbing is how fashionable it is ;) 
 Yesssss! Work it! Work it!
 So now you head to the walls.  Courses are rated with cards (and they have funny names like "I should be with my mommy right now" or "Fried Squirrel Brains").  They start at 5.5, or as I like to call it "That sounds about right" and move up to 5.10, which then get letters after them.  Obviously the higher you go the more difficulty is involved.  The idea is to follow the tape color for the course you're doing.  Some specify that you can use "any feet" which means that you can use an of the grips you can get your hoofs on, and others want you to just use the color you're following.  Rock climbing involves a good deal of thinking when you add those caveats- you have to check where you are and think about where you're going- I was surprised the first time I climbed myself into a corner and had to back up and think about how to approach where I was going!
 This is the wall that Logan, Savannah, and I started on.  It has about a bijillion grips on it, and you can "climb the rainbow" and pick anything you want.  Here's where the staff really came in.  Logan got to this point (above) and was like "Yup, I'm scared and I'm done" and Zack, our belayer, was like "Yeah, totally hear that buddy- just touch that green one first" and by the time he did that, he realized he was just a few "rocks" from the brown section.....
And well, then it was just a few hand grips to the green spongy thing....and at that point, you may as well touch the top.  He was too nervous to rappel down the side, which I get, because it's a big exercise in trust to have someone you just met tell you to let go of the wall and trust them to not drop you.  Especially when you're 8.  He climbed down slowly, but surely. However, he did rappel on his last climb of the day, which was great! 
We had a few tears on the harder wall- somebody made the mistake of looking down.  (I climbed to the top of this one- but I didn't look anywhere but the place I was currently at- I probably would've cried, too!) but, again, the belayers did a great job of providing direction and assured us that they've had to climb up before to help someone down, but they didn't have to.  

The minute his feet touched the floor, he asked to go up again. I guess Belayer Anna did a good job :) 

In addition to open climbs and classes and memberships, Vertical Rock also offers a kids night, birthday parties, climbing teams (Team meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 530-730! VR hosts competitions and travels to other gyms to participate in competitions), indoor and outdoor camps, scout merit badges, LOCK INS(!!!), corporate events and outdoor climbing tours.  There's also a bouldering wall if you really want to climb but not quite so high:
Best part about their kids night is that you don't have to reserve (although you can) so you can just be like "It's Friday night and my kids are making me crazy!! Vertical Rock!" and drop them off from 7-9pm for $25 for Non Members and $15 For Members, Safety equipment included.   I am informed that the kids "come home tired", which is just what I like to hear :) 

If you'd like to give your child a chance to try Rock Climbing, but aren't ready to strap in yourself, check out the Vertical Rock Summer camps!

**Thinking about a membership? Here's a note from owner Lindsey**

Memberships receive the Learn the ropes class for Free, Yoga, Rock Ready, Discounts on Youth Teams and Summer Camps and much more. A Family of 4 can have access to a fitness activity that they will love doing together M-S for just $31.25 a person a month. A 2 person family membership is only $47.50 a month. Why go to the movies!?
We are family owned and operated facility who really get to know our members. We introduce members to each other through cookouts and parties to keep the community strong. Parents meet each other and climb with each other while their kids play and climb together. The family environment is amazing and we are so excited to share it with more people!




Disclosure: Vertical Rock is a sponsor of PwcMoms and allowed us to come climb.  However, all opinions and experiences are true and my own.  If I had looked down, I think I would've cried- and I really do think the ugly shoes make it way easier.  #TrueStory. 

Giveaway: Jake's American Grille DC

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Published: 05/21/2014
We are incredibly fortunate (or we planned well) to live close to family that loves to babysit our kids.  I know that for some of our friends, finding a sitter is incredibly difficult.  Either they can't find one, they're not comfortable leaving their children, or the added cost to the date is too much to warrant going out. Because of that struggle, I think it's such a fantastic idea that Jake's American Grille in DC offers childcare on-site for both their Thursday night date-night and their weekend kids brunch.

It's not in PWC, but I was willing to take one for the team and check it out.

 With this guy, because he's awesome. (For those of you who are new to PwcMoms, that would be my husband, Austin.)

The drive was horrific.  The Thursday night we picked for our reservation was the same night mother nature picked for intermittent torrential downpours.  We also opted to take 66 in rather than back tracking to take HOV on 95.  We just moved, it's not our fault.  All these things meant it took us 2 hours to get there.  Obviously this is not normal, we just got unlucky, and that can happen in the DMV.  The restaurant was incredibly kind about it- we called to let them know that GoogleMaps said there was no way in heck we were making our reservation, and they moved it out, no problem.

 The kids area is just off the bar (which seems strange when I type it, but actually wasn't at all.  There is a sliding door, but it was kept open for us).  It's narrow but there's plenty of room.  Professional nannies or Montessori school teachers staff the room, and the restaurant shared that many regulars love the childcare workers so much they've poached them for work other days!
 Childcare is available for children who are potty trained up through age 10.  Rates are $15 for the first child, $12 for the second child, and $10 for subsequent children.  We worked it out in our heads that with a 3 hour drive (it was only an hour to get home) and 2 hours for dinner, we'd pay our sitter $50.  Childcare at the restaurant was $37 and each child got a kids meal included in the price.  Works out well, as far as our money is concerned.
 The kids room has lots of toys and games, as well as a TV.  Savannah liked the Lincoln Logs and the boys watched a Superman movie, so everyone was happy. 

So the kids were all set.  We were close by, they could get us if they needed, the restaurant was even happy to put a second table next to ours if we wanted to eat as a family and then let the kids go play.   They were happy to play in the kids room, though, so we ate alone.

We were fine ;)

As far as the food, we opted to order off the $30 prixe fixe menu, which included a starter, main, and dessert.  The a la carte menu was also available.  Portions were good, so we could've ordered off that and shared, but we didn't :) $60 isn't bad for dinner in DC!

Austin got the wedge salad, no dressing no blue cheese, and I got the broccoli cheddar soup to start, also on the menu were mussels.  The soup was really good, the salad had extra bacon, which is never a problem.  For the main, Austin got the pasta primavera with marinara instead of cream sauce, which was okay. I ordered the quarter spinach stuffed chicken, which they initially forgot to bring (although our starters and Austin's pasta came all at once)- it was absolutely amazing, but lacked the spinach filling the menu mentioned.  I'd definitely order it again if I went back, even missing the stuffing.

I'm a bad blogger and forgot food pictures until dessert.

Austin got carrot cake and I got ice cream (there were only two choices so we picked different ones).  Neither was particularly good, although they were both big- we could've shared one- so we just snagged the kids and made their night happy.

They were more than happy with the ice cream :)

So.  All in all, the idea is a really good one.  The kids had a fantastic time, we got a date in with on-site childcare (no phone calls except the reservation), and I got to hang out with my hubby.  If I had it to do again, I'd order off the regular menu- Yelp seems to recommend the burgers.  Also good to know, there is a basement bar called Jake's Boiler Room, which is really fun, bright, and has lots of games available (both traditional bar games and an entire slew of board games for various ages!) I think that this is definitely a great option for parents who need a night out but don't have a sitter or aren't comfortable leaving their kids. The Sunday brunch, though, might be a better deal for you if the price still isn't right- childcare is free on the weekends.

Want to check out Jake's for yourself? I've got a few options for winners!! Jake's is generously offering 5 winners ONE of the following prizes:

$40 Gift Certificates to Kid’s Brunch
$40 Gift Certificates to Kid's Brunch
One Family Pass Certificate for a Family of Four to Date Night
Certificate for Complimentary Childcare for up to Two Children at Date Night
Certificate for Complimentary Childcare for up to Two Children at Date Night

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter below, and when you go, don't forget to email me and tell me how it goes!! I'd love to include your feedback, too!! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Disclosure: Jake's American Grille provided us with free childcare to come out and try their Date Night option.  All opinions, however, are my own. No other compensation was provided.   By entering any contest on PwcMoms.com, you agree to be bound by our Giveaway Rules.

Sponsored Post: Animated Child Programs for Fall

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Published: 10/24/2013

We are so thankful for all the businesses that support what we're doing at PwcMoms!! Animated Child is one of our fantastic sponsors, and we want to share with you more about a few of the programs they offer.

1. Before/After School Care:
Animated Child is the alternative to typical Before and After School Care.  Our program allows children to explore and learn while they spend  time in our Open Exploration area. Many parents have compared it to a children's museum! We ditch the traditional teaching model and learn science, technology, engineering and math in a completely hands-on environment.  Children can feed our animals in the Nature Smarts area and construct buildings in our Spatial Smarts area. Homework help is always at the ready and our S.T.E.M. room houses multiple computers for online learning. Join our program and receive 2-FREE Weeks of tuition! 
Call 703-763-0003 for enrollment information.

2. Classes in Language, Art, Social Skills, and STEM Topics
Animated Child is full service enrichment center offering classes in Spanish, French, Art, 2-D Gaming Design and P.E.E.R.S. social skills. Language classes are $200  for 1 class per week. $340 for 2 classes per week. Classes are in 8 week sessions. Enrollment is ongoing. Register any time!  Membership guarantees enrollment and great discounts.

3.  Open Play and Parents Nights Out
The Animated Child provides an integrated environment where children are encouraged to be curious and independent. Our setting is created for the inquisitive child. We aspire to develop a deep sense of self in our children.
Open Exploration Times: (Monday-Friday)
9:00am-10:30am                    Open Explorations are $9 ($7 for members)
11:00am-12:30pm
3:00pm-4:30pm
5:00pm-6:30pm 
Open Exploration Times: (Saturday)
10:00am-11:30am                  
The atmosphere is made to promote imaginative and creative problem-solving skills that generate intrinsic motivation. The Animated Child exists to bring into being an organic movement of emotionally balanced children that recognize abilities within themselves. Our innovative center is inspired by the multiple intelligences of Gardner’s theory, and we engage children in every element in order to highlight their unique way of learning. The vital element of emotional and social intelligence with a global perspective makes the Animated Child a leader in children’s education. The Animated Child recognizes the crucial value of a second language and provides a playful curriculum for complete immersion in language and culture.
4.  Birthday Parties
Various theme options available, including Minecraft!! Visit the website for details and options, as well as pricing. 

The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner

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Published: 10/21/2013
I feel like something of a hotel aficionado after spending six weeks in hotels during my radiation treatments at Duke.  We stayed in a super sketchy Homestead Suites for the first two weeks and switched to a La Quinta that was awesome, but still, you'd think after over a month of hotel, I'd be all stayed-out.

Incorrect.

When we received and invitation to come and enjoy a night at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, we rallied.  A "staycation" can be a really fun change from your regular date-night routine, and we were excited to check it out!

We hear that the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner has fantastic suites for families, as well as children's teas, too, but we opted to go child-free and enjoy a date night/hotel stay that didn't involve children OR doctors.

Magic.

While the Ritz-Carlton isn't the most modern of hotels, its reputation for elegance holds true.  Classically decorated, the details are what makes the Ritz-Carlton a destination hotel.  The staff are professional, courteous, and attentive.  The hotel is attached to the Tysons Galleria, which is known for its upscale and designer shopping, and the restaurant is delicious.  Little touches like being able to text the valet staff and have your car waiting make a big difference.
Okay, fine, and there are phones in the bathrooms, which my husband yelled out to me, and totally made me laugh about Pretty Woman all night.
 We started our evening with dinner at the Entyse Bar and Lounge which offers an extensive wine list as well as a varied menu for all tastes.  Case in point, I had Pad Thai (which typically comes with shrimp but I ordered vegetarian) while hubby enjoyed Filet Mignon with whipped potatoes and asparagus.

 For an appetizer, he ordered clam chowder and I had a mezze platter with hummus, tabbouleh, and baba ghanoush.  I have no clue how middle eastern food and pad thai go together, but I really love eggplant, so I was happy :)
 Again, the little touches are so enjoyable- our dinner was followed with a plate of small, sweet bites, which we enjoyed before our creme brûlée.  The meal was quite good, and the service was excellent- our waiter Luis was friendly and attentive.  Friday nights also feature live jazz, which we enjoyed quite a bit! Entyse has two dining areas, which allows for large groups (there was one in the bar area celebrating a birthday and having a great time), as well as more intimate dining, including the area we were in, which had several tables as well as stuffed-chairs/sofas with tables, as well.
The hotel offers many amenities, including a business room, spa, pool, lounge, and more.  We decided, however, to walk off some of our dinner in the attached Galleria mall.  Austin (my husband) wound us right through to the mall thanks to his years working at Booz Allen, which frequently rents space for larger hiring events, meeting and off-sites at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner.  Their wedding room looked lovely, as well.  I notice these things since my baby brother is getting married in September.

We had a lovely evening at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner.  Having a quick "staycation" was a great way to switch up our date night routine, and being in the heart of Tysons allowed for plenty of options for fun, with shopping, movies, and more all located either within walking or courtesy shuttle distance of the hotel.  To plan your own staycation at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, or to enjoy one of their many events, including pumpkin carving, Nutcracker Teas, Princess Teas, and more, check out their events calendar, located here.



Disclaimer: We were offered a free night's accommodations and meals at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner.  All opinions, however, remain my own, and only links to the calendar and the requirement I include pictures were dictated by the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner.  All writing is my own.

Giveaway: Natural Mom Home Day Care

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Published: 08/07/2013
Based on her own desires for natural childcare that allowed for attention, cloth diapering, natural foods including organic cooking, and affordable rates, local mom Rosemarie is opening Natural Mom Home Day Care beginning September 2nd, in the Rippon Landing Area of Woodbridge.  Here's what she has to say:


Natural Mom Home Day Care LLC opens its doors September 2nd to offer the Woodbridge/Dale City area (Rippon Landing) state licensed child care services for children 6 weeks to 6 years. “This is an opportunity for me to offer the services that mean the most to parents, like organic/natural foods, toddler yoga, baby sign language, family preferred scheduling and  complete preschool curriculum with rates that saves families over $2,000/year versus area day care centers.”, stated owner Rosemarie Groner.

After unsuccessfully searching for safe, affordable, high quality child care that offered the same natural care she provided for her new infant at home, owner Rosemarie Groner saw an opportunity to change the lives of area families. With a background in child care, she received state certification and created a child care program that offers local families an affordable, flexible, and safe alternative to area day care centers. Natural Mom Home Day Care LLC offers small group child care (3-4 children), organic/natural home cooked meals and home-made baby food at no extra cost, accepts cloth or disposable diapers, toddler yoga, baby sign language, photo sharing, preschool curriculum, and flexibility with after hours babysitting available by appointment. 

“I have three assistants that can help me with sick days, vacation and appointments”, explains Groner “Which means parents can feel comfortable relying on me. I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of area families and I take that responsibility very seriously.  A great day care provider is an extension of the family and that’s exactly what I plan to be.” 

To celebrate their grand opening, Natural Mom Home Day Care LLC is giving away a gift certificate for 5 hours of free after hours babysitting by appointment. To enter, head over to their facebook page and like them. One winner will be chosen at random. 

Visit naturalmomdaycare.blogspot.com, call 703-402-0362, or email Rosemarie at naturalmomdaycare@gmail.com to get more information and to request a “Parents Information Packet” with rates, menu plans, policies and procedures, and program highlights. 

In celebration of her new business, Rosemarie is offering something that every parent could use- 5 hours of after-hours babysitting (a $50 value).  Tell your husband to make reservations, and go out without the kids!! Enter using the Rafflecopter below.


PwcMoms is running this contest, but not responsible for care.  Please see any waivers or agreements provided by the babysitter, as well as her state license for details. This is a sponsored post paid for by Natural Mom Home Day Care, and information was provided by their owner. 

Review: Nando's Peri Peri Chicken

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Published: 06/20/2013
I love getting invited to come out and review new businesses, especially when they make it easy for me to give them a great review!  This week, we were invited to come out and try the new Stonebridge (Woodbridge) location of Nando's Peri Peri Chicken. (15001 Potomac Town Place, Woodbridge VA)

The best comparison that I can draw for those of you that haven't been there before is that Peri Peri Chicken (named after a particular type of chili pepper) is a lot like Peruvian or Pollo a la Brasa style chicken, but better.  The chicken is moist and tender, but the outside gets a bit of a char to it, which is delicious! The flavor from the various sauces and marinades is delicious, too....but we'll come back to that. When you walk in, you can decide to dine in or carry out.  Dine ins are seated at a table. 

 After you consider your menu, which has appetizers, salads, sandwiches, chicken platters, and even a few non-chicken offerings in the form of steak sandwiches and vegetarian options, you go up to the counter and place your order.  This could be a very simple process, as there's are options to order platters in a more "family style" manner, or you can get something different for everyone in the family.  I kind of like that.
 Waiting for your food, you get a pretty good view of the people preparing it.  The restaurant is a good volume for kids, by which I mean that the music is up loud enough that no one is going to notice if they're asking about the unlimited frozen yogurt at the end of their kids' meals for the 200th time.  It's probably slightly louder than you'd like for an intimate conversation, but it's fun and upbeat.
 While you're waiting, you can also pick up your silverware, any additional sauces you want, and your drinks over by the front door.  There's even a sink, just in case you need to wash up. This is also where your children will find the unlimited frozen yogurt dispenser.
 We started with an appetizer.  There was hummus, which is always hard for me to turn down, but we wanted to try something a little different, so we went with the Red Pepper Dip.  This is served cool with warm pita bread and has a little bit of a tangy warmth, but it's not spicy.  Everyone at our table enjoyed it- my kids love red bell peppers, but they especially loved the warm pita bread, so they're clearly easy to please!
Both boys went for the kids' drum and thigh meal with french fries.  It was our "last day" treat meal, so I didn't push for another option (they've also got cole slaw and corn).  The sauce on the kids' chicken is a barbecue style one, and they both liked it and didn't find it spicy at all. 

 My daughter, noting that we were at a chicken restaurant, ordered grilled cheese.  It's actual cheddar cheese, I think, not American, so if your child isn't a fan of real cheese, you'll know up front.  We are big fans of real cheese, so this wasn't an issue for us.  As I mentioned before, the kids meals come with a dish for frozen yogurt when the meal is over, so there's an incentive to take bites if you've got the kind of kiddo that needs that.

 My mom and I split a platter for two-three, and we had leftovers to bring home!  We ordered our chicken hot, which I found quite pleasant, but you can order your chicken from plain (mild) to extra hot, as seen on the pepper at the top of the post.  We ordered the Portugeuse Rice, which was slightly smoky and okay, but nothing I'd write home about.  We also tried one of their "fino sides", which are a slight upcharge, which was butternut squash with corn, dried cranberries, cilantro, chili, and some lime.  It was amazingly good, and something totally different from what I've had before.  Other side options sounded great, too, including their salads and potato options, and I have to say that we got a little plate envy watching other people's garlic bread going out from the oven, too, and we'll have to try that next time.  I think that both my mom and I devoured our butternut squash without even breathing, and then remembered we had chicken.  The chicken was, truly, delicious, and we both had to stop eating before we wanted to because we were full from our squash but the chicken was so good! Our platter meal could've easily fed another person, but we asked for a box and our chicken was great the next day for lunch.  I really enjoyed the extra flavor that this style of chicken has- the marinade and the saucing really make for a tasty meal!
Let's talk about dessert.  Yes, we were full, and yes, we were still eyeing that leftover chicken, but what's a review without talking about dessert?

An incomplete review.  I will not have that.  Plus, as I mentioned, there were boxes.  We tried the Rasbpberry Brulee Cheesecake and the Chocolate Spoon Cake.  I am not typically a cheesecake fan, but this was the creamiest, most lovely texture of cheesecake I've ever had, I would say it's better than the restaurant down the street named for it, and the Chocolate Spoon Cake?
So, let's be honest here, this cake was $6.25.  I would've paid $12.50.  It's like eating a giant chocolate truffle.  I love chocolate cake and it's almost universally disappointing when you order it out- it's dry and unappealing, but this cake is spoon cake for a reason.  Moist and decadent, you could easily get six spoons and share this on a girls' night, but you could also eat it yourself, and I will not tell anyone.

Although, if you want to share with me, I would be happy to tell everyone what a great person and generally upstanding human being you are.  So, there's that to consider.

Also, if you are interested, there's Sangria.  We didn't try it, but I thought you guys would want to know.  I know how excited we all were about wine before the last big storm, so it seems worth mentioning :) 

Nando's Peri Peri was delicious.  Great food, pretty simple preparations, but different and new flavors that we really loved.  Also, that chocolate cake.  We will definitely be back, in fact, maybe even this week- my husband is a little jealous that he missed out on something we're all raving about!  I'd remind you about the volume level if you're sensitive, and we weren't sure whether or not to leave a tip on the table (there are boxes by the register) so we erred on the side of caution and did, but other than that we were happy with our food, our service, and the overall experience! 

If you'd like to find out more before you go- you can check out Nando's Peri Peri Chicken:



Disclosure: PwcMoms.com was provided with our meal.  However, even when people pay us, we reserve the right to tell you what we think, and all opinions are our own.  We really would pay $12 for that cake.  No joke. And, the chicken was amazing. 


Reviews: Pa Nuang Thai

Permalink to Reviews%3A%20Pa%20Nuang%20Thai
Published: 01/15/2013
Highly recommended on the "Readers Recommend: Restaurants in Prince William County" is Pa Nuang Thai.  I actually thought I'd written about it before, but apparently, I haven't.  Or, maybe I have, but it's so good that I'm going to do it again. (Edit: I found it! It was for PotomacLocal.com)

It's my website, people, and I'll do what I want to.

So, Pa Nuang is amazing, and I like it better than all the other Thai restaurants in the county that I've tried.  Hands down. No, I don't care that you like the other one by the Safeway.  Typically there's room for everyone's opinions, but right now I am taking a firm stand on Thai.

 Their menu is extensive, and everything on it is amazing.  I love the crisp, fresh green papaya salad, and the Tom Kha Soup which is both sweet and salty, spicy and sour, and just generally amazing.  Hubby and I went their for a date night the other day, and we ended up with these:
 This is chicken with bell peppers and basil.  I'm sure it has an actual name, but it's number 3 down on the "Entrees" section.  Yeah, I know that.
This is the soup I now want anytime there's anything wrong or right with me.  I've had a migraine and been in bed for days, and reflecting on it, I'm actually ticked off that my husband didn't bring me soup.  I know I wasn't eating, but it would've reheated when I wanted it.  Originally, this was "Korean Noodle Soup", but apparently now it's "Clear Noodle Soup".  It's broth, ground chicken (or you can get it vegetarian or with shrimp...maybe? I don't like seafood so I don't reserve space in my brain for it) vegetables, and noodles, and it's amazing.  If you're a glutton for punishment like we are, they'll even bring out crushed red peppers that are waaaay spicier than anything you've ever shaken on your pizza.  Next Level Delicious.

(Yes, we ordered two entrees just for the two of us.  It's important to have leftovers when the food is this good.  Don't judge me until you try it.  Even then, don't judge me.)

Dishes can be ordered "American Spicy", which I would call "not spicy", "Regular Spicy" which is probably spicy enough for most people, or "Thai Spicy", which will clear your sinuses and make your tongue tingle.  I personally enjoy Thai Spicy, but recommend starting a little further down the scale until you know what you're getting into.

For the kids, I recommend the Thai Sweet and Sour, or, if they're more adventitious, the fried tofu with sweet chili sauce is really good.  The sweet and sour comes with the chicken in chunks and crispy (a la "nugget" but with recognizable meat) and the sauce on the side. My kids actually like the Pad Thai with shrimp and the tempura carrots from my Green Curried Vegetables.  They're not normal, though.

This is a really long post about how much I love Pa Nuang at this point....but it's really, really, really good.  They're not paying me to write this....I am, in fact, paying them.  For soup.  Which I could really use right now- I wonder if they're open....

12 Days of Giveaways: Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

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Published: 12/14/2012
 We're 12 Days Away from Christmas, so I want to hit you guys with a few giveaway items!! First up, I've got a $25 gift card to Firebirds Wood Fired Grill in Woodbridge.  This fairly new restaurant is located in my favorite place- Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center.  Love Love Love :) The restaurant had us for a preview meal, and they've got a pretty amazing children's menu.  My son got the children's salmon, and I'm not a seafood lover, but his fish was awesome.  I really appreciated that there were some exciting and healthier grilled items, in addition to standbys like burgers.  If it were me, though, I would probably choose Firebirds for a great date night.  Nobody minded our children, and the volume level in the restaurant is that magical point where you can hear the people at your table but there's enough background noise to mask your children bemoaning the fact that someone else is currently using the ketchup ;)
The restaurant is beautiful inside, I love the waterfall concept bar display, the wine bottle wall, the stone and the fireplace.  There is definitely tons of ambiance.  Entrees include steaks, fish, chicken, pastas, and some delicious sounding salads.  Yelp rates the restaurant between $$ (moderate) and $$$ (pricey).

Want to head to Firebirds for your own date night or happy hour? (It's so cozy and sleek inside-  it'd be a beautiful place to meet up with girlfriends for a special drink!) Check out the Rafflecopter below and enter to win!! I'll be drawing all the winners for these contests on Christmas Day- my way of giving some presents to you guys :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


We were able to try a meal at Firebirds before offering this giveaway, also provided by Firebirds.  Winner assumes all liability.  All photo credits are to the Firebirds Facebook Page.

Paradise Springs Winery

Permalink to Paradise%20Springs%20Winery
Published: 11/29/2012
I am not really a wine person.  It is atypical for me to have an "adult beverage" and if I do have wine, it has to be white, sweet, and with lots of ice.

Yes, ice. Because I'm classy, people.  I even know that the new term is "Cardbordeaux" and not "Wine in a bag in a box".

And only one glass, because after that, I get giggly.

However, I do love the idea of wine.  I'm always impressed by people who know lots about wine, that know the vintages and can identify whether a particular variety was aged in oak or steel, those who can tell the difference between the 1949 and 1950 blend of a particular beverage. I especially like the idea of vineyards.  Sitting around with friends enjoying a snack and a glass of wine by the fire with live indie music in the background sounds pretty amazing right?

That's because it is!!

We headed out this past Sunday with another couple for a double date to Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, VA, which was absolutely lovely.  If you're following Apple Maps, which we were, don't let them fool you into turning on the last left- just keep going straight, you can't miss it. Google users, you'll be just fine.

The vineyard itself is on a plot of land that's been handed down in a family since the time of Lord Fairfax and George Washington, which is really neat!  There's an historic cabin on site, as well as the main tasting room, which is also gorgeous.  Tastings at Paradise Springs include samples from their entire line for $10.  You can add a souvenir etched glass for $2 more.  Private tastings for groups are $15 per person, and happen in a dedicated location with your own "wine educator".  They also host special events, which you can check out on their website.

Our group opted to take part in the "Paradise Springs Experience" which is $25 and includes a tour of the cabin, production areas, barrel room, and a tasting.  Our wine educator/guide was Richard, who was absolutely delightful.  He was very knowledgable not only about wine, but art and history as well, and we very much enjoyed our tour with him.

Children are allowed to join you at the winery, per the website, but let's be nice to ourselves and everyone else and snag a sitter, shall we? Nobody wants to ignore their vino and conversation so that they can run after the munchkins.  Children are not permitted on the "Paradise Springs Experience" tour, though.

On our tour, Richard talked us through all of the Paradise Springs wines.  I learned that a more yellow color on a white wine indicates oak barrels were used (score! I'm educated now!), and was able to clearly tell the difference between a 2010 and a 2011!

Are you amazed by my new levels of awesome? I know, I am, too.

After our tour, we enjoyed some snacks that we brought with us.  Food is available on-site, as well, but patrons are welcome to bring their own, if they prefer.  Only Paradise Springs Wines are allowed, of course, and they also have non-alcoholic drinks available for purchase.

I think the only thing that we did wrong on this visit was underestimate the time we would spend.  I told Grandma that we'd be back for the kids around 4:00.  We left at 1:30, and we rolled back up to her house at 6.  Our tour took about an hour and a half, and we all had a great time just sitting and chatting in the beautiful and relaxed environment.  There was a fire going on the outdoor patio, as well as indoor seating, and we just really had a fantastic time.  They even had the football game on, which meant that my friend and I could gossip uninhibited by eye rolls from our respective husbands.
It was a lovely, relaxing afternoon!

Paradise Springs Winery
*Great for an adults-only afternoon/evening
*Open daily
*Tastings for only $10!
*Leave yourself lots of time!
*Bring food or buy it there
*Bring your ID
* Plan to buy a bottle of your favorite wine to take home!

Downside:
*If you're holding your empty glass AND a camera phone, don't turn the camera phone or you'll get red wine on your shirt and your friends will make fun of you mercilessly.  Or, maybe that's just my friends.

Plan Ahead:
*Someone's gotta drive home, so be sure that you plan accordingly by bringing a designated driver.  If you need to, call a cab.  Clifton Roads are windy and have lots of deer, so don't risk it.


Disclaimer: Don't be an idiot and drink and drive.  That's just not cool.  Also, I was not compensated in any way for this review, in fact, they didn't even know I was there.  We had a great time, though, and think you would, too. If you think you have a problem with alcohol, please get help. I've never written about anything alcohol-related before, I don't think, so if I'm over-disclaimering, I apologize.

Welcome to Prince William County! The Cheesecake Factory!

Permalink to Welcome%20to%20Prince%20William%20County%21%20The%20Cheesecake%20Factory%21
Published: 11/09/2012
I want to have an entire series of posts called "The Classy-fication of Hoodbridge" but I know you guys very seldom enjoy my humor about that, so I'm going to refrain....aside from just writing it here....so yeah.
Anyway, The Cheesecake Factory with their MASSIVE menu and MASSIVE portions and Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake that you can only eat one bite of because the entire piece is like a series of mashed-together truffle-y goodness has come to Prince William County!  You'll find them located at Potomac Mills Mall outlying by the AMC Theatres side.
The restaurant is having its grand opening on Sunday, November 11th, but they had invited me out to see what the restaurant is all about.  I was so excited!

And then I woke up sick.

So. Not. Cool.
Rather than start a health crisis, I found some back-up reviewers to go for me.  Amanda Long from Prince William County Children's Choir and Jennifer Clifton from Pillar Church in Dumfries were able to go for me and get the scoop.
And by scoop, I mean tasty tasty preview meal. Wrote Amanda:
"We had a lovely time.  The food was extraordinary!"
That about sums it up.  Cheesecake Factory- Lovely Time, Extraordinary Food.  If you're planning to go, do plan to wait for a table, especially if you're bringing a larger party.
 Also to note, The Cheesecake Factory makes meals that are ideal for sharing, even the salads.  Cheesecake travels home very well (because I've never been and had room for desert even though I always split my meal and never even finish half of it!), just ask your server for your cake to-go! While you're at it, they also offer their sauces in Mason Jars to-go, so you can cook up your favorites at home! There's also a new "lighter" menu available with portions listed by number of calories, if you're trying to be good!

The very fabulous Andrea from NovaHousewives.com also went to check out The Cheesecake Factory here in Prince William County, and if you'd like her tips and behind the scenes pictures, you can find them here.

The Cheesecake Factory Potomac Mills says this about themselves:
The Cheesecake Factory menu features more than 200 menu selections made fresh from scratch each day using only the highest quality ingredients. We have expanded our offerings with a low calorie menu aptly named SkinnyLicious™. Redefining low calorie flavor, the SkinnyLicious™ menu provides guests with even more choices. The Cheesecake Factory is famous for generous portions which are ideal for sharing or taking home – but be sure to save room to enjoy one of 50 legendary cheesecakes and specialty desserts. The Cheesecake Factory gladly honors requests to modify your order to suit specific health or dietary needs. Enjoy our high-energy atmosphere seven days a week, serving appetizers, lunch, dinner, late night dining, full bar, Sunday brunch, and Curbside To-Go service. Our passion for food drives us to deliver delicious food to all of our guests. That’s why we only use fresh ingredients to make everything from scratch daily in each of our restaurants – just like you would at home in your own kitchen.

The Cheesecake Factory's hours will be Monday-Thursday from 11:30am-11:00pm, Friday and Saturday from 11:30am-12:30am, and Sunday from 10:00am-11:00pm.  They do have a brunch menu!

Want to go? How about a date night? The Cheesecake Factory is offering a PwcMoms Reader a $25 gift card for their first meal at The Cheesecake Factory here in Woodbridge!

Enter using the Rafflecopter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck!


Thanks to The Cheesecake Factory for the fun giveaway, and for inviting PwcMoms out for a preview.  Obviously all opinions are our own.  PwcMoms.com is not responsible for your skinny jeans not fitting if you develop an addiction to Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake. Not our fault.

Kid Care Cafe

Permalink to Kid%20Care%20Cafe
Published: 09/10/2012

So here's a neat idea! A new business, Kid Care Cafe, will actually bring group childcare to your home or event.  It's a flat $15 per child at the event, and I can totally see doing this for my next big game night or BBQ so that the parents can enjoy their time with grownups, but not have to worry about having their children with someone they don't know off-site.  Weddings, business parties, galas, charity events, I could see this being a really useful service! 
From their website:
Instead of staying home from an event because you don't have childcare, why not bring the kids along too? We understand this tough choice that parents often make - miss out on being social with your friends OR find a sitter and go out! We want you and your friends to go out (or stay in) while we tend to the kids. We want your kids to have fun, make new friends, and be safe. We'll make sure that happens. 
 I haven't had a chance to meet the owner yet, but she's having a special kick-off event Saturday, September 15th from 3-5pm at the NZone in Chantilly (14550 Lee Road, Chantilly VA) with free food, games, raffles, prizes, face painting and music.  I think this is definitely one to check out if you're constantly in need of childcare! I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback if you use them, too!


As a reminder, PwcMoms.com does not endorse any childcare provider.  Parents should meet with any potential babysitters, daycare providers, preschools, etc. and use their best judgement and personal discretion before leaving their children with anyone.

Where do MamaMafia Dons Dine?

Permalink to Where%20do%20MamaMafia%20Dons%20Dine%3F
Published: 05/25/2012
Where do MamaMafia Dons Dine?

It sounds like there should be a punchline to that question- but the answer is anything but a joke.

This week I was able to spend some time (okay, almost 5 hours) at Carmello's in Old Town Manassas.  Y'all recommended Carmello's on our Reader Recommendation Restaurant Guide, and I've been wanting to try it ever since!  Andrea from Real Housewives of Northern Virginia set up a tasting, and from the moment we walked in, I was completely sold.  

Walking into Carmello's you'd never know that you're feet away from the Train Depot. Its warm colors and gold chargers invite you in, and even the sign glistens.  This would be the perfect location for a wedding or rehearsal dinner meal, and they are able to offer multiple room sizes to meet group needs.  Joining our dinner were Denise from Let Mommy Sleep/Mission Sleep, Rebecca from 3 Tiny Tyrants/Maguire Media Group, Laura from BeltwayBargainMom, and Micaela from SuperNovaMommy.  
Denise, Me, Micaela, the awesome manager Jacob, Rebeca, Laura, and Andrea
Rebecca selected a bottle from their extensive wine list for us.  There was what can only be described as the Cheesecake Factory Menu worth of wine on their list, but she picked out a fantastic red.  Twice :) (Please note- all photo credit is to Real Housewives of Northern Virginia who shared with me since I forgot to charge my phone before dinner) 
We were able to tour the restaurant.  This is the wine room.  Just for the reds.  
We had so much fun chatting with the manager, Jacob.  He selected a few dishes for us and I quickly shocked everyone since I love to cook and will try just about anything because I had never eaten ANYTHING that we had. I decided to try to handle it cultural-exchange style and just eat it :) It was all amazing, and I think I'm in love with scallops.  (Yeah, say that you've never had a scallop before at this table of women and you get 5 horrified gasps followed by two "Well you can pass them over here if you're not gonna try them!")


Okay, cell phones don't do food justice (sorry Andrea). This is shrimp and scallops over saffron rice with artichokes in a delicious creamy sauce.  I had never had a scallop before (gasp!) and am very selective about my shrimp, and since I'm not a seafood lover, let me say I loved all the seafood dishes here.  Everything was fresh and not the least bit "fishy".  Next we had veal medallions wrapped in bacon with a mushroom sauce, also over rice.





 I had (shocker) never had veal.  Also, let me confess to typically eating my meat "Well done, please, and then cook it a little more".  I didn't lick the plate....but I thought about it. This literally melted in your mouth.








Next we sampled the seafood ravioli, which had salmon (never had) and lobster cream sauce (never had lobster, either).  The salmon was probably the most out of my comfort zone, but the lobster cream sauce and I are now BFF's and I'm following it on twitter.





Now, all of this is very fancy and amazing, but it's of course special occasion/date night food.  And, when you have your next special occasion, this is where you should go.  Besides the food being amazing and the manager being friendly and knowledgable, the staff was attentive and I didn't see a single table that wanted for anything from water to clean forks.

But if you just need a little cocktail hour, Carmello's has you covered, too.  This delicious Pizza Margharita (yeah, I'd actually had this before!) Is actually from the adjoining bar, Monza.  If you're looking for a place for lunch, a light supper, or drinks with the girls, Monza has got to be it.  In addition, let me share something with you:
On Mondays, Monza has $5 martinis from a list about a mile long.  We sampled the pear, root beer float, grapefruit, a few I can't remember, and the awesome bar tender Jeff's espresso martini, which, if it were available at Starbucks, would land me in AA.  Meeting up with a few friends after work (even if work involves chasing toddlers!) at Monza would be epic. With the same warm and upscale feel, but substantially more flatscreen TVs (playing the hockey game!!) Monza is a great guy-friend or girl-friend meet up.

Also, now that summer is approaching, keep in mind that on Friday and Saturday nights, the patio is open and the side street shut down to accommodate live music.  What a great way to spend a warm summer night!

Carmello's- Entrees $23-30, elegant warm atmosphere. Going to the Hylton Performing Arts Center? Call ahead and bring your tickets and take advantage of their $35 Theatre Special before 6pm (Appetizer/Soup/Salad, Entree, Dessert).  Plan Carmello's for your next occasion and you definitely won't regret it!

Monza- $5-$17, fun upscale atmosphere, great for meeting friends! Don't forget the $5 martini Mondays, and that pasta is $4 off before 4pm, so a late lunch is an option!
Denise, Rebecca and me.  We like to segregate our Blondes and Brunettes when we dine out ;)




My group was provided with products or services for this review, however it represents my honest opinion, and I'd have written the same thing either way.  Just saying :)

Chick Fil A Mother Son "Date Knight"

Permalink to Chick%20Fil%20A%20Mother%20Son%20%22Date%20Knight%22
Published: 05/15/2012
When it comes to fast food, nobody does it quite like Chick-Fil-A.   From their friendly staff to great healthy options like grilled chicken nuggets and fruit cups, we're always really happy with our visits.  Even their play places have always been clean at every location we go to.  (Admittedly, we're not world travelers, but we have been to some CFA's in our time!)

One of the great parts about our local Prince William County Chick-Fil-A restaurants is that they're so kid-friendly! Whether it's family nights, movie nights, crafts, kids eat free, or special events, they're always fantastic about making sure your family can have fun!  Last year, my husband and daughter attended the Father/Daughter Date night.  My hubby was a little dubious about the whole thing when I signed him up and didn't give him an option  he decided to go :).  He wasn't sure what would make going with a reservation to fast food so special.  However, they had a great time, and were so impressed that when Mother Son "Date Knight" came up, I knew my boys and I were going.

 We went to the Woodbridge, Virginia Chick-Fil-A, and we were impressed by the set up! They turned the back half of the restaurant into a castle! The walls were draped with "stone" backdrop and they had balloons, crowns, and even cows with swords (see below)
 Note the cocktail picks.  :)  The restaurant event took the time to give some fun talking points.  My boys really enjoyed questions like "Would you rather live at the bottom of the ocean or on the moon?" and "Would you rather be a spider for a week or an elephant for a year?"  They sound really silly, but it got everyone talking, and the tables around us all seemed to be enjoying them, too!
 Next there was a "shield" we could use to make a family crest.  On the back, it explains the different animals found on crests and what they symbolize.  We decided to do an owl holding a fish because "Mommy wants us to make the wise choice, but we want to be crazy!" (Owls symbolize wisdom and fish symbolize energy).

The ever-friendly Chick-Fil-A staff (decked out with aprons and crowns) comes to take your order table side and delivers your meal on plates.  You still pay, both for yourself and the kids, so plan accordingly.  This is not a kids eat free night.  However, you do get free dessert! We got to try the new chocolate chip cookies (which are way off in the cookie-to-chocolate ratio, and I mean that in a VERY good way!) and also had the option of a brownie or an ice dream.
Of course, the cow also made an appearance! We had a lot of fun and will definitely make plans to attend again in the future!!

You can sign up to get email alerts from your local Prince William County Chick-Fil-A Restaurant! You can also follow them on Facebook.

-Chick-Fil-A Bristow, Manassas Virginia
-Chick-Fil-A Woodbridge, Woodbridge Virginia
-Chick-Fil-A Signal Hill, Manassas Virginia
-Chick-Fil-A Sudley Manor Drive, Manassas Virginia
-Chick-Fil-A Virginia Gateway, Gainesville Virginia

Chick Fil A Mother/Son Date Knight May 14, 2012

Permalink to Chick%20Fil%20A%20Mother%2FSon%20Date%20Knight%20May%2014%2C%202012
Published: 05/01/2012

 I think that alone time with your kids is important.  We love "mommy dates" and "daddy dates" because they let our children know how special and important they are to us. 

I also love that Chick Fil A helps! It's nice to have an option that won't break the bank.  My husband and our daughter did the Daddy/Daughter Date Night last year, and were really impressed by how special and affordable it was!

From CFA Signal Hill:

Mother-Son Date Knight is an opportunity for Moms to bring their son/s for a special, 'medieval' themed evening and a chance to have one-on-one time together. It is by reservation only. When you come to the restaurant, we will seat you and provide table side service. The restaurant will be decorated, there will be an activity for the mother and son to do at the table and we like to provide an Ice Dream Sundae Bar for you to enjoy as well!

To reserve your spot, visit the reservation page.  

Father/Daughter Dance

Permalink to Father%2FDaughter%20Dance
Published: 04/16/2012
The Manassas Park Community Center has so many fantastic kid friendly events and programs! I know Manassas Park isn't technically part of Prince William County, but I've always included it because it's just nestled in so nicely :)

Check out the details for the Father/Daughter Dance and be sure to sign up soon!  Note that this program is for girls in grades K-5 and that a "father" can be any male role model in her life.


Cooking with Bloggers at Alice and Louise Cooking School

Permalink to Cooking%20with%20Bloggers%20at%20Alice%20and%20Louise%20Cooking%20School
Published: 03/28/2012
Being a blogger is not fun when your space bar isn't working.  Being a blogger IS fun when you get to hang out with other bloggers at Alice and Louise, however! 

Last week, I was able to go check out Alice and Louise with a group of Northern Virginia Bloggers for a fun networking event put together by Andrea from Real Housewives of Northern Virginia.  Alice and Louise, in addition to doing catering, also hosts cooking classes for everyone from children through adults, and will do corporate events or private parties.  (Interested in doing one? Email me! If we can get a group of 8 together I'll book it!) They can work around your price range and interests, and, bonus, you can BYOM (bring your own Merlot).  

 Mother Earth Meals was also on hand to share some great cooking inspired by battling cancer and increasing your health using food.  Simply Desserts was also there with some delicious cheesecake tips.  By the way, did you know that it's Lent? Everything smelled delicious and got gobbled up, but I just watched.  Le sigh. (Okay, really I've been trying to pinpoint a few tummy issues and keep giving up different things to try to figure it out, but Lent is a much faster explanation)
 Group shot!  These ladies are a lot of fun! They didn't even make fun of the fact that I brought my own beverage (it was lemonade made with stevia) in a Patriots cup.  Rocking :)
Pictured (In No Particular Order):
Paper Placemats
Mom Machine
Caffeine and a Prayer
Creekside Learning
703MommyandMe
SuperNovaMommy
Real Housewives of Northern Virginia
Beltway Bargain Mom
PwcMoms.com

Date Night!

Permalink to Date%20Night%21
Published: 05/29/2011
I had a reader ask me about Date Night ideas, so here we go!! Please leave your ideas in the comments section below!!


Date Night in (and close by) PWC:

1) Manassas Side- Head to Carmello's Little Portugal.  It's a little on the expensive side, but was always super super good before the fire.  They've reopened and I'd be willing to give it another shot :)  Since dinner was on the pricey side, head to something on the cheap for afterwards! The Harris Pavilion offers a number of free and low-cost dances, concerts, and more!! (Also, we're in a recession, so if you want to hit the Subway directly across the street from the Pavilion as opposed to the fancy restaurant, I won't tell!!)

2) Awesome Wife Night- Do you want your husband to stop whining about the last chick flick you took him to? We've had some fun nights (fine, some fun laughing at my lack of hand eye coordination) over at Hard Times Cafe in Woodbridge. With sports, cold beer (blech), pool, and frequent special events like Live DJs and Karaoke, you can have a really great time hanging out with your guy and earning brownie points for the next Ralph Finnes movie you need to see. (There's also a Hard Times in Manassas)

3) If you need a little sunshine in your orange juice- Occoquan's Olde Dominion Wine Shoppe does $8 evening tastings as well as free daily mini-tastings.  Most of the shops close early, but you can enjoy walking the waterfront, feeding the ducks, window shopping and then a belgian waffle for dinner (do not judge me!) at the Cock and Bowl. They also serve mussels, which I don't eat, and an impressive list of imported beer.  Caution, however, because when my friend's husband's band (Yeah, it's called Derelict Dog.  Bonus points for using an SAT Hot Word in the name of your band Kevin and Bill!) would play the outdoor patio (which is where you want to sit, under the lights- very cute) our little group of 6-10 people would run up a pretty impressive bar tab if we weren't careful.

4) If your wine drinking needs would better be served in Montclair, Giorgio's/Wine Styles is the way to go.  I haven't been personally, but a few of my girlfriends did a ladies' night there and are planning another one.  The great thing about these tasting nights is that you can actually talk to each other.  Sit, have a few tastes, relax, and really talk.  My husband and I have a rule that we get any "business" out of the way in the first 10-15 minutes.  That means no talking about the kids, the finances, the cleaning, the dog, the drycleaning, etc. after that.  If you have forgotten how to talk to your spouse (and it happens) try this incredibly corny list to get the conversation flowing:  http://scottmoonen.com/2008/03/14/date-questions/

5) Hike.  Seriously.  Pack a picnic and head out to your favorite trail.  Try them all.  Bring bug spray.  Have a grandparent nearby? You can camp while you're at it.  A little campfire and some s'mores with your honey? C'mon that's amazing.  (Day Date: Head out to Skyline Drive and hike 7 Falls.  If you're hardcore, you can do Big Schloss way out in the boonies.  Here's a tip- don't do it several months pregnant in the middle of August, okay? Good)

6) Twilight Golf.  After 4pm you can hit the green for a reduced rate.  Little much for you? That's okay! Head out to your local mini-golf (Woodbridge, Manassas, Gainesville/Bristow, Montclair/Dumfries/Triangle)

7) You know all those local plays I list on the calendar all the time? They're pretty cheap and usually really good! VPstart Crow does some great work from what I hear.

8) Speaking of VPStart Crow, they work out of the Hylton Performing Arts Center, which offers a great variety of performances.   It's a great way to dress up and go to the theatre without getting on 95, which, as we all know, is the devil.

9) I know I've said this before, but I'll say it again.  I love the Workhouse.  I just do.  I know it's technically in Lorton, but that's way close to Lake Ridge, where I kick it ;) Their special events feature movies, gallery shows, dances, and more.  And, it's free to walk around and look....another cheap one!!  There are some great thought-provoking pieces.

10) Wicked expensive but totally awesome: Sailing at Leesylvania (less expensive: paddle boating or canoeing, most local parks with water access offer really affordable rentals, or borrow a kayak from a neighbor- we all know someone with one!) Scuba Lessons together (less expensive, your local pool/indoor swim center for some laps)


Anyone else have thoughts for local dates?

I Just Need a Night OFF!!!

Permalink to I%20Just%20Need%20a%20Night%20OFF%21%21%21
Published: 01/05/2011
Hey There Mommas!!

If your house is anything like our house, you just spent winter break with between 1 and 5 sick children/husbands (well, hopefully 1 husband, but you know, we're not here to judge), while running around like a crazy woman cooking, cleaning, entertaining, and spending 4 hours in line at Toys R Us Christmas Eve because your sweet baby angel child decided that Santa was only bringing them ONE thing and it wasn't one of the 2,000 toys you and your family bought them.

Good times!!

So, perhaps you are in need of a little break.  Now, I happen to be a spoiled brat and live within 20 minutes of our fabulous Grandma who babysits pretty much every Friday night (sleepover included).  However, since she's recently gone back to school, which I am so proud of her for doing, we need alternate plans.

If you, too, would like to get a few hours of grownup quiet time, here's a little list of options :)

1) Kids In Motion has Kids Night Out EVERY SINGLE FRIDAY NIGHT!! Your child can play from 5:30-9:00pm for $25 for the first child and $15 for siblings. That includes dinner at 6:15.  Kids in Motion also offers a special New Year's Eve service that includes a sleepover.

2) Lake Ridge Park offers a drop off event for ages 4 and older.  There are only 12 spots, so reserve early!! $15/date or $50 for all four Saturdays.
Option One: Holiday House- Kids celebrate the holiday with games, activities, and crafts. 703-792-7060
*New Years, January 8th 6-9pm
*Valentine's Day, February 12 6-9pm
*St. Patrick's Day, March 12 6-9pm
*Spring Fling, April 9 6-9pm
Option Two: Bingo (Ages 4-10) based on a new theme each week, and everyone is a winner!!
*Kings & Queens, January 15, 10-1
*Celebrate the Presidents, February 19, 10-1
*Community Helpers, March 19, 10-1
*Wonders of the World, April 16, 10-1

3) Pump it Up Inflatable Playzone offers Kids Night Out on Black Friday (score!!), Valentine's Day, and the First Friday of every night.  Have a child on the spectrum? They also offer a Sensory Integration Night on the 3rd Thursday of the Month.  Prices vary, so check the link!!

4) SportRock is admittedly far away, but soooo cool!! An indoor rock climbing experience, SportRock offers a Kids' Night for ages 6-14 from 6:30-8pm.  At $20 with all equipment provided, this would be an awesome choice for a more active older child who's outgrown the moonbounces. (Can you outgrow moonbounces? I don't know, I still love them!!)

5) The Little Gym offers various "Parent Survival Nights" at their locations across Virginia.  Find the location nearest you on the link above and pick a night!!


Perhaps you have your own babysitter? Make sure they're American Red Cross Certified through the Safe Sitter Course!!

Ages 11-15 can take the Babysitter Course at the Freedom Center on February 5th or March 12th from 9am-4pm.
Anyone ages 11 and up can take Infant/Child CPR on April 9th from 9am-4pm at the same site.  Both courses are $75.

Prefer the other side of the county? Chinn Aquatic and Fitness Center offers Baby Sitter Training, too! Baby Sitter Training I for ages 11-15 is $65 and can be taken on January 22, February 26, March 19 or April 16.  Baby Sitter Training II for ages 11-15 includes infant/child CPR and can only be taken after Baby Sitter I.  It's $60 and held on March 26.


Stay Sane Mommas!
daytime playtime - a fun place to Learn.... a great place to Grow A Play Gym Designed for Parents and Children Aged 10 Months to 4 1/2 Years... Majest Martial Arts - Montclair