Giveaway: Majest Martial Arts

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Published: 10/29/2014
Our friends at Majest Martial Arts are bringing you this weeks' giveaway! Check it out below! 

In a society that likes to glorify violence, the idea of enrolling your child in a martial arts training class may seem crazy. The image of martial arts instructors as the over the top "Karate Kid" Cobra mental cases makes the prospect seem totally insane. Contrary to popular image, martial arts is actually extremely beneficial for children.  Led by Master K.B. Kim of Korea, Majest Martial Arts - Montclair is dispelling these myths, helping develop our students in both body and mind.  Tae Kwon Do helps children by increasing respect, developing skills in listening and self-control, encourages teamwork and support, helps children learn to set and achieve various goals, and fosters increased self-esteem and physical fitness. 

Our programs are geared for students ages 3 to 99, with a variety of special classes, including our brand new HOME SCHOOL Tae Kwon Do Program!  Whether you are young or old, looking for self-development, or helping your child set and achieve personal goals; Majest Montclair has a fit for you. Programs include:

            Ø  Tiny Tigers (Ages 3-5)
Ø  Evening Color Belt Classes
Ø  Family Classes
Ø  Teens and Adults Classes (Ages 12 to 99)
Ø  Demo Team
Ø  School Break Camp Programs
Ø  *NEW* Home School Program (Ages 5 and Up)
Ø  Leadership Team
Ø  *NEW* Silver Tae Kwon Do (Age 55 to 99)
Ø  Olympic Style Sparring (Gyeorugi)
Ø  *NEW* Cardio Kick Class
Ø  School Age Child Care Programs (Serving Pattie, Henderson, and Ashland Elementary, as well as  Saunders and Graham Park Middle School)

Enter to win 3 Free Classes and a FREE Uniform (a $90 value!).  To win, visit the Majest Facebook and click "like".  Then, check out their reviews and pictures from class.  While you're looking, watch for the picture where PWCMOMS is hidden and comment on the photo to win! You must comment AND like to win! If more than 25 people enter, two winners will be chosen.

Want to check out Majest? They've got an open house coming up, too! Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 10am-2pm. 

As always, giveaways are governed by our giveaway rules- and by entering you agree to be bound by them.  Good luck! 

Blue and Grey Ladies' Tea @Weems Botts

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Published: 09/22/2014

Free Children's Day at Weems Botts Museum

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Published: 08/05/2014

Tomorrow: Dumfries Charter Day- May 10, 2014

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Published: 05/09/2014

January 20th "Day Off" Recap

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Published: 01/21/2014
We don't typically follow the PWCS schedule in our homeschool, but we decided we'd take yesterday off with the rest of you and have a little fun :)

We started the morning off with my reader meetup hosted by The Animated Child, which my kids were SO excited about, especially the boys, because, in a word, Minecraft.  Am I the only mom out there who really has no clue what Minecraft is? My kids were totally addicted to it before we even had it at home.  I'm so thankful to The Animated Child for hosting all the kids at such a special discount.  Their Parents Night Out programs are typically $35/child, and they had us out for $10/child, plus $3 for lunch.  It was such a fun opportunity and I hope that everyone enjoyed learning more about the center!
I have to remember to invite a photographer for every event I host.  My iphone pictures are horrid :)
As for our moms, we had a pretty good crowd- I should've counted- but I think there were about 25 of us.  Not too shabby for a Monday lunch! If you haven't made it out to one of these reader meetups, I do hope you'll join us in the future. In March I think I'll start doing a playdate type meetup and a moms night type meetup, but we'll see if I survive Silver Sparkles first ;)

After we finished up at the reader meetup, we had to drive to Stafford.

Stafford is usually where I draw the line.  I know that it takes me just as long to get there as it does to get to the other side of the county, but for some reason there's a block in my brain about going south! However, today there was a really great reason for me to man up. 

Sweet Scene Photography hosted a "Tea Time with Belle" which, for $15, included snacks, crafts, pictures with "Belle" and a small goody bag for each girl.  My daughter, Savannah, is almost 6 and she'd been looking for an excuse to get some girl time with a few friends.  While she's definitely mine (she shares my appreciation for pink and sparkles) she would rather wear pink jeans than a dress, but she did humor me and dress up for the occasion.
 There were plenty of coloring sheets, along with a decorate your own crown craft, and the girls seemed to have a lovely time.  I appreciated that the photographer took pictures before she let the girls start in on their teatime snacks (mini cupcakes, fruit snacks, and a few candy options).  It definitely helped keep the pictures frosting-free.
All of the girls got a few professional snapshots of them with Princess Belle (there was a library-themed backdrop) and there was also time for- you guessed it- iPhone pictures!! Yay!  I think if I did this again, I'd ask to have my daughter's group get their pictures together with the photographer rather than her alone- they were sweet, but the fun part of the day for her was being with "her girls".  All four of the ladies that came with us had a really fun time, and I definitely think this was a fantastic special treat, especially with the bonus princess time.  Sweet Scene hosts these fairly regularly with various princesses and they also do "Diva Parties" for birthdays. 

One note- if you decide to go, the studio is on the left hand side of 610 across from the Arby's.  If you pass Sherwin Williams you went too far.  There's a sign for the studio (it's in a shopping center) but it's at the bottom of the sign, and if you are me, you will be late because you passed the Sherwin Williams several times....on both sides of the road...

Luckily my friend told me she did the same thing, so at least I was in good company!

I hope you enjoyed your scheduled holiday- and that you enjoy your unscheduled break today, too!!  I know a few businesses are planning to open- but if you go please call first to confirm and use caution when you drive!

Disclosure: I paid for my lunch, just like everyone else, as well as for my daughter's tea time with Belle.  The Animated Child is an advertiser with  However, all opinions are my own and were  not requested by any company/business. 

Mommy Meet Up- Animated Child/Mateo's

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Published: 01/12/2014
I'm so glad that someone asked me to start doing reader meet ups :) It ends up they're a lot of fun!! Our December meet up was at Bar Louie, and to change it up a little, our January meet up is going to be a daytime event- but it's on a holiday for many of you, so I hope you'll be able to join us!

Please make plans to be a part of our Mom's Day Out on Monday, January 20th (MLK Day) from 11am-1pm!!  (And yes, if hubby is off and wants to come, bring him on along!)

Mateo's Santa Fe Cafe is offering members of our party $3 sangria and $5 appetizers, or you can choose from their regular lunch menu, as well.  I've been once and the food was delicious.  They have a 3.5/4 stars on Yelp which is practically impossible to do- Yelpers like to complain ;)

Need childcare? No problem!  Animated Child is going to be offering PwcMoms who are joining us at Mateo's a special deal!! Their MNO program is typically $35, but for us, it's going to be just $10!! Lunch for the kids is $3 and will be sunbutter and jelly, organic milk, and an apple.  Due to allergy concerns, outside lunch isn't allowed.  Classes will be:
-Ages 3 to 5 (potty trained only!) Art and Open Exploration
-Ages 5 to 8 Science Project and Open Exploration
-Ages 8 to 12 Minecraft

If you'd like to join us, I just need to have a count for the restaurant, and you'll need to register for childcare in advance as spots are limited and filling fast.  You can use this link to register (click here) just make sure to use code PWCMOMS to take off your $20 savings!! However, if you're coming and don't need childcare, please email me (click here) so I know to save you a seat at the table!

Hope to see you there!!  

Recap: Open Exploration at The Animated Child

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Published: 01/01/2014
When I was first able to actually sit down with Alejandra Hall, owner of The Animated Child, and chat face to face for the first time, I was so impressed with her vision.  I'd read the website and tried to understand everything that was going on over there- a preschoool, indoor play area with drop-in hours, language classes, art classes, social skills coaching (they're an inclusive center), memberships with special members-only benefits, parents night out, annnnd....I think I'm skipping something, too.

Minecraft- they have Minecraft camps and classes- how could I forget that? My boys have talked about NOTHING but doing Minecraft camp since we walked in the doors. 

They've got a TON of things going on over there, and understanding it just by reading the website is almost impossible, you really do have to drop in.

That's why I was so excited that The Animated Child invited us to bring a few readers over for a free open-exploration so they could experience it for themselves.  It was a great way to spend New Years Eve Day!
 Our target age was K-3, and I would say that Open Exploration is best aimed at ages 2-7. That being said, my 10 year old had fun when we came with just out family, but I think preschool-grade 2 would have the most fun. 
 My daughter had a blast at the tangram wall.  It's completely magnetic, and there are tons of patterns.  I think these two built a rocketship and a centipede before moving on to something else!
 The space that you play in for Open Exploration is divided into sections based on Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences (I told you that they impressed me with their planning!!).  There's are areas for playing with animals (guniea pig, lizard, and multiple fish tanks), a touch table, a train table, all sorts of building materials, body puzzles, a dress-up/pretend play area, and water bead station.  The space is open and inviting, and everyone (parents, too!) wears socks and uses hand sanitizer before playing to keep it clean!
 While the kids were playing, Mrs. Alexy took the time to let parents find their child's top intelligence and gifted everyone a shirt with "Music Smart", "Body Smart", "Math Smart", whatever their top match was. 
I think everyone left happy, and had a great time playing.  We had a few kids that did NOT want to leave!  I love that Open Exploration is engaging, quiet, and less rowdy than inflatable places (aka Bounce Houses), which I love, too, but with very small children who get hurt easily, or a child who can't bounce for whatever reason, there are few fun indoor options for cold/rainy/winter days, and I'm really glad that we've got one in Montclair!

To learn more about The Animated Child, visit their website, or better yet, visit them in person.  Open Exploration times are listed on their website, but are currently:
Open Exploration Scheduled Times:
Open Exploration Scheduled Times: (Saturday)

You can also find Open Explorations listed on our calendar.    Open Explorations are $9 for non-members.  Thanks again to everyone who came out to play with us!!

Disclosure: The Animated Child is one of our advertisers, but all opinions are our own.  You can find out more about advertising with PwcMoms, or about hosting an event for our readers at your venue under the "advertise" tab, or by emailing us. 

Come Play at Animated Child!

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Published: 12/27/2013
Hello, everyone!

You guys have gotten so good at giveaways/contests on the website that you all are terrible at the newly-legal ones on Facebook.

Horrible ;)

So, I'd like to invite you do join my daughter Savannah and me on New Year's Day at The Animated Child in Montclair for a 9am Open Exploration for FREE! We'll pick 10 random winners to join us.

Please note that each winner will get ONE free spot for a child in grades K-3. Luckily, though, there are lots of people home on December 31st, so if you have older/more kids, they can enjoy a playdate elsewhere! We'll have coffee, hot cider, and a fun giveaway for the mommas, and kids can play and enjoy the space. (Dads, grandmas, whomever enters)

To enter, head over to the Animated Child Facebook page and be sure that you "like" it. Leave them a comment saying that you want to come and play on New Year's Eve Day with PWC Moms. (I know their page doesn't allow you to just "post" but if you use this:

You can just comment on what they already wrote.

I'll pick winners on December 28th. AND NO WORRIES!! If you were able to enter on Facebook, you'll be included in my random drawing, too (although if you want to enter again here, you absolutely can!!) If you aren't picked, Animated Child has daily open explorations, as well as the ability for moms groups, playgroups, MOPS, and preschools to schedule their own private open exploration sessions on Mondays!

Can't wait to see you there!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As always, by entering you agree to be bound by our official rules.  If you win a spot and cancel at the last minute, you will not be eligible for our next reader meetup contest.  I know I'm a big meanie head, and I know stuff happens, but it is amazing to me now that I'm doing events that 20 people's grandfathers can all have a heart attack at the exact moment they're supposed to be at an event.  There are lots of people who would like to come, and I only have so many spaces, so if you take a spot, please plan to attend, or cancel no less than 24 hours in advance.  

Savings at Animated Child

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Published: 10/01/2013
Our sponsor, Animated Child, is offering readers a free class! If you enroll at your free class, you'll also save $80 on your membership! Classes include art, languages, and more!

Free Weekend at Weems-Botts September 14/15, 2013

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Published: 09/08/2013

2013 Dumfries Fall Festival

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Published: 09/05/2013
Dumfries will host its annual Fall Festival on September 14, 2013 from 11am-6:30pm.

Featured Organization Friday: iWalk for ACTS

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Published: 08/30/2013

This sounds like a fun one.  Action in the Community Through Service (ACTS) is a mainstay in the Prince William County nonprofit scene.  They've been helping people in our area for as long as I can remember.  One of my first volunteer memories is helping with Operation Turkey, and another shortly after that was feeding people dinner at the emergency shelter with Girl Scouts.  ACTS is holding their 3rd Annual iWalk for ACTS to benefit families in need on Saturday, October 19th in Merchant's Park in Dumfries.  After the walk there's a FREE Family Festival with games, moonbounces, face painting, clowns, obstacle courses, free food, and more.  This definitely sounds like a great day for the family.

Don't wait until October, though! Sign up now for a family rate of $50, or, you can sign up as a fundraiser and get those in your life to help you sponsor this great walk!

ACTS runs a food pantry, homeless prevention shelter, domestic violence shelter, helpline and more.  They're a 4-Star Charity Navigator organization (remember- know who you're supporting!!) You can also support ACTS through the United Way: United Way NCA Designation Code: 8001
Combined Federal Campaign Number (CFC): 21878

Free Movies in Dumfries!

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Published: 07/11/2013
Join Pillar Church of Dumfries and the Town of Dumfries for "Movies on the Lawn"! They'll be showing family-friendly films over the next three months, including "The Lorax" on July 12th, "Willie Wonka" on August 2nd, and "Wreck it Ralph" on September 14th.  Seating begins at 7:30pm and movies will begin at sunset.  This is the summer 2013 schedule.

4th of July Fun in Prince William County!

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Published: 07/04/2013

Not on the 4th Fireworks (Tim's Rivershore- 1510 Cherry Hill Road Dumfries VA): On June 29th, Tim's will host their annual "Not on the 4th" fireworks show.  Fireworks are launched from a barge on the river, and Tim's recommends coming early for a seat in the restaurant.  

Dale City Independence Day Parade (Dale Blvd from Keytone to Gemini): Dale City's annual parade always gets under way at 10am.  This LONG parade features local scouts, businesses, fire trucks, floats, and more, and ends in the commuter parking lot behind the Comcast building (think Dale City Farmer's Market) with a fun fair.  Bring cash to purchase drinks/snacks and line up early to get a good seat along the parade route, which follows the side of Dale Blvd. heading towards I-95, closing traffic to one lane each direction on the opposite side.  

City of Manassas (Harris Pavilion 9116 Center Street, Manassas VA)The City of Manassas celebrates the 4th of July with an Independence Day party with live music, rides, an Apple Pie Baking Contest, carnival foods, face painting, and a red, white, and blue hayride. Events kick off at 4pm, and fireworks are scheduled for 9:15. Rain date is July 5. Activities and food prices vary, no admission fee or fireworks charge. 

Pfitzner Stadium (7 County Complex Court, Woodbridge VA):  The Potomac Nationals, Prince William’s local minor league baseball team, hosts a game on the 4th complete with fireworks.  Purchase tickets ahead, they’re usually sold out at the gate. People do come out and sit around the exterior of the stadium to watch the fireworks- but plan to pay to park if you drive up to the stadium, and for it to be CROWDED getting out! 

Montclair at Dolphin Beach (Dolphin Drive and Spillway Lane, Dumfries VA): The MPOA sponsors a 4th of July Fete every year, and while only MPOA tag holders can attend the event on the beach, there is viewing available from side streets, or from the lawn of your nearest and dearest Montclair friends.  (If you don't have a Montclair friend, make one- you've got time!) 

Signal Hill Park (9300 Signal View Dr. Manassas Park VA): Thursday, July 4th from 7-10pm, free admission, shuttle service from VRE and City Hall, $5 on-site parking handicap only, limited general parking across the street. 

Great Meadow Foundation (5089 Old Tavern Road, The Plains VA):  Great Meadow Foundation’s festivities.  General Admission is $40 per car at the gate or $35 in advance.  Included in admission, which begins at 4pm, is rock wall, laser tag, moon bounces, bands, and a rain machine.  There will also be helicopter performances, polo demonstrations, and one of the area’s largest fireworks exhibitions.  Pony rides are available for $5, and there will also be food available for purchase if you prefer not to tailgate.  This location is about 11 miles from Haymarket and 46 miles (an hour) from Woodbridge.  

Lorton Workhouse (9601 Ox Road, Lorton VA): Will present a patriotic concert and fireworks on July 6th, with the concert beginning at 7pm and fireworks commencing at 9pm.  Both events are free, but you'll want to bring a blanket or lawn chairs, and plan to leave outside alcohol at home.  The Workhouse is on the opposite side of the Occoquan Bridge, 3 miles from Woodbridge, or 23 miles (about 30 minutes) from Bristow. 

Townof Haymarket (Corner of Route 55/Washington Street): The Third Annual Stars and Stripes Street Fair (July 13) will be a full day of fun from 1:00pm to 6:00pm with a street fair, summer concert, and Stars and Stripes Barbeque.  These events are free to attend and are not limited to Town of Haymarket residents. 

Fredericksburg VA:
Lorton Workhouse: 

Anytime activities are outside, they can change with the weather, so please use common sense or call before heading out! These are just events presented, not endorsements, although we love to hear reviews, so send us yours! We're happy to link to your business or blog.  Also, if we're missing something, let us know! 

Dance Studios for Children in Prince William County

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Published: 06/22/2013

Our Readers Recommend posts are always great! I love hearing from you who the best businesses to frequent are, especially since I obviously can't try the whole county out myself!! When it comes to dance studios for your beginning dancer, here's what our Dance Moms recommend!  We've included the comments from Facebook, the number of moms who wrote "recommend" posts, and the number of "likes" that posts got for each studio, total.  Some moms don't feel the need to write a new post when their favorite has been mentioned, but we want to include their support!

Studios, by "region" and then in alphabetical order (or I think, anyway- but remember, I had brain surgery...)

Dance Studios for Kids in Haymarket/Gainesville/Bristow:
AG Arts- private, professional ballet classes and coaching.  Caters to a lot of home schooled dancers. Simply the best! (recommended x2, 2 likes)
Gainesville Dance Center- They are so great!! Starts at age 3 and up (recommended x1, 1 like ) 
Gainesville Ballet- our daughter has had the wonderful opportunity to dance on-stage in two Nutcrackers, Coppelia, and Swan Lake beside professional and pre-professional dancers who gently mentor and support.  She is now age 7. (recommended x1, 2 likes)
Tiny Dancers- started out daughter there at 2 with Mommy and Me classes, now she's 5 she's been in 2 recitals! Tiny Dancers is geared towards kids 2-12. (recommended x1, 1 like)

Dance Studios for Kids in Manassas:
Academy of Russian Ballet- Much more modest performances than the other places I've seen. Starts at age 3, three professional productions a year with guest artists (optional participation) students have gone on to the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow and other programs. (recommended x2, 5 likes)
Centreville Dance Academy (This isn't PWC, but since some of you are soooo very close to the line) (recommended x1, 1 like)
Northern Virginia Dance Academy- Professional, reasonable, end of year performace free and open to the public.  We love it there and appreciate the emphasis on modesty. (recommended x1, 1 like)
Showcase Dance- great program for all ages, appropriate costumes, reasonable prices! (recommended x1, 1 like)
Spotlight Dance- great teachers and prices (recommended x3, 3 likes)
Stage Door Dance Studio- Starts at age these ladies & all the very talented dancers they create! One daughter started at 3, the other at 2, they both love it! (recommended x2, 1 like)
Virginia Dance Center- starts at age 2 and has dance camps over the summer. Has mommy and me class and summer camps.  Great instructors and staff!! The training is incredible!! (recommended x6, 17 likes )

Dance Studios for Kids in Woodbridge/Lake Ridge/Dumfries/Montclair:
All That Jazz- starts at age 2, All That Jazz is wonderful! Ms. Rebecca and her entire staff are fabulous!  You can watch them dance on TV from Lobby or a double mirror by class! The teachers are the best! My youngest does creative movement and my oldest did hip hop. (recommended x6, 27 likes )
Dance Etc- We love Dance Etc.! (recommended x2, 1 like)
DeGrasse Dance Studio (recommended x1, 1 like)
Linda's Ballet Workshop- Ms. Linda is THE BEST!!! Her philosophy is to dance for the love of it. No pressure...just a love of dance!! We have been at Linda's Ballet Studio in Lake Ridge for 3 years. Our daughter started at 3 years old.  We love it there! Reasonable prices and FABULOUS teachers make it an ideal studio. You won't be disappointed. Linda's Ballet Workshop hands down! They even have adaptive ballet for handicapped students. Also love Linda's! One more for Linda's Ballet she taught me for 14 years and is now teaching all 3 of my girls.  We LOVE it there- learn to dance for the love of it- no matter your size, age, or skill level! Perfect for little preschoolers to adult dancers! (recommended x9, 29 likes)

Reader recommendations are voluntarily offered, and do not suggest an endorsement from PwcMoms.  If you'd like to add your suggestions or endorsement, do so in the comments!

Dumfries Black History Month Celebration

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Published: 02/06/2013
The Town of Dumfries will present a Black History Month Celebration entitled "Believe, Achieve, Succeed: Showcasing Inspiring Testimonials from Change Agents in Our Community".  Light refreshments will follow. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013
Little Union Baptist Church
17150 Mine Road
Dumfries VA 22026

Save the Date Dumfries 2013

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Published: 01/23/2013
Dumfries already has their 2013 events planned! Save the dates for fun family events in Prince William County!

Project Butterfly Wings, Weems Botts Museum

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Published: 09/10/2012

Project Butterfly Wings

Free Children’s Day at the
Museum — October 6, 2012

10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

¨ Supplies are included
¨ Fun Crafts to do
¨ Snacks will be provided

¨ Dress for the weather
¨ Dress for the mess
¨ Use bug spray if needed
¨ Use Sunscreen if needed

Project Butterfly WINGS is a hands-on opportunity for youth to learn about butterflies, their habitat, behavior & more through developing their own butterfly observation site.  Learn how to make your own “Butterfly Garden!”  WINGS participants will monitor butterflies at Historic Dumfries, and can continue to conduct regular surveys of the butterfly’s visiting. Youth will contribute to national research…WOW!  Participants can expect to be out in nature, interact with WINGS technology, learn from expert Master Gardeners, make crafts, play games and have FUN!

Historical Native Plants of Virginia will be used!  Follow-up in the Spring to create a Colonial Vegetable Garden

Sponsored by:  PWC Cooperative Extension - Master Gardener Program,  4H Project Butterflies, PWC Historical Commission, Bel Air Woman’s Club and Historic Dumfries VA, Inc.

Please RSVP to Joann Barron at
Phone: 703-221-2218

Town of Dumfries Fall Festival 2012

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Published: 09/04/2012
Join the Town of Dumfries for a kid-friendly Fall Festival, with plenty of grown-up appeal, too!!

4th of July Events 2012

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Published: 06/25/2012
Looking for something fun to do in or around Prince William County for the 4th of July? Fireworks, baseball, and kid friendly family fairs are all on our list of great things to do this Independence Day in Prince William County!

June 30th- 
Fireworks at Tim's Rivershore (Note- we just got an email from a reader that there can be quite a few inebriated folks at this event.  Might be better off to hop in the car and head "that direction" to view the fireworks rather than hang out at the restaurant).
July 4th- 
Dale City Parade starts at 10am and runs from Kirkland Drive to Gemini Way (the commuter parking lot where the Dale City Farmer's Market meets).  Note that Dale Boulevard closes early on in the morning and will be one lane each direction until around 12:30pm.  Plan to get a spot early and bring a bag for the candy that gets tossed.  After the parade, there is a Family Fun Day in the commuter lot.  Bring cash for snacks and activities. 

The City of Manssas celebrates the 4th with a family fun day, carnival rides, food, fun and fireworks.  Meet at the Old Train Depot (9431 West Street) at 4pm for entertainment with fireworks at 9:15pm.

Near Fairfax? Mount Vernon will offer an historical spin on the nation's birthday with events from 9:30-2:30 including a daytime fireworks display and historical ice cream making. 

If you live further south, consider heading to George Washington's boyhood home- Ferry Farm- and enjoying several games and events from 10-5. Admission is $1 per person with active duty military free. When you're done at Ferry Farm, Pratt Park (120 River Road, Fredericksburg) will have live music and fireworks with festivities beginning at 6 and going to 9:30pm, parking is free but limited and alcohol is not permitted. 

Manassas Park will have fireworks at Signal Hill Park from 7-10pm.  Admission is free, but on-site parking is $5 starting at 5pm.  Omnilink does stop near by if you'd rather take the bus to the commuter lot.

Montclair Virginia has fireworks starting at 9:15pm at Dolphin Beach.  You must be an MPOA member to be on the beach.  However, you do not have to be an MPOA member to take advantage of a side-street view.

A favorite of my family's is the Potomac Nationals game! Head out for baseball and a hot dog (no apple pie that I know of, but it's pretty darn American anyway!) at 6:35, and stay after the game for a fantastic fireworks show.
July 7th
The Workhouse Arts Center will host Patriotic Fireworks Show at 9pm after a full day of fun programming.  The fireworks are free, just bring a lawn chair. 

Readers Recommend: Best Pizza in Prince William County

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Published: 06/22/2012
When I asked a reader question about the Best Real Pizza in Prince William County, I got a TON of responses! From Deep Dish in Dumfries to Meat Lovers in Manassas, you guys have some serious feelings about Pizza!! Here are the responses!  If you have a favorite location for the Best Pizza in Prince William County, be sure to leave a comment!!

Tony's in Bristow/Manassas/Bull Run/Haymarket x25
(Manassas Location is the Best, We moved to Manassas from Woodbridge to be closer to that place!) 

Astoria's 123/Route 1 in Woodbridge x15
(My husband's favorite and he went to culinary school! Best in the area!) 

Amici's Pizza off Hoadly Road x5
(Run by an Italian Family.  If you pick it up you get Buy One Get One free for Large One-Topping)

Presto Pizza in Merchant Plaza x5
(Woman is from Sicily, Run by Italian Family, Great Customer Service, grows her own basil)

Padrino's in Dale City x4

Pizza Margherita in Gainesville x4

Lake Ridge Pizzaria x3

Brooklyn Brothers in Gainesville (x3)

Papa Petrone's Take and Bake x3

zPizza x3

Brothers in Montclair x2

L&B in Dale City x2

Costco Pizza x2

Ledos of Liberia

Pizza Time in Manassas


Bella Vita in Manassas on Liberia

Roma Restaurant in Lake Ridge

Big Joe's in Manassas

Pizza Spot in Manassas Park

Joe's Pizza and Subs on Route 1


Pizzarama in Manassas

Leesylvania Junior Ranger Program

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Published: 06/22/2012
The Junior Ranger Program at Leesylvania State Park runs several weeks this summer for various ages.  Parents may use the program as a drop-off camp or may remain with their child, if they're more comfortable.  Children as young as 4 and as old as 12 may participate in various weeks.  Please see the flier for additional information.  This fantastic park is located here on the Woodbridge/Dumfries side of Prince William County and offers several programs for families and children throughout the year.

Prince William Forest Park

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Published: 06/20/2012
Prince William Forest Park is a fantastic location for camping, hiking, and even meeting friends at the playground!  There are several entrances to the Park, including a few from route 234 in Dumfries and off route 619 past Independent Hill going to Triangle. The main entrance to the park, which I recommend you use, is the one you reach by taking exit 150B off I-95.  When you enter the park, there is a ranger station, but it may or may not be manned.  If there's no ranger, head straight down the road and you'll arrive at an information area where you can pay your $5.  Admission is good for seven consecutive days, so it's a pretty awesome deal, when you think about it that way!

Visitors Center and Welcome Station
Looping back towards the entrance, on the right hand side there is parking and a large playground with an open field.  The play area is partially shaded, but the field gets some fairly direct sunlight.  With all the trees around, you'll definitely want to do a tick check when you get home.  
Playground area with slides, climbing wall, playhouse and more

Across the street from the playground, there is a hike entrance.  I want to say the blazes are green, but I am not positive, so please don't quote me on that.  The hike is paved with shredded plastic (similar or the same to a rubber track type of feel).  It would be very stroller friendly, if you're looking to hike with a baby! 
 The hike winds you past a creek, and there are lots of signs explaining the flora and fauna, which is helpful since my kids always want to know what each individual leaf is and Google is so sick of me asking about "4 tipped leaves on flat bark trees in Virginia" that they're considering cutting me off.  I don't have to search in an encyclopedia, but I can't stay know how it goes ;)
Here's another view of the playground.  The kids had a great time running around, and as a bonus, there's a BATHROOM!! Flushing toilets, running water, the whole deal.  I consider proximity of the potty to be a huge deal, so chalk that up as a win!

Prince William Forest Park has a scenic drive, as well, and it's quite pleasant.  I would have especially loved it when my first was a baby.  He had horrendous colic and the only way he slept was in motion.  A nice drive through the park would have been a great way to spend the time driving the baby!

Finally, there's camping.  We were fortunate to spend part of a night with our boy scout troop, and had a great time! There are, again, restrooms, as well as nice sites with decent parking.  We were near an outdoor area with lots of bench seating where we enjoyed a bonfire, too.  We stayed in the tent camping, but they also offer 5 cabins.  For details on camping at Prince William Forest Park, just click here. 


Prince William Forest Park
Pros- nice playground, bathrooms located nearby, camping and parking
Cons- small fee, multiple entrances can be confusing to first timers (like me my first time!) 
Cautions- only that you should be sure to check for ticks, but that's any outdoor location in Virginia! 

Summer Movies Free/Cheap!

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Published: 05/21/2012

Free/Cheap Movies All Summer Long!
Here’s a list of free or inexpensive movies in Prince William County! 

Pillar Church and the Town of Dumfries will be hosting an outdoor viewing of the Muppets Movie on June 9th at 7pm outside town hall.  Popcorn is free and soda/water/hotdogs/chips will be for sale.  

Manassas Stadium 14 and Imax (11380 Bulloch Drive) will participate in the “Summer Movie Express” program where select G or PG Rated Movies show for just $1 on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10:00am.  A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Will Rogers Institute. Traveling this summer? Find another participating Regal Cinemas/United Artist Theatres by clicking HERE 
June 19/20- Journey 2 & Kit Kittredge: American Girl
June 26/27- Dolphin Tale & Happy Feet Two
July 3/4- Legend of the Guardians: Owls of Ga’Hoole & Yogi Bear
July 10/11- Cats & Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore & Hugo
July 17/18- Adventures of Tin Tin & Puss In Boots
July 24/25- Kung Fu Panda 2 & Rango
July 31/August 1- Rio & Spy Kids: All the Time
August 7/8- Chimpanzee & Hoodwinked Too
August 14/15- Arthur Christmas & The Smurs
**Movies are subject to change at the theater’s discretion**

Chick Fil A Virginia Gateway in Gainesville (5015 Wellington Road) will be hosting a free movie night on June 9th.  The movie is outdoors and begins at 8:45pm.  Film selection is “A Turtle’s Tale”.  The rain date is June 16th, same time.  Bring your own blanket/chair (and if your kids are like mine, bring some bug spray!)

Chick Fil A Bristow will host several free movie nights this summer.  The planned schedule is as follows, but be sure to check their facebook for any updates.
June 1- Disney’s The Lion King
June 8- The Tooth Fairy
June 15- Alvin & The Chipmunks Chipwrecked
June 22- Up
June 29- The Princess Diaries
July 6- Fly Away Home
July 13- Disney’s Cow Belle’s
July 20- Veggie Tales
July 27- Firehouse Dog
August 3- Nickelodeon’s Barnyard
August 10- Everyone’s Hero
August 17- The Karate Kid
August 24- The Berenstain Bears
August 31- Herbie Fully Loaded 

The ever popular University Mall Theater (across from GMU in Fairfax) runs $2 Tuesday all year long! On Tuesdays, all shows, small popcorn, and small sodas are $2 each.  This may not be the “frilliest” or biggest theater you ever go to, but people, the price is right! In the summer, plan to go early to get your tickets as daycares and camps will show up and buy them out. 

Madison Crescent in Gainesville (Route 15 and Route 29) will be hosting Free Outdoor Movies through June:
May 25- Kung Fu Panda 2
June 1- Cars 2
June 8- The Muppets
June 15- The Smurfs
June 22- Hugo

Manassas will have free summer movies starting at 8pm!
All movies are free, but the location changes!
6/29- Costello Park Happy Feet 2
7/13- Signal Hill Park Dolphin Tale
7/27- Signal Hill Park Cars 2
8/17 Costello Park The Lorax

--Watch for more! Comcast usually does at least one or two outdoor movies at the Government Center and as soon as I hear I'll let you know!  Having your own movie event? I'm happy to share! Email me to get on this list for free! As with all lists, this information is current as of the date of publication.  I am not in charge of the weather and only list cancellations that I am informed of, so please use common sense if the weather is not cooperating and plan accordingly, either by calling or making alternate plans for your evening.  

Guest Post: Animal Shelter Children's Farm

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Published: 05/18/2012

Thanks to Sharon for the info on the Prince William County Animal Shelter Children's Farm!

My kids are crazy about animals.  We are always looking for something to do that involves our four-legged friends.  Today we ventured out to the Prince William County Animal ShelterChildren’s Farm.  If you are interested in taking your wee ones to this free exhibit, here are a few things you should know before you go.

First of all, it’s free.  Pretty cool, right?  The only requisite is that you call beforehand to make sure there is someone available to let you in.  Even though the website says they are only open on Thursdays, they will accommodate visitors provided they are adequately staffed.  The staff also recommends that you use discretion if it is raining.  This is a real barnyard with real dirt and your children can get really dirty if it is wet.  Heads up.

We arrived to the Animal Shelter parking lot and walked through the main entrance into the shelter building.  We asked at the main desk if we could be escorted back to the Children’s Farm and we were soon paired with a kind, young employee who walked us to the back and unlocked the gates.  As soon as the gates were unlocked, the fun began.  Two very friendly, very zealous potbelly pigs greeted us immediately: one named Chunk and the other Tootsie. We took a chance and brought a big bag of carrots in case they would let us feed the animals, and as it turns out, visitors are welcome to feed carrots and apples.  And, WOW, were we popular!  My children were able to feed carrots to the pigs, the white pony, all of the goats and the cow in the yard.  The animals were clean and well-groomed.  They appeared happy and well taken care of.

Our visit concluded when all of the carrots were eaten (a few may have been consumed by the humans in our group…) and the children had laughed themselves silly at all of the animal antics in the barnyard.  We stayed for about 20 minutes.

Bottom Line: Call ahead, dress for mud, bring treats, and have fun.

Address and Phone Number:
14807 Bristow Road
Manassas, VA 20112
Phone: 703-792-6465

Hours of Operation:
Tuesday: 11:00am-5:00pm
Wednesday: 11:00am-5:00pm
Thursday: 11:00am-5:00pm
Friday: 11:00am-5:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am-4:00pm
Sunday: 12:00pm-4:00pm
Monday: Closed

Sharon Kieffer Steele is a homeschooling mother of 5 who resides in Prince William County.  She is a freelance writer who occasionally blogs
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