Youth Chorus Program Beginning in the 2014-2015 Season

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Published: 04/15/2014

Youth Orchestras of Prince William Announces Addition of Youth Chorus Program Beginning in the 2014-2015 Season

Woodbridge, VA (April 11, 2014) – The Youth Orchestras of Prince William(YOPW) is delighted to announce the addition of a Youth Chorus for the 2014-2015 season.  This treble voice choir will be open to both male and female students in grades 3 through 8.  The chorus will perform a variety of repertoire including classical, folk, and world music and collaborate with YOPW’s orchestras.
John Devlin, Music Director said, “YOPW’s mission is to serve the area’s youth by providing them with high-level musical opportunities. We saw a need for an excellent choral program that will bring together talented youth from around the region. Our unique position within the county allows YOPW to do this and will give the chorus the chance to perform with our instrumental ensembles.”
YOPW began incorporating choral collaborations into their performances in the 2012-2013 season.  These have proven to be successful learning opportunities for all of the students – orchestra members and singers – and YOPW is excited to expand these offerings. 
“Integrating a youth choir into our own offerings is an ideal channel for younger students that are interested in the choral arts. With us, they will grow into excellent ensemble members and enjoy the experience in the way that our instrumental students are currently able,” said Devlin.
Students interested in joining the new Youth Chorus will be required to complete a voice check.  Voice checks will give students the opportunity to meet with Chorus staff one-on-one and will last 5-7 minutes per student. 
Voice Checks will be held:
·      Monday, May 12th from 5:00 - 9:00 pm at Gar-Field High School
·      Monday, May 19th from 5:00 - 9:00 pm at Patriot High School
·      Saturday, September 6th from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm at Gar-Field High School
Appointments can be made by contacting the YOPW Office at (703) 590-7083 or

For more than 30 years, the Youth Orchestras of Prince William has provided exceptional instrumental education for the youth of the region. We offer opportunities for a wide spectrum of students, ranging from beginning string players and intermediate wind players to advanced students performing professional symphonic repertoire. YOPW enrolls approximately 275 students in three string orchestras, two symphony orchestras, a wind symphony, and a variety of chamber music ensembles. Our students are primarily from Prince William County, Virginia, but YOPW members come from all over Northern Virginia and North Central Virginia. For more information about the Youth Orchestras of Prince William visit our website: 

Week in Preview: April 14-April 20, 2014

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Published: 04/14/2014
 I hope that you're planning a fun spring break, whether you're traveling or staying put, working, or taking a week off. My boys are going to be checking out programming camp at The Animated Child, and my daughter is hanging out with me for a little girl time (read: I couldn't find a camp that worked right for pickup/dropoff with the boys)- but we're going to have fun! We should have some great weather, so consider one of the county parks for some mini golf or outdoor fun!!

Monday, April 14
 If you or someone you know could use a little extra help getting food on the table while the kids aren't in school, here's one for you: In partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), Holiness Tabernacle provides free, healthy and nourishing food to Prince William County every second Monday from 12 to 3 P.M.

If you need a little break this week but can't do/don't want to do a full week of camp, Kids N Motion has 9:30 am - 12:30 pm morning session or 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm afternoon session
Early drop off and Late pick-up available at an additional fee of $5.00/Hour.
(Must be prearranged and scheduled) $20 for 1 session per day. $30 for 2 sessions per day.

Tuesday, April 15
SOS: Spring Break Edition: Art Attack Tuesday, April 15, 2:00 p.m. Join us at the library for an art attack! We’ll have four stations with different projects set up, and you can take a turn at all four, or concentrate on three, or two, or just one. Grade K–5 Please pick up a free pass beginning 1/2 hour before the program; each child participating must have a pass. Limit 24. 

Wednesday, April 16
Baby Animal Petting Zoo Wednesday April 16, 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Pet the baby animals from the Bar C Ranch Tickets for timed intervals available beginning Wednesday, April 9. Tickets are necessary only if there is inclement weather. Limit: Five Tickets per Adult 

Thursday, April 17
Shenanigans at Central Library Shenanigans Alternating Thursdays at 4:30 p.m.  Make practical or whimsical items and have fun while doing it! All of the programs are free and all materials are supplied!  Grades K–5. Registration is required and may be done by phone or online.

SOS Matinee: An American Tail at Potomac Library Join your siblings or  friends at a school’s out special matinee; you are welcome to bring a snack and drink to enjoy while you watch! All ages. Drop in. No registration required.

Friday, April 18
People love Port Discovery Children's Museum, and even though it's in Baltimore, we've got it on our calendar for their $2 night.  I assume that it'll be crowded, but if you're looking for a fun and inexpensive spring break field trip, this could be it! Join us on the 3rd Friday of every month for Target $2 Family Fun Night!  Enjoy a discount admission of $2 from 4pm - 7pm.  Cannot be combined with any other discounts or coupons.

Want to stay a little closer? It's GEICO free night at the Children's Museum at National Harbor.  We did this over Christmas, and, again, while you'll wait in line to get it, it's free and fun!  This isn't my favorite children's museum, I think it's a little small and definitely aimed at the preschool/kindergarten set.

Saturday, April 19
Easter Egg Hunt: April 19, 2 PM - 3:30 PM Rain or Shine for Kids through 5th grade

8899 Sudley Road, Manassas VA 20110
Come one, come all children to our Annual Easter Egg Hunt, Saturday, April 19th 10:30-11:00 am. We will hear a story, make an Easter craft, and HUNT for candy-filled Eggs. 
LRPRA Meet the Easter Bunny and hunt for eggs at the Eggstravaganza.  All children up to age 10 are eligible; parents must pre-register children by Wednesday, April 16, in order to participate.  The cost is $3 for LRPRA members and $5 for non-members.  Don't forget your cameras and Easter baskets.  Call the Recreation Department at 703-491-2154 for more details.  Begins at 9am SHARP.  Do not be late or you'll miss all the eggs!! 
Rippon Lodge Egg Hunt Eggs have been hidden all over Rippon Lodge and we need your help to find them.  Egg Hunts will be at 11:30, 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30.  Hunts will be separated by age groups.  Enjoy fun kid friendly games and crafts all day long.  Bring a picnic and make a day of it.  House tours available.  Bring your own basket for egg collecting.  All other activities will be ongoing throughout the day. Please bring exact change or to speed entrance process.  VISA and MC accepted.   
Sunday, April 20 (Easter Sunday) 
Spirit and Life Church (Dumfries) and St. Thomas (Manassas) will both have egg hunts after their services on Easter Sunday. 

Don't forget that there's school on April 21st as a makeup day for snow! 

Host a Student with USA Connections

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Published: 04/08/2014
USA Connection is an exchange program that is currently looking for host families (who are compensated!) who would like to have a student from Spain join their family for a few weeks this summer.  Interested? Here are some details! 

1) Tell me a little about your organization and how you got involved

We have always enjoyed intercultural experiences, since we  ourselves are an international couple, and we have traveled, lived in different countries, and speak different languages. Last year, for the first time, we decided to extend that experience to others by inviting a carefully selected group of Basque teens to stay with American families during the month of July.  It was a great experience for everyone.  After last year's great experience, we were really motivated to do it again!

2) What's one of your favorite exchange stories from students?
One of our more conscientious students forgot to change the timezone on his cellphone alarm. So, on his first night with his host family he went to bed at a relatively normal time only to get up, shower and go down to have breakfast at 1:00 a.m. all the while wondering how American's could sleep so late on a week day!

Another was at a 4th of July pool party, and was the only one to notice when a toddler fell into the pool. He quickly jumped in to pull the toddler out.

3) What's one of your favorite exchange stories from a family?
One of the families from the Lake Ridge area enjoyed the experience of having one of our youth so much that they want to host the same student again! They've kept in touch all year and are even planning on being the first family to do a full exchange with our program by sending their daughter to Spain to stay for 3 weeks with their host student's family.

4) What's involved in hosting a student?
Nothing special, really. We do ask that our student have a private bedroom and that Spanish not be the primary language of the host family. Other than that, they should do their own laundry, help with basic chores and go where your family goes.

If your family goes to church, take them to church. If one of your children has a softball game, take them to the game. The only "extra" thing would be to drop them off at the pickup point for our 2 day trips and when we take them to summer camp- and pick them back up, of course!

The families, in general, aren't expected to pay the students way. They travel with their own pocket money. They also travel with full medical and liability insurance in the case of any mishaps.

Having a teen in the family is preferable, but not necessary. Children that they can interact with is a requirement though.

5) Where do students come from? What do they like to do?
Our students come, primarily, from the Basque Country, a small nation between Spain and France. Most of the Basque live on the Spanish side of the border.  Because of the Basque Country's unique situation, most of our students are trilingual, with Spanish, Basque and English. A few speak French as well.

Our students are very similar to kids in the US. The boys like soccer and video games. Many of them surf if they live near the coast. The girls tend to be athletic as well, playing soccer and field hockey. Basketball is also very popular. It's common to see groups of teens hanging out on a park bench talking and playing with their cellphones just like kids in the U.S. In the summer, they tend to spend the day at the beach.

6) What kind of support is offered to host families?
We try to be as supportive as possible. We travel with the kids from Bilbao to Paris and on to Dulles and help make sure they arrive with their host families safely. We stay in the area for the entire trip, so we're available any time to help out with any issues, like homesickness or illness, that might come up. We give families basic instructions on what is expected of them while hosting one of our students, as well as a list of appropriate activities that they might want to consider. We also invite family members to come on day trips that we organize and the going away party.

We also offer a stipend to the families to cover the cost of having an extra person in the house.


This is a sponsored post brought to you by USA Connections.  PwcMoms has not participated in the program and makes no explicit or implied claims about your family's experience.

Week in Preview: April 7-13, 2014

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Published: 04/07/2014
Guys, I seriously suck at doing this many things.  I swear I used to be good at it!! I am so overwhelmed right now with kid activities, our looming move, house renovations at our new project home, end of year testing plans, and everyday life.  I would like to tip my hat to all the military moms that do this every year or two, the working moms who do all this AND work from 9-5, and all of you who just rock at life. 

In other news, I can see either a light at the end of the tunnel or an approaching train.  Either way, things ought to be ending soon ;)

Here's your week in preview, and I will try to get back on my game ASAP.

RSVP/Get Tickets For/Heads Up On
Ringling Brothers will be at the Patriot Center in Fairfax this week and next for their "Built to Amaze" show.  Performances are April 9-13 and April 17-20.  Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.

The New Dominion Choraliers will have a Pirate-themed concert on April 26th and 27th.  Order your tickets by clicking on the link for the date you'd like to attend.  Tickets are $15/adults, $5/kids, $10 military/seniors/students.

Join one or BOTH of our MOMS classes! (A 30-40 minute music class followed by a playdate for toddlers and moms).  Our weekday class meets Tuesday from 10am-12pm.  The weekend class meets on the SECOND SATURDAY of the month from 10am-12pm. If interested, please contact Brandi

Twisted Tee Scarves Tuesday, April 15, 7:00 p.m.Give new life to a used tee shirt when we turn them into infinity scarves. Try out a new style and update your spring wardrobe; recycling is always on trend! Please bring a used tee shirt. Grades 6–12; Please register on-line beginning April 6. (Bull Run Library)

Pick up tickets at Potomac Library for "The Magic is Real" with Joe Romano.  The show is April 19th at 11am, and tickets became available this weekend, so hurry!

Monday, April 7
Chick Fil A Signal Hill is having a recruitment day- this would be a great opportunity for your teenagers to go fill out job applications before the summer rush!! Two time slots are available, with the after-school option running from 3-7pm.

Head to Central Library to pick up free tickets for the Uncle Devin Show at Central Library on April 14th at 7pm. 

Tuesday, April 8
A new addition to our calendar this week is "Little Adventures" at the Chinn Center.  Each week from 11-12, kids can enjoy open gym while parents meet new friends, too! $3/child, follows PWCS schedule for closings.

7:05pm- it's Potomac National's Opening Day

Mom Linda wrote in to make sure you all know about the Board of County Supervisors Meeting tonight at 7:30pm at the McCoart Building in Woodbridge.  They'll be discussing some budgetary issues including the Montclair and Gainesville libraries being cut to save money.  My only note on this is that if you're showing up to speak for the libraries, come prepared with what you'd cut instead. 

Wednesday, April 9
Wednesdays are always serious storytime days for PWC Libraries.  Catch a 10:30 at Potomac, Dale City, or Chinn, or a 10:45 at Central. 

Tonight is opening night of the Circus at the Patriot Center in Fairfax.

Chinn Library will host an animal petting zoo on April 16th.  Tickets are free, but will go fast.  Pick them up at the library beginning today.

Thursday, April 10
Don't forget to check our Facebook page for a giveaway from Spirit & Life Montclair at 10:30am- they've got a family 4 pack of tickets to see "Heaven Is For Real" at AMC Potomac Mills on Easter Saturday!! 

It's an "on" week for Totally Terrific Thursday at Potomac Library. Crafts and activities. All children must be accompanied by an adult helper. Younger siblings are welcome.  Pick up a free pass beginning at 4:00 p.m. A pass is required for each child doing the craft.  Limit 24 crafters.  Ages 4 and up.

Friday, April 11
Do you have date night plans? Be sure to check out Vertical Rock, Kids in Motion, and Animated Child for Parents Night Out options! 

Saturday, April 12
Egg Hunt at Manassas Park Community Center begins at 10am.  Register Online no later than April 11th. $5/child.

There's an "Adaptive Egg Hunt" at 11:30am at Miracle Field in Manassas Park for youth and teens with mental or physical disabilities.   6 years to under 17 years are welcome, and there's a $5 fee. Register Online before you go, but by Friday the 11th at the latest.

From 12-3, celebrate with the National Museum of the Marine Corps as they host a "Celebration of the Military Child" Join us for crafts and activities that foster family team building.  Kid-friendly activities will include puppet shows, book readings, a LEGO display and face painting.  The Museum's mascot "Chesty the Bulldog" will also be on site for photos with kids and parents alike.  Open to all children and families.

Sunday, April 13
A little history! Join living historians as they interpret the life of Confederate soldiers from 3rd Regiment ANV. This event will allow visitors a unique glimpse into a camp setting where they can watch soldiers, conduct picket duty, drill, and learn the school of the soldier. 10am-4pm; $5 per person, children six and under free. Ben Lomond Historic Site, 10321 Sudley Manor Dr., Manassas, VA 703-367-7872.

Summer Intensives at Academy of Russian Ballet

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Published: 04/01/2014

Our friends at the Academy of Russian Ballet are offering several summer intensives, master classes, and maintenance classes for your dancer!  The Academy of Russian Ballet appears on our "Readers Recommend: Dance Studios for Children in Prince William County" list, as well. 

The Academy of Russian Ballet is a sponsor of  All opinions expressed are those of, however. 

Sponsored Post: Help Wanted @Natural Mom Home Day Care

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Published: 03/31/2014
Natural Mom Home Day Care is seeking an energetic, responsible and patient person to provide care for 3-4 children (ages 18 months and 3 years) on occasional sick days and vacation in our State Licensed Home Day Care. You’re welcome to bring your children with you (depending on the ages). Meals for you (and your children) will be provided, you’ll have to cook easy meals (often just heating as they are prepared ahead of time) and feel comfortable changing diapers.
Toys, books, projects and a basic schedule are here to assist you, and with few exceptions the days are fun and stress free. You would need to have transportation here and back, but you would not need to transport the children. Our hours are from 7am-6pm, and all children nap together for about two hours. Background checks are needed as well as CPR and first aid certification. If you aren’t already certified, I can help you get certified.
This would be a great job for a stay at home mom who is happy staying at home, but would like the opportunity to make extra money occasionally while still staying with her child.
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, I’d love to meet you!
You can contact me with a description of your experience and information about yourself at,  a resume isn't needed but your philosophy on child care and a lot of information about yourself would be great!
This is a sponsored post with content provided by Natural Mom Day Care.  It does not represent an endorsement by PwcMoms, or a guarantee of employment. 

Readers Recommend: Marriage Counselors

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Published: 03/30/2014
We had a reader request for a good marriage counselor in Prince William County.  Good work asking- marriage is hard, but it's worth the work!! Obviously I have not tried all of these, and you should always check your insurance benefits before booking.

*I have heard great things about Prince William Family Counseling. They have several offices around NOVA. God Bless those referees!
--I don't like PWFC either. I tried several times to get help from them with other things They are mean on the phone and told me to look else where.
--I would go against pwfc. I was in contact with them for my son and even the basic contact from the receptionist and one of their therapists was unprofessional and nasty.

*The preist at the catholic church always helps.

*Dr. Carol Walsh with Life In Balance.
*I agree with Dr. Walsh!!! 

*Pastoral Counseling. There used to be a counselor named Becky (can't remember her last name) and she was really good!

* Also in Tackett's Mill Janine Cosentino! She is absolutely wonderful (703) 490-3210

* I am a marriage therapist in Manassas, you can look me up at And I would actually advise against PW Fam counseling, unless you have a good name of someone specific there...

* Occoquan counseling center

* I have heard nothing but wonderful things from several sources about Dr. Paul Jenkins. He's based in the west, but works with people all over the country. 

* Therapy and Life Counseling on Hereford Rd (Dale City area) 

* My son uses phoenix family counseling. They have an office is Gainesville and woodbridge. I've been nothing but impressed.

* Richard A. David he's in Manassas and Old town Alexandria 703-541-6270.... He's awesome! 

All recommendations are freely offered by readers.  Your needs and preferences may vary.  Have a recommendation to add? Leave a comment!  

Upcoming Event: FREE Ice Skating

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Published: 03/27/2014

Readers Recommend: Developmental Pediatricians

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Published: 03/23/2014
We had a reader ask for recommendations for developmental pediatricians near or in Prince William County.  Our Moms never fail to have an answer!!  Developmental Pediatricians specialize in a wide variety of behavioral, cognitive, and physical difficulties, including but not limited to ADHD, Autism, Tourette's, Cerebral Palsy, and more.

*All Pediatric in Lake Ridge, Dr. Farber is supposed to be a developmental pediatrician (x4 comments and x4 likes)
*Children's in Fairfax (x4)
*Kluge Center at UVA (Charlottesville) 
*We love the entire pediatrics department at Georgetown and think they are worth the drive!
*For military moms at Ft. Belvoir- Dr. Shropshire. You have to love any doc that gives you his cell phone to call in between appointments for concerns, med refills, etc. A coworker raves about Dr. Bachelor also at Belvoir. We had seen 3 (others kept getting deployed) before Dr. Shropshire.
Have a doctor recommendation to add? Leave a comment, and be sure to include a link or contact email/phone number! 

2014/2015 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

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Published: 03/22/2014
If we ever get to move into our new house in Manassas, which I consider to be less and less likely every day, one of the things I'm most excited about is being closer to the Hylton Performing Arts Center.  My kids are big lovers of the arts- my middle son Logan is learning the violin and has become obsessed with classical and orchestra music, and all of them love live performances whenever we can make it to one.

I was so very fortunate to be invited to come out for the unveiling of the 2014-2015 Season, which has some really fun options for the whole family.

First, and most obvious, the center offers a "Hylton Family Series" each year.  I consider these to be targeted to a slightly younger crowd, PreK-2nd grade, perhaps? But you're the best judge for your child.  You can purchase individual performances for $10/adult or $5/child and you can also purchase a Hylton Family Series Subscription, which essentially gets you 3 performances at regular price and the fourth for $1. This year will feature:
ImaginOcean October 26th, 2014 at 2pm or 4pm.
Tony Award nominee John Tartaglia takes young audiences on a magical under-the-sea adventure in this one-of-a-kind live glow-in-the-dark musical! Fishy friends Tank, Bubbles, and Dorsel discover a treasure map, thus beginning their remarkable journey of underwater discovery. Jam-packed with music ranging from swing to R&B to big band, this charming story appeals to audiences of all ages and is a blast from the first big splash to the last wave goodbye! Celebrated puppeteer, actor, and singer John Tartaglia got his start working on Sesame Street as a teenager, and later starred in Broadway’s Avenue Q, Shrek the Musical, and Beauty and the Beast, and created and performed in Disney’s television hit Johnny and the Sprites. “A whimsical trip to the depths of the sea.” (Back Stage)
Peter Yarrow April 12, 2015 at 2pm.
Folk musician, songwriter, and children’s author Peter Yarrow returns to the Hylton Center for a fun and interactive musical performance that combines beloved folk tunes with inspiring lessons for children of all ages. This American music legend and Grammy Award winner is perhaps best known for his career with the beloved folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary; yet he is also a spirited activist who now uses his music to educate children about the effects of bullying. In this family-oriented concert, Yarrow performs “Don’t Laugh at Me” and other songs that encourage children to treat each other with compassion, kindness, and respect, as well as some of iconic folk songs from throughout his career, including “If I Had a Hammer,”  “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”
Pushcart Players Alice in Wonderland February 28, 2015 at 11am or 2pm.
Lewis Carroll’s zany and fantastical tale comes to life when this Emmy-nominated troupe returns to the Hylton Center with Alice in Wonderland. Filled with pure nonsense and madcap characters that everyone knows and loves – from the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter to the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts – this intriguing tale about a curious and imaginative young girl has enchanted readers for many generations. Pushcart Players now brings young Alice’s adventure to the stage in this delightful adaptation, complemented by whimsical music, vibrant costumes, and spectacular scenic elements. “A polished and knowing theater company and a felicitous event for children.” (The New York Times)
The Berenstain Bears LIVE! Family Matters the Musical on November 22, 2014 at 11am or 2pm. 
Come on down to Bear Country for this enchanting adaptation of Stan and Jan Berenstain’s beloved children’s series. Fresh from its sold-out off-Broadway run this heartwarming musical based on three of the Berenstain Bears most popular books. Brother Bear’s grades are slipping, Sister Bear still has a few things to learn about making new friends, and Papa Bear can’t stop eating junk food – but thankfully, they – and we – can always depend on Mama Bear and her loving patience to set things right. Filled with original songs, fun dancing, and important life lessons, this humorous and heartfelt theatrical experience gives parents the opportunity to share these treasured tales they enjoyed as children with their own young cubs! “Like honey for little kids!” (Mommy Poppins)

Also available for families, several performances throughout the year are marked as "Family Friendly", which also comes with a youth discount.  Half price tickets are available to these performances for students through grade 12.  High Schoolers may attend without an adult chaperone present, but must present their student ID.  Children under high school age must have a paying adult with their party.  These performances can still be pricey, but some of them look really neat.  For 2014/2015 the schedule includes:
The Senegal St. Joseph Gospel ChoirOctober 3, 2014 at 8:00 pm
The National Acrobats of the People's Republic of China: Cirque PekingOctober 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm
American Festival Pops Orchestra: Holiday Pops: Songs of the SeasonDecember 12, 2014 at 8:00 pm
Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra: An Evening with Doc SeverinsenFebruary 20, 2015 at 8:00 pm
Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy: Visions from Cape Breton and BeyondMarch 1, 2015 at 4:00 pm
Russian National Ballet Theatre: CinderellaMarch 27, 2015 at 8:00 pm
Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel: Popular Piano ClassicsApril 19, 2015 at 4:00 pm

If it was up to me, I'd definitely hit the National Acrobats of the People's Republic of China....and Cinderella. 
Also worth mentioning, the Hylton Center also does a fairly extensive lineup for the Christmas Season, which would be fun for your family or if you have out of town visitors, too!

Disclosure: The Hylton Performing Arts Center invited me to come to their 2014/2015 Season unveiling as a media guest.  I got a free cake pop from Confections.  It was awesome.  No other compensation was provided, although I'll take free tickets anytime if someone from the Hylton Center is reading this.  Just sayin. 

Easter Egg Hunts and Spring Festivals 2014

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Published: 03/18/2014
Hippity Hoppity Easter's on its way!  Here's a fun list of Egg Hunts and Spring Festivals in Prince William County from Woodbridge to Manassas to Gainesville!

April 5
Spring Egg-stravaganza at the Freedom Center
Bring your children to Freedom for our Spring fling. Meet the Freedom Bunny and participate in recreational activities, crafts, games, sports and more. Participants will have the opportunity to participate in a n egg hunt in our pool. Each registered child will receive a special goody bag for participating in the aquatic egg hunt. This is priced at $16.

Marshmallow Harvest and Egg Hunt at Great Country Farms
After a long winter, nothing chases away the chill like a visit to the farm! Join us for the first "crop" of the spring- marshmallow picking! Do marshmallow peeps grow on trees? Be sure to check it out and harvest a few to roast on the bonfire with Farmer Bob. You can even purchase a s’more kit to melt away that chocolate craving. The Easter Bunny also hid some eggs and we need you to help us find them! There will be multiple egg hunts each day this year with over 7,000 eggs filled with treats. Don’t forget to bring your camera so you can take a photo with the Easter Bunny. Come see our spring chicks and baby animals, check out the spring plantings in the greenhouse, take a hayride, and rejoice the spring! Admission Fee: $12 adult, $10 child, free for children 2 and under.  April 5th and 6th from 10am-5pm

April 6
Marshmallow Harvest and Egg Hunt at Great Country Farms
After a long winter, nothing chases away the chill like a visit to the farm! Join us for the first "crop" of the spring- marshmallow picking! Do marshmallow peeps grow on trees? Be sure to check it out and harvest a few to roast on the bonfire with Farmer Bob. You can even purchase a s’more kit to melt away that chocolate craving. The Easter Bunny also hid some eggs and we need you to help us find them! There will be multiple egg hunts each day this year with over 7,000 eggs filled with treats. Don’t forget to bring your camera so you can take a photo with the Easter Bunny. Come see our spring chicks and baby animals, check out the spring plantings in the greenhouse, take a hayride, and rejoice the spring! Admission Fee: $12 adult, $10 child, free for children 2 and under.  April 5th and 6th from 10am-5pm

April 12
Egg Hunt at Manassas Park Community Center
The MPCC will host egg hunts for various age groups all morning. $5/child.  Ages 0-1, 2-3, 4-5, and 6-7 will enjoy a fun hunt. Don't forget to bring a basket and be sure to register online by April 11th. You must arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of your child's egg hunt.   

Adaptive Egg Hunt at Manassas Park Community Center
This Easter Egg hunt is designed especially for youths and teens with mental and physical disabilities. The egg hunt will be adapted to meet their needs. Egg hunt will take place on the Miracle Field, behind the Manassas Park Commuity Center. $5 fee.  Ages 6-16, Unlimited openings- but must register online by April 11th.  Event is April 12th from 11:30am-12pm.

Beeping Egg Hunt at Gari Melcher's Home
Belmont's third annual Beeping Easter Egg Hunt for visually impaired or blind children and their families. Registration required at 540/654-1851. 1-3pm.

First Baptist Church of Woodbridge Spring Festival
Join FBCW which is planning 15,000 eggs, pony rides, crafts, snacks, stories and more from 11am-3pm. 

Learn to Make Ukranian Keepsake Eggs at Center for the Arts
You will finish between 1 and 2 eggs during class.  Learn the process of layering beeswax and dye to create intricate egg designs.  This is a delicate process but anyone can do it! Come with the family or a friend! Ages 7 and Up.  $25/person includes all supplies.  Under 13 must be accompanied by an adult. or call 703-330-2787

April 19
Rippon Lodge Egg Hunt
11 a.m.-4 p.m.; $5 per child, adults and children 2 and under free.

Eggs have been hidden all over Rippon Lodge and we need your help to find them.  Egg Hunts will be at 11:30, 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30.  Hunts will be separated by age groups.  Enjoy fun kid friendly games and crafts all day long.  Bring a picnic and make a day of it.  House tours available.  Bring your own basket for egg collecting.  All other activities will be ongoing throughout the day. Please bring exact change or to speed entrance process.  VISA and MC accepted. 

Rippon Lodge Historic Site 15520 Blackburn Road, Woodbridge, VA 22192, 703-499-9812.
LRPRA Eggstravaganza
Meet the Easter Bunny and hunt for eggs at the Eggstravaganza.  All children up to age 10 are eligible; parents must pre-register children by Wednesday, April 16, in order to participate.  The cost is $3 for LRPRA members and $5 for non-members.  Don't forget your cameras and Easter baskets.  Call the Recreation Department at 703-491-2154 for more details.  Begins at 9am SHARP.  Do not be late or you'll miss all the eggs!! 

Egg Hunt at Nokesville Church of the Brethren 
Easter Egg Hunt: April 19, 2 PM - 3:30 PM
Rain or Shine for Kids through 5th grade 

Egg Hunt at St. Thomas UMC in Manassas
8899 Sudley Road, Manassas VA 20110
Come one, come all children to our Annual Easter Egg Hunt, Saturday, April 19th 10:30-11:00 am. We will hear a story, make an Easter craft, and HUNT for candy-filled Eggs.

April 20
Spirit and Life Church Easter and Egg Hunt
Easter Service and a FREE Easter Egg Hunt for young children on 4/20 at 10AM at Forest Park High School!

Egg Hunt at St. Thomas UMC in Haymarket
Gravely Elementary School, 4670 Waverly Farm Drive, Haymarket, VA 20169
The children will have an egg hunt directly after the worship service Gravely Elementary School, 4670 Waverly Farm Drive, Haymarket, VA 20169. We would love it if you could  join us for breakfast at 9 am, or just come for worship at 10 am with the egg hunt following the service at 11:15.

April 26
Springfest Fairfax at the Workhouse Arts Center
Springfest Fairfax is an Earth Day and Arbor Day celebration with eco-friendly exhibitors, food, games, pony-rides, a petting zoo, live entertainment, educational workshops, plant sales, and more. 10am-4pm.

Week in Preview: January 20th-January 26th 2014

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Published: 01/20/2014
Happy Monday!!

It's beginning to look a lot like Preschool Registration time!! If you'd like to add to our updated 2014 "Readers Recommend" preschool list, please email me ASAP as this list will be going live on Thursday! (I can still add after that, but I'd like to pretend I'm done!)

If you're new to the site, Week in Preview is where I mention just a few of the events from our Prince William County kid friendly calendar so you can plan around them! There are tons more ideas on our calendar- just click the "calendar" link above (unless you're reading this on our app- in which case, click "calendar" at the bottom!)

Have a fantastic week!

RSVP/Pre-Register For:
Beginning with Books is at Chinn Library NEXT week (January 27th) and it's open to children 12-36 months with a caregiver.  No younger/older siblings welcome.  The library is closed on Monday in observation of MLK Day, so register Tuesday!

On Friday, join the Freedom Center for "Winter Wonderland" Join us for a story and winter crafts. Kids will get to "ice skate" and play with "snowball" without having to bundle up or step foot into the snow... but you'll have to be here to find out how! This event is priced at $10.

Winter Outdoor Scavenger Hunt  January 25 11:00 a.m.
$5/person or $15/family of 4 Discover the natural wonders of LSP as you work with your group to piece together scavenger list clues. Event will take place at the Indian Pipe Pavilion with prizes and light refreshments to follow. Must pre-register with Activity #113900.

2-4pm on Saturday at JoAnn's, your child can make a Valentine's Cookie project. $35 Sat Jan 25 2-4pm or Sat Feb 8 10a-12p Call 703-490-0613 to register

Monday (PWCS Holiday- MLK Day)
From 11am-1pm, join us for lunch at Mateo's in Montclair!! Children's programs at The Animated Child are now full, unfortunately, but we still have space for mommas!! Join us for some fun, some giveaways, and some specials on food and drinks! Hope to see you there!

Deja Brew in Haymarket has story time each week- Come in and relax and enjoy some time off wile CAT IN THE HAT reads to your little ones starting at 10am every TUESDAY

Join HOPE from 7-8pm.  This group is open to all who have experienced a loss during pregnancy, infant loss or SIDS death, whether recently or in the past, including those who have felt such a loss through someone close to them.

When you head to Chinn Library, be sure to make a Valentine for a hospitalized Veteran.  This free program will run until February.

Head over to the Harris Pavilion in Manassas for their Wednesday night FREE skating! FREE SKATE in JANUARY only - Wednesday, 6:00 - 9:00 pm $3.00 skate rental fee ONLY (or no fee if you have your own skates)

Foxy Mommy Bootcamp has class for you and fun for your little one. Experience the energy of a group class, but the individual attention of personal or small group training.  All levels welcome! Bring the kids and have them hang out with you, with our babysitter, or enroll them in one of the great classes at Kids Choice Sports Center. First class is free.

Each Thursday from 11-12, bring the kids to Deja Brew in Haymarket for singing. Come in and bring the kids. We will be having a singalong and all kinds of fun for you and the little ones. 

Head south to KD'z Kidz World in Stafford for their Special Needs night- KD'z Kidz World invites all families with Special Needs Children to play at KD'z Kidz World. Price is only $7 per child. Parents are free and we will be closed to the public during this time. 6-8pm

Tonight would be a fantastic night to order your Silver Sparkles tickets :) This fantastic event is $15 for your whole family, until February 1 when the price increases!! 

Join a Colonial Birthday at Leesylvania State Park! Happy Birthday "Light Horse Harry" Lee!  Come see how you would celebrate a Colonial Birthday.  Start off with a lecture about "Light Horse Harry" Lee followed by cake at noon with music and dancing, then at 2:00 p.m. marching/drilling down to his monument and laying a wreath.  Performers will be on-hand to showcase life during colonial times with historic dress, displays and traditions.

Christ Chapel Academy has an open house from 1-3pm

From 7:30-10, check out Middle School Night at Chinn Rec- DJ/Music, wallyball, dodgeball, basketball, lounge area.  7:30-10pm $5, PWCS Student ID required. Grades 6-8 ONLY. 

1-3pm open house at Linton Hall Preschool-Grade 8 Open House Learn about how we "Grow Goodness" together at Little Sprouts!

2-3pm, Free Concert: Bull Run Grass Sunday, January 26, 2:00 p.m. Warm up your winter at Central Community Library by joining us for our 26th Annual Winter Concert, featuring the music of Smokey Winstead and the Bull Run Grass. Bluegrass fans of all ages are encouraged to attend. Free

Week in Preview January 6, 2014- January 12, 2014

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Published: 01/06/2014
I feel like this is the first week that "normal" life is really back.  Our Christmas decorations are put away, our tree made a lovely bonfire to roast marshmallows and make tin foil meals in the snow, and now, with classes and activities back on a normal schedule, life goes on!

I want to issue a quick reminder that while I try to tell you guys as soon as I hear a cancellation of an event or activity on our calendar, sometimes businesses don't remember to let me know, and/or don't update their Facebook pages.  If there's inclement weather, please call first, and, ultimately, use your best judgement.  Getting out of the house to burn energy isn't worth getting in a car accident if the roads are bad!

So, on with the show!

RSVP/Pre-Register For
We'll be having our next reader meetup on Monday, January 20th from 11am-1pm.  Mateo's Santa Fe Cafe in Montclair will be hosting us along with Animated Child.  The full lunch menu will be available, or come and enjoy $5 appetizers and $3 Sangria.  Since this is a holiday (MLK Day) for many of you, if you'd like to bring your hubby/significant other along, you're more than welcome.  If you need childcare to join us, Animated Child is offering an amazing deal.  Their Parents Night Out programs are typically $35/child, but on this day, they'll be just $10.  Ages 3-12, potty trained only, please, and be sure to feed your child an early lunch or big snack before they come so that we don't have to worry about food allergies at the center. 
EMAIL ME to reserve your spot, and please indicate whether you're just coming for lunch or require childcare.
Ages 3-5 Art and Open Exploration
Ages 5-8 Science Activity and Open Exploration
Ages 8-12 Mini Minecraft Camp

Book Babies at Potomac Library
Tuesday, January 21, 10:30 a.m.
Babies need books, too! Join us for stories, songs and play. Limited to 10 infants and their care-givers. Ages 6–24 months Register online, in person or by phone beginning December 3

Snow and Story at Prince William Ice Arena will be held this week on January 8th.  Reserve your spot by emailing or call 703-730-8423.  $7/child includes a safe and fun time playing on the ice with snow and toys, followed by cookies, hot chocolate, and a story.

Homework: A Parent's Survival Guide
Monday, January 13, 7:00 p.m.
A pratical workshop offering parents the advice they need to tackle common homework problems. Representatives from Huntington Learning Center will discuss common homework problems and offer suggestions on how to overcome some obstacles. Registration online, by phone, or in person, is not required but recommended beginning Monday, December 30.

Highlights this Week:
In January, Wednesday nights from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. are free. Hours vary, check for details.

Thursday from 6-8pm
Birth Matters of Prince William County presents Preparing for Postpartum
Please join us for our monthly Birth Matters meeting: Preparing for Postpartum.  We will have a guest speaker Elizabeth Wilkins-Mckee, LCSW.  Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders are becoming more and more prevalent in our society. The stresses of a new mother or even a second, third, etc time mother are real and it's imperative that we prepare for this period with patience, love and nurturing.  Come out and talk about how you managed your postpartum period, problems you had or are having and get some expert advice on how to prepare yourself for this delicate and precious time.  As always, please bring a dish to share for our potluck style meeting.
Hope to see you there!

There is a great deal on the calendar this Saturday, but I do hope you'll stop by Edgemoor Art Studio's open house.  Mrs. Johnsen will have a collaborative sculpture, spin art, and watercolors out for children to enjoy while parents learn more about her award-winning art programs and very popular summer camps.  I'll drop by as well, and will be giving away a FREE week of summer camp to a lucky family who stops by! Edgemoor is located across from Tackett's Mill- 12616 Lake Ridge Drive Woodbridge VA near Brite Stars Pediatric Dentistry.  The open house will run from 12:30-5pm.  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.  

Santa at the Manassas Park Community Center 2013

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Published: 12/16/2013
Join the Manassas Park Community Center for "Santa Paws" with your pets on 12/21/2013 from 11:30-12:30, and get your pets' pictures with Santa!  $5/dog.  No pets? Bring your kiddos to Breakfast with Santa, also on 12/21 from 9-11am, $5/child. 

Breakfast With Santa at PW Ice 2013

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Published: 12/14/2013
Breakfast with Santa at Prince William Ice Center will be Saturday December 21, 2013 from 10:30-12.  Be sure to register ahead of time, either online or in person!

Hylton Planetarium

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Published: 12/13/2013
While the Hylton Planetarium isn't my typical Friday non-profit/charity, they do only operate based on community involvement and attendance.  New shows run between $10,000 and $20,000 a pop, and that money comes from groups coming in.  We had an awesome time, so I'm sharing today :) If you have a child who attends PWCS, they'll benefit from the awesome planetarium at some point, too! 

We had the chance to take a field trip to the Irene V.Hylton Planetarium at Hylton High School this past week, and it was so much fun!

As part of our memory work curriculum, we are learning astronomy facts this year.  My kids have memorized the parts of the sun, the planets, types of stars, phases of the moon, types of other objects in our solar system, and the names of US space missions.  Our group decided to do the Planetarium as our culminating trip, although I know another group did it as their introduction. 

The planetarium offers several different programs that homeschool groups, moms groups, retirement communities, girl scout/boy scout troops, or just a bunch of people who are super into astronomy can choose from.  We selected a program for grades 3-7 called “Earth, Moon, Sun”, which could have probably included a little more technical information for our group of kids, but they absolutely loved everything about it, especially the coyote “scientist” who kept blundering things up.  They spent a lot of time laughing and definitely liked the presentation of the material in such a 360 format.  I enjoyed the fact that they wove in some mythology and talked about how much our understanding has changed over the years.  I thought it was very well done.

Other programs are available for various age groups.  When you email the director, Anthony Kilgore, to set up your program, he can help you select for your group. 

As for details, you’ll need a minimum of 30 people, and the facility can accommodate a maximum of 60.  Shows are $10 per person, and for groups they ask that you give one cash payment or write one check.

The show was really fun.  The program isn’t anything like I remember- when I was little and you went to the planetarium, there was a giant “ball” that projected stars onto the ceiling and then the attendant would point things out with a red laser pointer.  Now, the presentations are more like movies projected on a dome, but they’re still very cool and the kids like the presentation of the material in such a fun format.

At the end of our program, the director Mr. Kilgore, who is fun and engaging with students, took our extra time to show us one song from his current holiday laser program which was amazing.  First, he explained to us that there are only three lasers in the planetarium, a red, a green, and a blue.  However, using a complex series of mirrors, he’s able to turn those three lasers into an incredible show of light coordinated to music.  The kids were in absolute awe, and I thought they  might absolutely lose their minds when at the end of the song it started “snowing” in the planetarium. 

If you’d like to catch a laser show, there are public performances each week during December:
Friday, December 6th/13th/20th 2013
6:00pm - Laser Holidays
7:30pm - Star of Bethlehem
9:00pm - Laser Holidays

You can purchase tickets at the planetarium Monday-Friday 7:30am-4pm, or in person if there are seats left the night of the show.  Bring $10 per person, exact change, and be sure to arrive 10 minutes prior to showtime and use the restroom before you go in! Once the doors lock, you can’t get in, although you can leave- but that means if you walk out to use the restroom, you’re not going to see the rest of the show, so prepare accordingly!

We really enjoyed our field trip, and it would be an awesome way to earn an astronomy badge, or to enjoy a fun trip for any group (did I mention that we took a group of kids to the planetarium for my oldest son’s 7thbirthday? We did.  And we schlepped all the way to the David Brown Planetarium in Arlington(!) and it wasn’t nearly as nice as Hylton’s, which is right in our backyard.  I don’t remember what made us have to go to Brown, I think Hylton was already booked the night we needed to do his birthday party, but just for comparison’s sake, Hylton has a nicer interior and equipment, as far as I can tell!

For more information about the Hylton Planetarium, or to book your group or event, please contact Director Anthony Kilgore, via email or at 703-580-4000. 

Someone pointed out that I forgot my funny disclaimer!! My bad!!  I was not compensated or remunerated in any way for this post.  I didn't snag a discount for being awesome, either, although that's never happened so I'm not sure why it would start now.  All opinions are my own based on our experience. Your experiences may vary, and PwcMoms is not responsible for your kids trying to turn your basement into a laser show, or the crick in your neck from looking up at the show for an hour.  Try stretching first.

Week in Preview: December 2-December 8, 2013

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Published: 12/02/2013
I said "Brrr" it's cold in here, there must be some Toros in the atmosphere...



"Bring it On" reference aside, it is COLD.  Bitter, nasty cold.  I'm so not okay with that.  I like Virginia winter- the kind where it's a frigid 55 in mid-January.  I do not like the kind where it's 34 on Thanksgiving Day. 

I'm moving to Florida.

If you're staying here, then here are a few ideas for fun events and activities this week.

Pre-Register or RSVP for:
Wednesday, Prince William Ice Center will host one of their very popular "Snow and Story" drop in dates.  Our popular Snow and Story Hour is designed to provide toddler and pre-school age children with a safe and fun time playing on our ice, with snow and a variety of toys.  The on-ice session is followed by cookies, hot chocolate and a story. The cost is $7 per child.  Email to reserve you spot.  Space is limited.

Wonders of the Holidays (Ages 3-5) Code 310191
Tis the season…We will celebrate the season through reading books that explore the magic of the holidays.  $15 SBDCRC December 5th, 9:45am

Pancakes with warm syrup & sausages, orange juice, coffee, hot chocolate, and apple cider.
            Adults – 3 large pancakes and 3 sausages with a drink
                Children – 2 large pancake and 2 sausages with a drink
                *Space is limited to 80 for each seating
Saturday Nov. 30th 10am,  Sunday Dec. 1st 10am, Saturday Dec. 7th 10am, Sunday Dec. 8th 10am, Saturday Dec. 14th 10am, & Sunday Dec.15th 10am
Register online@

Join us at the Workhouse Arts Center, 9601 Ox Road, Lorton, VA for an afternoon of adventure with Vianlix Mestey's original story, "In Santa, We Believe", live onstage!
Just when you thought everything was going great, Santa's workshop grinds to a halt! Will Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves do what it takes to make sure Christmas Day happens? Come find out, as this tune-filled story unfolds.
Show dates: Saturdays, November 30-December 28
Show Times: 1pm (55 minute show, with one intermission)
Tickets: $12 adults; $8 children under 12 years old
*Limited seating, advance ticket reservations are recommended for this event. Reserved tickets may be collected at Will Call beginning 30 minutes prior to event, doors open for seating 15 minutes prior. Produced by Mestey Films Productions, this is a live-theatre performance for children and families.

Monday, December 2nd
Chinn Library will have your whole family covered tonight.  Younger children can enjoy "bedtime story hour" at 7:15, and if you have middle or high schoolers, plan to arrive early at 7pm so they can take part in a free holiday craft program.

Tuesday, December 3rd
At 10:30, Drumming with Dishes: Holiday Edition will play at the Lorton Workhouse.  Join us at the Workhouse Arts Center, 9601 Ox Road, Lorton, VA for the musical play Drumming with Dishes: Holiday Edition.What happens when you invite someone very different from you to come over to play? Just such an adventure awaits a toddler when she introduces her shy imaginary friend to a very special kitchen, where instead of food, they'll cook up beautiful music! This gentle, playful adventure celebrates friendship and turning the ordinary into the extraordinary as you never know just what will become a musical instrument next. Purchase tickets here.

In DC, but could be fun, the National Building Museum will host a special story time reading "The Gingerbread Baby" by Jan Brett. Book of the Month: Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
Readings at 10:30 and 11:30 am. Free with admission to Building Zone. Recommended ages 3-5.

Wednesday, December 4th
From 10am-12pm, you can take your kiddos and "Stroll and Roll" in Stafford.  STROLL & ROLL is back at The Cavalier! Stroll & Roll is a session aimed at kids ages 1-5. They can practice skating, go wild in the Play Zone or bring their favorite ride on toy and whiz around on our huge floor. Stroll & Roll is held every Wednesday from 10:00a-12:00p starting September 4th. Admission is only $3 per child and moms & dads are FREE! Mommy & Me and MOPS groups are welcome! Bring a friend and spread the word!

Bull Run Festival of Lights is open nightly starting at 5:30 on weekdays.  We've had better luck when we go early in the month- you can wait on line to get IN for upwards of an hour closer to Christmas. Just sayin :)

Thursday, December 5th
Salt Dough Ornament Making (December 5 at 7pm)
Manassas Park Community Center will supply the materials and know-how, you just come create.  $3/pp fee covers everything you'll need. 

Friday, December 6th
Merry Old Town- Make time to enjoy old-fashioned family fun at the "Merry Old Town" celebration in Old Town Manassas! The holiday fun begins at 5:30p.m. with holiday music and at 6:00p.m.when Santa arrives at the Manassas Depot via VRE train. The Annual Christmas Tree Lighting will be at 6:30 at the Manassas Museum.  Take a free hayride around Old Town and go for a skate at the Harris Pavilion ice rink. Of course, Santa will hear the Christmas wishes of all the children at the Harris Pavilion gazebo.

Hylton Planetarium will offer three shows.  Your best chance for tickets is to get them in advance at the box office at the high school, M-F 7:30am-4pm.  $10pp bring exact change.
Friday, December 6th, 2013
6:00pm - Laser Holidays
7:30pm - Star of Bethlehem
9:00pm - Laser Holidays

Saturday, December 7th
Saturday, December 7, 2013, 10 a.m.
Old Town Manassas. See amazing floats, local celebrities, live performances, marching bands, equestrians, animated characters, giant balloons, and Santa at the Manassas Christmas Parade. The parade route begins at Mathis Avenue and concludes at the intersection of Center Street and Grant Avenue. Enjoy enchanted Christmas stories at the Train Depot from 2-5 p.m.

Join us at Good Shepherd UMC in Dale City for "Merry Larry" Join us for this free fun movie event to view the new Veggie Tale Christmas movie called "Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas" featuring Si Robertson "Uncle Si" from Duck Dynasty as "Silas" the know it will be fun for all ages!  Everyone is welcome. 10am. 

5-6pm, Town of Dumfries Tree Lighting Join the Town of Dumfries for our Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Event!  Please stop by Town Hall, between 11/20-12/6, and pick up an ornament, to decorate, and place on the Town Tree! Visit for details!

Sunday, December 8th
Free carraige rides will leave from the Train Depot and take you around Old Town Manassas from 1 pm-4 pm. There is no admission charge for this event.

Catch a presentation of the Nutcracker at Faquier HS at 4pm or Osbourn HS at 3pm. 

Featured Organization Friday: Project Hope Basket Bridgade

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Published: 11/22/2013
Our fabulous sponsors at the Marketplace at Madison Crescent have a drop-off site for Project Hope Basket Brigade this season.  Check out the details below!

Disclaimer: While the Marketplace at Madison Crescent is a paying sponsor of, we always happily share charity events for our community free of charge.

Week in Preview: November 18 to November 24, 2013

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Published: 11/18/2013
I'm not entirely sure how we got so gosh darn close to Thanksgiving so quickly!! Wasn't is JUST Halloween?

Goodness, time flies.  Part of that, for me, is probably that we've had a series of guests, a little snafu with insurance, a birthday party to plan, and my never-ending string of doctor's visits (ugh).  However, I doubt I'm the only one that feels like I'm on the holiday bullet train!

Hopefully you'll have some time this week to enjoy a few fun events with your kids! Don't forget that we've already got our Christmas/Winter Fun 2013 guide up! We'll continue adding to it as businesses and organizations send us their events.  Don't forget that it's FREE to be on our guide and calendar!!

As always, these are just a few of the events you'll find on our calendar! Check out the "calendar" link above for more ideas and details!! Also, while you're there, use the "propose an event" feature to add your business, church, organization, PTA/PTO events!! It's free and easy! 

Pre-Register/RSVP/Buy Tickets For:
Look What I Made! (Ages 3-5) Code 310121
Class participants will be able to make their own playdough and ooblek. $15, register in advance, November 21 9:45am Dale City Rec Center

December 12th, 7-8pm at Bull Run Library, your child can make a sugar cone tree, but registration, in person or by phone, is required. 

Monday, November 18
Someone just asked me about sign language classes, and while I'm not aware of ongoing ones, today at 1pm, you can check out "Signing Storytime" at Chinn Library. This is a free, drop-in program for children ages two and up and their caregiver. No tickets or registration is required.

There will be a free parenting class in Dumfries from 7-9pm.  Come out and get some fresh ideas and encouragement.  Email Dumfries Cares for more information

Tuesday, November 19
$2 Tuesday is one of my favorite days of the week :) University Mall Theatres isn't actually in Prince William County, but saving $10 a ticket (not to mention $16 on popcorn!) is worth a drive to Fairfax for me!! This week, they're showing Planes, Despicable Me 2, and Percy Jackson 2.  My kids laughed SO HARD during Despicable Me 2 that I can't even describe it.  I thought they were going to be sick.  If you haven't seen it, we give it two thumbs up!

Need a way to keep your kids active as the weather cools down? Soaring Spirit Yoga Studio is offering Family Yoga on Tuesday evenings at 5pm.  Drop in, or purchase a punch pass for savings.

Wednesday, November 20
PWC Moms sponsor Animated Child will hold an open house for their French Immersion Preschool Program! I think this could be especially pertinent for children whose base school offers the IB Early Years program or an Elementary World Languages Program, such as Lake Ridge Elementary.  10am-11am.

The Harris Pavilion in Manassas offers outdoor ice skating at a rate of $7 per adult and $6 per child.  Skate rentals are available for an additional $6. Hours vary, check for details.

Thursday, November 21
Kidgits club meets the 3rd Thursday of every month at 10am for different fun activities.  It's free for everyone to attend, or, for $5 per child per year, you can get a Kidgits membership and enjoy special perks, like a goodie at each meeting or a spin on the prize wheel every time you shop! Plus a t-shirt and something special for your birthday.

At 10:45, check out Muncha Buncha a weekly storytime for children ages 2-6, accompanied by an adult. If your child wishes to do the craft, please pick up a craft stick at the information desk before the program. Craft sticks are limited to the first 24 children.  Nov 21 - Harvest Feasts.

Chinn Library has their monthly craft night at 7pm. Discover your inner-animal spirit in true Native American fashion and then wear it proudly. This is a free, drop-in family program. One craft per child.

Friday, November 22
Bull Run Festival of Lights opens this week! Festival of Lights: November 20, 2013 - January 5, 2014. Hours: Monday - Thursday & Sunday: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays & holidays: 5:30 to 10 p.m.  You can read our review here, with my tips on how to go on the cheap (PS- watch deal sites, too!).

Saturday, November 23
From 1-2pm, your child can join the Chinn Book Club! Join our monthly book club in which children read a book appropriate for their age. A free, drop-in program. No tickets or registration is necessary. Parent attendance & support is strongly encouraged.

The Cashore Marionettes will be at Hylton Performing Arts Center at 4pm (2pm is sold out) presenting "Simple Gifts". Adults: $15.00 Children: $5.00

Sunday, November 24
Bring your reluctant reader to PAL (People Animals Love) provides early readers and kids who just love to read the opportunity to read to a registered therapy dog in a relaxed atmosphere. Bring your own book or use one of ours. Ages 6-10, Chinn Library, 1-2pm

At 4pm The Center for the Arts’ Pied Piper Theatre opens its 2013-2014 season in November with a rollicking musical production of Willy Wonka, Jr.  Bring the entire family and everyone will go home singing the “Oompa Loompa” song and “Candy Man.”

Celebrate Thanksgiving early (as opposed to Christmas, which I noticed was sneaking out in October) Sunday, November 24th, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Epiphany Lutheran Church, and Lutheran Church of the Covenant will join together in a Service of Thanksgiving and Holy Communion hosted by Epiphany. The service will begin at 6:30pm. A dessert reception will follow the service.

Giveaway: Northern Virginia Youth Ballet Presents "The Nutcracker"

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Published: 11/13/2013
I cannot believe we're entering Nutcracker season already!! The last year has been somewhat of a blur for me with being sick, and I am really excited to fully enjoy the holiday season with my family!! Bring on the ballet, the ice sculptures, the light shows, I want to do it all and over-exhuast myself!!  

We've actually never taken our children to see the Nutcracker live, and I am thinking this is the year.  Staying local so that you don't add an hour of driving and finding parking is always a great idea as far as I'm concerned, and the Northern Virginia Youth Ballet will be presenting their Nutcracker in Manassas!!

The Northern Virginia Youth Ballet is proud to present it's 7th annual production of "The Nutcracker"!
Saturday, December 7th at 5pm
Sunday, December 8th at 3pm
Osbourn Park HS
8909 Euclid Avenue, Manassas, VA
This year's production features Guest Artists Melissa Zoebisch & Alexandru Glusacov as Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier as well as Dmitri Vistoropskiy as The Nutcracker
Tickets are $20.00 for adults and $15.00 for seniors and children (All tickets $5.00 more at the door). You may order online or by calling 703-368-2268

Obviously, since you can save $5/ticket by ordering online- you'll want to get your tickets in advance!! However, if you'd like to win a family four pack of tickets, we've got them for you, thanks to Northern Virginia Youth Ballet/Academy of Russian Ballet!! Enter using the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize is provided by The Northern Virginia Youth Ballet/Academy of Russian Ballet.  PwcMoms is not responsible for cavities due to Sugar Plums, or your child demanding ballet lessons so she can be Clara.  By entering, you agree to our rules, which you can read here.  As always, our giveaways are not affiliated with Apple/iTunes/Google/Google Play/Android/Facebook or anybody else using a shovel to pick up their cash money.  

Featured Organization Friday: Help the PWSPCA Food Pantry!

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Published: 11/08/2013

In June 2009, the Prince William SPCA opened its community pet food pantry. Since then local families have relied on the service to help feed their pets. The pantry receives no subsidy from state, city, federal or county agencies and relies entirely on the public to stock its shelves. The program is not meant to be a long-term solution for feeding any family’s pet, but rather a helping hand when times are tough. We hope that everyone who uses this program will give back to it when their circumstances change. Needy families in Manassas, Manassas Park and Prince William County may visit the pantry anytime during regular hours.  Food, treats, litter and other supplies are available while supplies last.  This expanded policy will run through two weeks after the shutdown has ended.  The Pet Food Pantry is located in the front lobby of the Manassas City Animal Adoption Center.  More information on the Prince William SPCA:

How to Start a Pet Food Collection

Neighborhoods, churches, schools and workplaces are great resources for pet food collection drives. They can be held any time of year and coordinated by anyone. Parents, teachers or scout leaders should note that collecting donations for the pantry is a fantastic way to get children and teens involved with helping animals, especially during the summer months or on school vacations.

What to Donate

The pantry is currently only accepting unopened food items. We cannot accept opened bags or food not in its original, sealed container. Items needed: any wet or dry pet food for puppies, dogs, kittens and cats; bird, rabbit, and other small animal food. We prefer cans, pouches and smaller bags of food so more families can benefit from the donations. However, we will accept large bags. Also accepted based on space and as long as they are new and unused: toys, beds, litter and other pet supplies. Donations of gift cards from Wal-Mart, Target, Wegmans, and other stores where pet food is sold may be mailed directly to the Prince William SPCA at PO Box 6631, Woodbridge, VA 22195.

Hours of Operation:

Monday, Tuesday and Friday: 10:00am – 1:00pm AND 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Wednesday: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am – 1:00pm
Sunday, Thursday and Holidays: Closed

Directions For When You Collect Your Pet Food

Located in the front Lobby of the Manassas City Animal Adoption Center, 10039 Dean Dr. in Manassas, Va. 20110. From Route 28 (Nokesville Road) turn eastbound onto Wellington Road. Make the first right onto Dean Drive. They are the second business on the right.

Volunteering With Your Kids

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Published: 11/06/2013

I get a lot of requests for volunteer opportunities for kids/with kids, and that makes my heart so happy.  You guys are awesome.

Shout out to Volunteer Prince William for helping me with this list!! Please go like their facebook page (that's what the link is to) for more updates on volunteer opportunities in the county!!

From VPW:
 Our good friends at Habitat for Humanity are always looking for volunteers to make or buy lunch for their volunteers. Lunch donors have made bagged lunches, grilled hot dogs on site, brought deli trays, donated money, and even had pizza delivered! Please contact Tiffanie at or 703-369-6708.

New Creatures in Christ Ministries Food Pantry in Woodbridge needs volunteers to help Tuesday evenings 5-7pm and Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10am-2pm. Teen volunteers are very welcome. Please call Josephine at (703) 409-3022 for more info.

Habitat for Humanity has the perfect job for youth clubs! They need volunteers to hang door hangers around the community to educate us all on their super programs. It’s a fun job, gets us out in the fresh air and all for great cause. Please call Tiffanie at (703) 369-6708.

 Keep Prince William Beautiful is gearing up for the Fall Cleanup Campaign.  Volunteers from communities and HOA’s just need to pick your day and Keep Prince William Beautiful will provide all the supplies for the day including grabbers, vests, gloves, trash bags and landfill vouchers. All you need is the manpower. Please call Anna at (571) 285-3772 to schedule your event.

The Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to ring the bell at various stores throughout the community. Come as a single volunteer for a 2 hour shift or bring your friends and colleagues. The Red Kettle program runs from November 9th – December 24th. Please call Catie at (571) 580-8995 to learn more.

Hey scouts and teens- ACTS would love your help in securing recycled grocery bags for their food pantry. Look around your school or neighborhood to collect this valuable little item so families in need have proper bags to take their groceries home. You can drop them off at the ACTS Pantry or call Robin at (703) 441-8606 ext. 213 for more info

Other Great Resources:
Check out the PWSPCA- we'll have a Featured Organization Friday on them this week, and they also run a Pet Food Pantry you can collect items for.  It's also a great place to take any unopened items (either because Fido didn't like that flavor or because Fluffy passed away and you just purchased a new bag of food) to get them off your shelves. 

SERVE of Manassas has various opportunities available:

ACTS of Prince William County can frequently take family groups, or can help you set up a project for your youth or scout group!! Email 

Relay for Life isn't until the Spring, but you can get involved and start fundraising and prepping your group now!! It's an overnight event, but groups set up tents and sleeping bags, so when younger (or older) members get tired, they can snag a nap! 

Seasonal Resources:

Send out cards for those serving overseas.  Cards must be in by December 6th, 2013, so hop on it!! Mail your cards to:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456 Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Project Untrim a Tree helps to provide a happy holiday for children who might not otherwise receive gifts.  UTAT is run by Volunteer Prince William.  Take your kids out shopping with you to pick out gifts for another child!! Fill out a donor form here. 

You can also participate in a similar program through the Salvation Army called "Angel Tree".  You can find the trees with requests in Potomac Mills Mall November 22-December 11 or in Manassas Mall during the same dates. 

For either program, please be sure you return the gift you select so that no child is forgotten!! 

Finally, don't forget our local nursing homes/assisted living facilities!! They love little visitors!

Are we missing your favorite? Leave a comment with details on where you like to volunteer!! 

Week in Preview: November 4-10, 2013

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Published: 11/04/2013
Happy Monday!! Here are a few of our picks for this week.  Some of you have emailed me to ask how I choose what goes on this list.  Here's how it works:
1) Sometime between 10:30pm on Sunday and 1am on Monday I think to myself "Shoot, I forgot that stupid Week in Preview Post.  Again.  Why do I blog, I'm not even good at it."
2) Sometime between 10:45pm on Sunday and 3am on Monday, I actually pull up my calendar
3) I pick a few things that sound different or interesting
4) I look ahead a few weeks for things that require tickets or RSVPs or prepayment
5) I tell the post to publish at 8:30am. You guys think I'm wicked organized.  It's all smoke and mirrors.

There's no conspiracy or anything like that.  If paying advertisers have events they want featured, they can have separate posts, so I don't over-stress putting them on this post, although occasionally, I do.  The library makes frequent appearances, and I can promise you that they haven't given me a cent.

In fact, I believe my last fine was like $50, so I'm actually paying them.

So....hope that clears things up.

Off we go.

RSVP or Pick Up Tickets For:
Mondays at the Animated Child in Montclair, Mommy Groups of 15 or more children pay an entrance fee of only $4 for open play when your group schedules in advance! 703-763-0003 (sponsor)

Group Therapy Associates will be having a class for parents of teenagers on 11/11 from 6-7:30.  Call to reserve your space, 703-644-8041.  Topic for November is Love, Sex, and High School Dating Do's and Don'ts

The first Tea with Clara will be 11/17 Join us at Gainesville Ballet to see excerpts from The Nutcracker, meet and greet the dancers in costume, enjoy delectable desserts, and you might also be invited to dance in the studio!  Only $15 per person.  Call 703-753-5005 to reserve your spots.

Monday, November 4- Note: PWCS Elementary Schools Closed
The new Regal Cinemas theater in Virginia Gateway has its opening celebration this week- November 4 – November 6:  Enjoy $2 Movies, $2 Popcorn and $2 Soft Drinks with ALL proceeds going to local charities.  Preview Events are open to the public.

Potomac Library will hold "Grossology at Your Library" at 11am.  Plan to arrive at 10:30am to get tickets. School's out, and it's gross-out time! Will you taste kitty litter cake? Touch the slimy brains and eyeballs? Learn about zombie bugs? Take the challenge and come to Grossology @ Your Library, where you can experience all things disgusting! For grades K and up. Pick up a free pass beginning at 10:30 a.m. the day of the program; each child participating must have a pass. Limit 50 children.

From 3-4pm head over to Chinn Library to celebrate the release of the 8th Diary of a Wimpy Kid with trivia, games, and a craft. Ages 8 and up. Signs point to yes - an 8th Diary of a Wimpy Kid! Celebrate the release of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck" with trivia, crafts, and games. Drop in. No tickets required. Ages 8 and up.

Tuesday, November 5- Note: ALL PWCS Closed  ELECTION DAY
Please go vote.  Seriously.  This is an important election, even though it's not a presidential election, in fact, as a firm believer that "all politics is local", I'd say this election is even more important.  Take your kids, get a sticker, be awesome.

Did you vote yet?

How about now?

(This line of questioning seems to work for my it working on you yet? Is it?)

Most of the local bounce houses hold extra open bounce times on teacher workdays and school holidays.  Be prepared for longer waits, or plan to pre-pay at places like Kids In Motion.  Check the individual websites for details.

Wednesday, November 6 
Your school aged kids are gonna need to catch the bus again today :)

Central Library will be offering vision screenings beginning at 11:30am:
Volunteers from the Lake Jackson/Mid-County Lions Club will visit the Central Community Library to provide vision screening for elementary school age children and children as young as 6 month of age.  The screening will take place in the community room after the children's story time.  Parents are required to fill out a consent form which is available from the librarian on the day of the screening.  With our state-of-the-art PediaVision SPOT camera, we are able to detect several vision abnormalities, such as, nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, amblyopia (lazy eye) and eye misalignment.  95% of early vision problems can be corrected when detected and treated in early childhood.

Note that beginning today, if Potomac is your library of choice, it will be CLOSED until December 7th.

Thursday, November 7
From 10am-11am, take your child to play in the snow at Prince William Ice Center during Snow and Story.  Call ahead to reserve a spot at 703-730-8423. (Read our guest review here) (sponsor)

There's a cloth diapering group meeting at 10:15 at Bull Run Library.

Come meet other families that use cloth diapers so we can share information/experience, troubleshoot problems, and network with each other. We'll meet one Thursday morning each month. In addition to cloth diapering, we can discuss other green parenting topics, babywearing, etc. depending on the group's interests. Bring your children so they can make friends too!  Contact Corinne at to RSVP or with any questions.

Friday, November 8
Get a jump on the Monday holiday with a free Veteran's Day celebration at Veteran's Park in Woodbridge. "Join us for ceremony, games, and storytelling. 703-491-2183"

Hoping for a night out this week? Be sure to schedule ahead with one of our many listed Parents Nights or Kids Nights out!!

Saturday, November 9
Once a month, AMC Theaters shows a "sensory friendly film" with more light, less noise, and a friendly environment for all children.  November 9, 2013 – FREE BIRDS. All shows are at 10:00 am local time. Dates and films are subject to change.

Sunday, November 10
Don't put away your swimsuit just yet!! Join the Chinn Center for Family Fun Swim Time- Bring your family of 4 for an afternoon of fun and exercise for only $15 from 12-4:30pm.

Want to include your events? Just click "calendar" and then "propose an event" and leave us the details!! Be sure to use your ACTUAL address and not just the location name.   Your form should look something like this:

Organizer's Email (please PLEASE give a real address in case I have questions)
Event/Organizer URL (use your business website or your school website so I can find details if I can't email you)
Event Title: Name of Event @Location Name (City) 
Event Location: Name of Venue, 12345 Street Address Lane, Woodbridge VA 22192

If your event is recurring, just note that in the BREIF description so I can automate it for you!