Theaterpalooza

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Published: 08/25/2015
We're super excited to share Theaterpalooza with you- especially since one of my kids is going to be participating in their winter show!! Sign ups are still available and since it's a developmental program, there's no audition experience necessary! 
Theaterpalooza
Is Coming to Manassas

Manassas, Virginia - July 20, 2015 - Theaterpalooza is excited to be moving in to the Manassas neighborhood this fall, 2015.  Starting Tuesday, September 8, classes in acting, singing, dance and productions will begin at The Ben Lomond Community Center 10501 Copeland Dr, Manassas, VA 20109.

Our first production is the musical,
The Snow Queen.  If you like
Frozen, you'll love The Snow Queen, the classic fairy tale in which Frozen is based.

About Theaterpalooza
Theaterpalooza is an arts education organization for children of all ages which seeks to elevate arts education in the form of classes, workshops, productions, theatre in the schools and tours.

Since 1997, Theaterpalooza has been offering classes, workshops and productions from New York to Florida.

Theaterpalooza has performed twice at Carnegie Hall; the first being "From Sea To Shining Sea" March of 2014 and the second performance in 2015, the debut of the children's opera "Billy Bewitched".  Theaterpalooza has been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall for a third time on February 12, 2016.

Theaterpalooza's performing troupe, Broadway Bound has recorded cd's, and performed all over the east coast from New York to Walt Disney World in Florida.

Theaterpalooza seeks to instill a love of the arts in every life we touch and takes pride in creating the dreamers and doers of tomorrow!

Review: Peter Pan 360 @Tysons Corner

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Published: 08/02/2015
Note: My sweet, sweet friend Heidi agreed to go check out Peter Pan 360 for me while I was on vacation.  (There has to be some kind of an upside to being my friend! Free tickets are it!) She and her daughter checked out the experience at Tysons Corner, and shared their thoughts below!


Honored to be asked to attend and review Peter Pan 360 for PWCMoms, I actually had no idea what it was. Somehow I had missed all the facebook and tv commercials. So I zipped to the website to figure out what “360” meant:
“Escape to Neverland in a whole new way with this spectacular, innovative live stage production of PETER PAN that combines intimate theater-in-the-round and overhead surround CGI projection; with actors in dazzling flying sequences forty feet in the air and whimsical puppets that bring J.M. Barrie’s classic tale to fantastical life, creating a truly unique environmental theatrical experience!”

The videos and descriptions were enthralling. I was excited and full of anticipation about a special evening out with my daughter. (I thought my 11-year-old might be a little old to fully enjoy and appreciate this experience.)

When I told my 8-year-old daughter we were going to see the play “Peter Pan” she started reminiscing about the various other Peter Pan experiences we have had: seeing the musical at a university theater, watching three different movies, as well as seeing “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” live at Disney World when she was four. I explained this would be different from all of those experiences, but I didn’t give her any details. (I just hoped I was right!!)

Good news….I was right! It was fabulous. Take your favorite aspects of various theater experiences (part Imax, part circus, part theater, part puppetry) put them together under a modern big top, and you will enjoy the story of Peter Pan with lots of laughter and gasps of amazement. We didn’t stop smiling the entire time.

The temporary theater is under a tent near Tysons Mall in McLean. You have to park at the mall’s free garage (there are plenty of signs to direct you) and walk a long city block to the theater. (Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. I was over-dressed.) There are plenty of photo ops before you enter the theater and around the lobby, including a backdrop for a “photo booth” to capture a fun instagram photo (#nevergrowup). Sit in your seats early for the pre-show entertainment…very talented musicians singing pirate song classics.

The theater-in-the-round was a lot smaller than I expected, but that is part of what makes this a more unique experience. I had the impression there are no bad seats: we sat about half-way up and it was perfect. You get to actually see the actors’ facial expressions! The stage is raised and much of the action is in the air, so even if an adult is sitting in front of your child, her view will not be blocked. The overhead projection appears to be perfectly viewable from any seat as well.
I loved hearing the belly laughs from my daughter, especially when Tinkerbell threw fabulous temper tantrums face down on the stage. I enjoyed watching my daughter gasp when the actors flew through London. And I was impressed with the gymnastic and acrobatic choreography that added to an already fabulous, classic story.

My 8-year-old’s review: “My favorite part was everything! It was also really funny because Michael, the little boy, hit Captain Hook in the head with the Teddy Bear. I liked the scenery and how they flew. I felt like I was in there with them. Tinkerbell was really funny. She was my favorite character because she had tantrums when Peter Pan said they had to go save Wendy.”
It was a great production and I highly recommend it to your family!

Just the facts:
Recommended for ages 5 and up, although younger children will enjoy it, too. Older children may not fully enjoy the whimsy of this experience.
Pros: Even if you have seen Peter Pan “umpteen” times, this will be a unique experience, small theater, engaging actors, visually entertaining, photo op with a couple of actors after the show
Cons: Hard to understand the British accents, loud noises and lights may be uncomfortable for children with sensory sensitivities
(Note: The crocodile “Tick -Tock” got very close to the audience, growled loudly, and made a few little ones cry. Capt. Hook slices Tiger Lily’s neck to kill her, not graphic, though. But (yay!) she was one of the first out for applause.)
The show is in DC for four weeks with an all new cast (from the previous run). It lasts approx. 87 minutes with a 20 minute intermission. Tickets start at $30.  There is a concession stand and merchandise shop at typical theater prices ($20 t-shirt, $15 foam sward, $5 soft pretzel, $7 popcorn.)


Disclaimer: PwcMoms was provided with free tickets to this event, but all opinions are our own.  You can tell because Heidi is entirely too nice to lie.  She'd tell you. 

Guest Post: Nerd Block Jr Boys/Girls Review

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Published: 06/17/2015
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Rhubarb & blackberry here again with another review of child-oriented subscription boxes. today we have nerd block jr!  Nerd block jr has both a boy's and a girl's version and we were lucky enough to get one of each to review for you.  we'll do them side by side so you can compare what is in each one.

cost
month-to-month: $13.99/month + $6 shipping
3 month sub: $12.59/month + $6 shipping
6 month sub: $11.89/month + $6 shipping
12 month sub: $11.19/month + $6 shipping
what you get
geeky toys for kids aged 6-11
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here are the two boxes side by side.  the toys included in the boy's box will be listed on the right and the girl's box will be listed on the left.
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Adventure Time Mad Libs - $3.25

we remember mad libs from when we were young - and they're still just as funny.  a great thing to share with your children!

The Quest for the Diamond Sword Novel - $6.41

this is a really nice chapter book and minecraft is popular with kids right now.

Frozen Reusable Sandwich + Snack Bag - $6.99

who doesn't know about frozen?  and we can't think of any young girls who don't like it.  great for school lunches!

Justice League On-The-Go Bottle - $6.49

this particular type of water bottle is very popular right now.  the graphics on this one are really bright and fun!
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Hello Kitty Monsters Collection Zombie - $5.99

hello kitty is super cute as a monster - which one will you get?  she can hang out on your child's bookbag or lunchbox.

Tech Deck Star Wars Yoda - $12.00

these tech deck toys have been around for a long time and are still very popular.  with the return of a new star wars movie - these are right on trend.

Sonic The Hedgehog Collector's Edition Bouncy Ball - $11.23

all kids love bouncy balls and this one is supposed to be super bouncy!  

Sick Bricks Set w/Smokey Burns & Gus Groucho - $3.99

this is a new video game type toy - you have to scan the package and then you can play online.  

The Monster Factory 5" Plush Colin - $8.98

we've never heard of the monster factory, but chances are, the nearest 8 year old has.  this plush freaks us out a little.

Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Rocket Raccoon Magnet - $2.09

not sure how popular a magnet will be with kids, but you could hang their artwork on the fridge with it.

Girl's Box Value - $36.44

Boy's Box Value - $30.98

the value is there for both boxes and they contain items that are fun for their target audience of 6-11 year olds.  if you think that your children would enjoy a subscription - just click here!  use promo code "continue" to save 25% off your first box~
Author Bio: Rhubarb has lived in Prince William County for almost 16 years and is the mom to three wonderful young men. She is a sometime author and is active in her church. To relax she enjoys finding seashells on the beach and snorkeling for them in the ocean. Her new website and blog Rhubarb&Blackberry: Musings of a Landlocked Mermaid is a work in progress and is more fun than she could have imagined. Her current obsession is subscription boxes (beauty, food, home & lifestyle) and she hopes to launch her own branded items sometime this year.

EFK Summer Camps (And a coupon!)

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Published: 06/09/2015

Meet Dr. Hau Le with Potomac Pediatric Dentistry!

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Published: 06/09/2015
We want to take a moment to introduce you to our newest PwcMoms advertiser, Potomac Pediatric Dentistry! They've got a fun open house coming up on June 20th: 
But before that, I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to their newest doctor, Dr. Hau Le! She took a few minutes to answer some important questions I know we're all looking for in a pediatric dentist- like what's your favorite Disney movie- and she sounds like such a sweet, fun person, I can definitely see her taking the stress out of visiting the dentist!! 
PwcMoms- Tell me a little about what made you want to go into pediatric dentistry? 
Dr. Hau Le- I grew up in Vietnam where dental care was a privilege. I had many incidences of dental pain when I was a child, and was extremely fearful of the dentist. In fact, dental visits were always a threat. I got lucky enough to be sent to study aboard in the US to pursue my education. I chose dentistry, and pediatric dentistry has been always something I hold dear to my heart due to my childhood experiences. After dental school, I worked for a community health center that served underprivileged children in Maryland, and it truly confirmed my commitment to pediatric dentistry.


PwcMoms- Wow! Having that childhood experience must make you a great advocate for your little patients!! What's your favorite part about working with kids?
Dr. Hau Le- They are so honest, unique and fun to work with. My most rewarding part is helping a child to conquer their fear of the dentist.  The best part is I get to be myself around kids, being a kid at heart myself :)

PwcMoms- Nice! So, what's your advice for parents with kids who are nervous about the dentist?
Dr. Hau Le- Preparation is the key. I understand parents sometimes have dental anxiety themselves, but try to limit transferring that fear to your children. Parents should always refer to dental appointments as a positive and not as a threat (the dentist is going to drill your teeth out if you don't brush!) and let our team guide their child's dental experiences when they come to the office. We also welcome "happy visits" for our littlest patients, or childre with special needs  who would benefit from a visit to the office without any work done for them to familiarize them with the doctors and staff. 

PwcMoms- I love that- I know some of my friends with kids on the Autism Spectrum sometimes need their child to have a little extra time to acclimate.  Speaking of your office, how does it differ from a regular dentist? 
Dr. Hau Le- Our staff and doctors are well-trained and experienced in working with children. We use kid friendly behavior guidance that is uniquely tailored for each child coming to our office. We've also definitely got a fun and inviting space- check it out and come visit us on June 20th! 
A few fun facts- 
Dr. Hau Le's favorite Disney movie is "Frozen"
Her favorite scrubs have Princess Ana on them
And when she was growing up, she wanted to be an Astronaut! 


Potomac Pediatric Dentistry is located at 16708 Jefferson Davis Highway #115 in Dumfries.
You can call them at 703-221-4040 or visit www.ppdsmile.com

Leesylvania State Park 2015 Event Calendar

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Published: 05/03/2015
Leesylvania State Park always has a series of fun events for summer!! Join them outside for some great fun in the sun! Whether it's Naitonal Kids to Park Day or Music at the Marina, it'll be a fun (and low-cost!) time! 


2015 Leesylvania State Park Kids Fishing Tournaments

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Published: 04/30/2015
Leesylvania State Park hosts monthly fishing tournaments! Join them for some fun for ages 2-15.  The program is free, but there is a fee to park.

Virginia Gateway Little Tots 2015

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Published: 04/28/2015
Virginia Gateway offers a FREE family series all summer long! See our previous review here
Join us for fun and lively family entertainment every other Wednesday at 10:30 am all summer long on the Plaza at Atlas Walk (located across from Starbucks, between Famous Dave's BBQ and Grafton Street Restaurant). Be sure to check back for more updates!

May 6: Rocknoceros
June 3: Eric Energy
June 17: Shazam Magic
July 1: Kidsinger Jim
July 15: Reptiles Alive!
July 29: Peter McCory
August 26: Under The Sea 
Bring your Little Tot's swimsuit for fun in the interactive splash fountain after the event (splash fountain located at Promenade at Virginia Gateway, just across Wellington Road).

2015 Junior Ranger Program at Leesylvania State Park

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Published: 04/20/2015
Our Junior Ranger program is back for another exciting year!! Each day we cover new topics, and introduce fun educational activities that help keep things fun and interesting. It is a great way for you and your child to learn about the rich history and nature that is in your own backyard.  There is a $60.00 enrollment fee per session for each participant. This covers all supplies, graduation certificate, t-shirt, and patch.

Review: Kidstirs Box

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Published: 04/08/2015


Savannah and I did a review today! I actually love all the "box of the month" clubs, and this one is from Foodstirs which offers cooking kits for your mini chef.  
We got the Mother's Day Box, which sells for $29.99 and includes some of the materials you'll need to make cranberry scones, a craft project, and a cardboard baking pan and directions to make a quiche. 
The flour, sugar, and dried cranberries we received were all organic.  The salt and baking powder were not.  In the picture are the color directions, which were fairly easy to follow, although they don't specifically tell you to add the milk and vanilla to the mixture- which my very literal first grader got mad at me about doing! 
We had to add our own milk, butter, and vanilla.  Savannah opted to add some mini chocolate chips, which, who am I to argue? First we mixed everything together, then we put some of the flour down on the board to form a circle.
Success! 

 The other recipe card comes with directions to make another recipe and a disposable baking ban, but no ingredients.  We saved it for later.
 After we got the scones in the oven, I was lamenting the fact that there was no parchment paper.  But there was.  It was just folded in with the craft! My fault- should've checked a little closer! The craft is a mother's day card, which Savannah took from me so she could make it "as a surprise" with daddy.
Here are our finished "scones".  They were more like an extra soft cookie biscuit than what I consider a true scone, but they weren't horrible. They weren't necessarily great, but they weren't necessarily horrible, either. 
Unfortunately, this wasn't my favorite kit.  Measuring out of the packets of ingredients was very cumbersome, and nothing is pre-measured. If I need a cup and a half of flour, I'd rather just do it out of my canister, rather than trying to pour it out of a small plastic baggie.  Additionally, this isn't an "all inclusive" kit.  You'll still need any dairy or fresh products.  Really, the value of what we got (2ish cups of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 T baking powder, 1/3 cup cranberries, and maybe 1T of salt) comes out to about $4-5, being generous for the organics.  I could measure all those things out of my existing supplies at home. 

However, I do love the box idea.  I think this would be a fun gift for a grammy to send to a grandchild that lives far away.  Getting mail is always fun, and the directions were easy to follow.  If you don't bake often and keep supplies in your house, then this could work well for you, too.  Preschool aged kids would like the short number of steps and if you order a subscription, you get a bandana, too.

However, Savannah liked cooking with mom- and really, that's all that matters :)

Have you tried Kidstirs? What are your thoughts?

Giveaway: Peter Yarrow at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

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Published: 04/01/2015
Next week at the Hylton, don't miss Peter Yarrow!! 



Peter Yarrow
April 12, 2015 at 2 pm
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.”
Tickets: $15 Adults, $5 Children



Want to win tickets? Use the Rafflecopter Below! Winner will be announced on SUNDAY! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Reminder/Disclaimers: PwcMoms giveaways are sponsored and provided by the institution named.  PwcMoms facilitates the giveaways, but is not responsible for prizes or facilities. Please refer to our giveaway rules for full details.  If you enter, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

Freedom Egg-Stravaganza 2015!!

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Published: 03/02/2015





Giveaway: Pushcart Players: Alice in Wonderland at the Hylton Center

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Published: 02/18/2015
Next week at the Hylton, don't miss Alice in Wonderland!! 



Pushcart Players: Alice in Wonderland
February 28, 2015 at 11 am and 2 pm
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)
Tickets: $15 Adults, $5 Children



Want to win tickets? Use the Rafflecopter Below! Winner will be announced on SUNDAY! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Reminder/Disclaimers: PwcMoms giveaways are sponsored and provided by the institution named.  PwcMoms facilitates the giveaways, but is not responsible for prizes or facilities. Please refer to our giveaway rules for full details.  If you enter, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

Guest Post: Snow Days Can be ‘Grow’ Days

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Published: 01/23/2015
Snow Days Can be ‘Grow’ Days
By Eugenia Cole and Robin Banford-Geisler
Winter Break is officially over, but the winter season will likely provide a few more mini-breaks before spring arrives.  Last year, Prince William County Public Schools lost 13 days to snow--almost 3 weeks of instruction time. Although snow days can provide a welcomed break from the normal routine for parents, students, and teachers, they can also provide boundless opportunities for intentional conversation and learning at home.  
A good example of the impact even trivial communication moments have on little listeners is a conversation Mrs. Cole recently had with a kindergarten student. The young lady informed Mrs. Cole that she would soon be attending “Reading Workshop” (an after-school reading enrichment program) on Mondays, instead of her normal Thursday time.  Mrs. Cole hadn’t heard anything from the parents regarding the change, but, based on her experience with the student and her family, Mrs. Cole knew this information was something that the girl’s parents had communicated with her and the young student remembered. 
While that example of a young student’s attention to and retention of information shared in conversation may seem minute, it goes to show how responsible and responsive our younger learners can be when provided the opportunity. Often times, questions asked to kindergartners regarding real-life matters are met with shrugs and “I don’t know.” This response is not because our children are too simple or young to be aware, but simply because parents don’t often communicate with them regarding what they consider to be irrelevant topics for children. 
The difference between students who are included in higher-level discussion at home and those who are not becomes evident in classroom discussion and learning time, where a distinction emerges between which students are having things explained to them and which ones are simply having things done for them.  The simple act of regular and intentional dialogue with a kindergartner can permit high-level return in the classroom. While, understandably, parent work schedules contribute to a lack of time for intentional communication, snow days can provide a convenient opportunity to have purposeful family interaction time.
While even kindergartners are as tempted to attach themselves to their electronics as we prove to be, days off from school, prompted by winter weather, can be full of personal interaction & conversational learning for our students. These mini-breaks are a wonderful opportunity to intentionally focus on strengthening your young child’s communication skills by including them in every-day discussion. Use the together-time to help your learner build towards a successful second half of the year and beyond!  
As teachers of a younger audience, we package our learning objectives into fun and interactive lessons in order to engage kindergartners. While electronics and technology may rule our day, there is still opportunity to be creative in how you engage your kindergartner on snow days.  The right kind of game can help him/her strengthen foundational skills, such as following directions, pre-reading (making a guess about topic based on pictures, clues, etc) and working together. Below is an explanation of three great offline, or non-electronic, activities that can help your kindergartner build a solid learning foundation for 2015.
  • Indoor Games:
Brain Games are an example of activities that can help exercise and develop memory. Additionally, parentfurther.com has a list of information processing activities that are worth considering, including the 30 Second Spotlight game, in which participants pick a family related topic, take turns, and talk about the topic for 30 seconds of uninterrupted time.  This game is a great one for your student because it aims to help your kindergartner strengthen his/her listening and responding skills.
If you are already using games as a learning tool, be encouraged that your efforts are foundational. Continue to establish such routine interactions with your kindergartner during snow days and add additional games to work on new skills. 

  • Learning With Snow
Snow is fun to play with, but can also be fun to learn with.  Sledding, snow-ball fights, and snow man/fort building are all fun activities during snow days.  Author Jean Warren shares on preschoolexpress.com that snow, as a learning material, presents the opportunity for children to work on Thinking skills, Coordination Skills, Art Skills, Math Skills, Music Skills, Language Skills, Science Skills and Concept Skills. With a little intentionality, you can turn those and other activities into unique learning opportunities.
One example of a specific, fun snow activity that Jean Warren recommends is “Rolling and Throwing,” as explained below. 
ROLLING AND THROWING
Children naturally love to roll snow into large balls and throw smaller snowballs.  Encourage rolling and throwing.  Both of these activities help your child develop their coordination skills.  Instead of throwing balls at people, help your child set up a row of plastic bottles to knock over or a tire to throw through.
You can learn more about this activity at http://www.preschoolexpress.com/learning-station09/learning-with-snow-december.shtml.  Although this article is geared towards preschoolers, these activities can be beneficial for your kindergartner as well!

  • Experimenting
The third important opportunity we highly encourage you to take advantage of is providing times for experimenting. One of those things very obvious in the classroom is the difference between students who are not allowed to experiment, for parental fear of inaccuracy, and those who are challenged to develop independence and find a way to do things on their own.  
A practical example of how student experimenting provides advancements in independent thinking comes from a summer camp situation. During those days filled with heat, we like to offer the students a treat of ice cream in little cups that usually have wooden spoons attached for convenient scooping.  However, one time, the wooden spoons were not included with the ice cream cups.  We had kindergartners begin to cry because they could not figure out how to eat the ice cream without the little spoons.  This presented an opportunity for the kindergartners to problem solve and use reasoning skills to figure out how to eat the ice cream without the relied-upon spoon.  We began to experiment with the students to figure out (non-messy) ways to eat the ice cream, like taking the time to lick the ice cream, squeezing the cup to get the ice cream out, or folding up the lid to make it into a spoon in order to scoop the ice cream out. While exercises in experimenting open doors to less than perfect results, they establish skills in solving problems, encouraging creativity, and rewarding diligence. 
Take time during the snow days to experiment and create opportunities for your young student to practice problem solving and reasoning skills. Intentionally create scenarios in which normal tools are not available to accomplish a task and guide your child toward figuring out how to overcome the challenge faced.  
All of the above-mentioned opportunities, and others like them, can not only create new, important life-skills for your young student, but they can also serve the double benefit of building their self-esteem and sense of security.  Engaging your kindergartner in any of these simple, offline activities will allow your student to more fully and effectively engage in the classroom, more prepared to learn and grow during the second half of the school year.  

If you have any questions related to Kindergarten please send an email to Bcitizen@christchapel.org 

CCA’s next Open House is January 24th from 1pm-3pm.

Authors:
Robin Banford-Geisler 
BS/Early Childhood & Elementary Education; Masters/ Reading Literacy, George Mason University
Kindergarten Teacher
Elementary School
Eugenia Cole 
BS/ Christian Elementary Education, Virginia Baptist College
Kindergarten Teacher
Elementary School
Christ Chapel Academy is dedicated to unleashing the leadership potential within each student. Academically rigorous programs, a vibrant Christ-centered community, and a unique multicultural learning environment make CCA a great option for parents who want a smaller school but don’t want to sacrifice big opportunities for their student(s). 
Christ Chapel Academy was voted as the “Best Private School” in Prince William County in 2014, by Prince William Today readers. 

Learn more about Christ Chapel Academy at christchapelacademy.org

Review: Peace of Pottery

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Published: 01/19/2015

 I love this kid.  He's awesome.  He's funny and smart and he does hilarious voices and impersonations.  He's the first person to comfort someone who feels left out or scared, and he's just an all around great person.  He's also the middle kid, so that makes getting alone time all the more special to him.  We had some time on Saturday to hang out, just the two of us.  I decided that we'd grab lunch and visit Peace of Pottery- which is located at 9838 Libera Ave in Manassas just across from the car wash.
 If you've never been to a paint your own pottery establishment, this one works pretty much the same way all of them do.  When you come in there are a large variety of plain white pottery pieces for you to choose from.  Little statues of animals, plates, bowls, tea pots, big small, inbetween.  Each piece has a different price, so be sure to set a budget before you go in.  Peace of Pottery also charges a $6 studio fee on top of the price of the pottery (some studios include this fee in the price of the piece, others charge it separately- either way you're paying it).
 There are plenty of tables, you can sit and enjoy a quiet afternoon or you can host a party (scout troop, large family, etc). Logan and I each picked a mug.  Mine had polka dots and Logan opted for a mug with a "mouth" for cookies. The first step is to wash your piece of pottery and then you pick out glaze colors.  To get an even, non-streaky finish, the owner recommended three coats of glaze, which takes a little bit of time, but getting on base colors is pretty mindless work and we had a lot of fun chatting while we worked.
I didn't get a picture of my finished mug, but I thought that Logan's minion mug turned out really cute.  He's planning to make some banana cookies to eat with his tea when we get it back on Saturday (firing turnaround is about a week).

Peace of Pottery is a lovely, inviting space.  It's not a cheap afternoon- we spent $45.92 for two mugs, so it was perfect for a one-on-one day, but isn't something I'd just do on the spur of the moment with all three kids (which would have put me closer to $100 assuming they'd all picked mugs and not something bigger).  Pottery parties, on the other hand, start at $19 per person, so if you have a large group of kids you'd like to take, that could be a great way to keep your costs a little lower.

We definitely had a fun time and enjoyed the laid back, peaceful atmosphere.  I'd definitely recommend Peace of Pottery for a fun afternoon or a great venue for a party if you've got a kid with a little artistic flair!


Disclaimer: We just went to Peace of Pottery.  Nobody invited us or asked for a review.  All opinions are our own.

Guest Post: BumbleABC

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Published: 01/18/2015
Thanks to Katrina for sharing about BumbleABC with us! If you'd like to guest post, just shoot me an email! 



BumbleABC is a wonderful little place inside of Engineering for Kids located in Lake Ridge, Virginia. Bumble ABC offers workshops, classes, and programs for infants – 6 year olds. They also offer field trips and birthday parties.

BumbleABC was founded and created by two local moms,  Lisa Dillard and Dori Roberts. How cool is that?!

We went and checked out their Open Play for the first time the other day. Im not sure what I was expecting going in, I mean I knew it would be good, but this place is so awesome. My kids are still talking about it days later!

When you first walk into the building there is a waiting area and a customer service desk! Off to the side is a little spot for coffee, tea, and water.

So once you get your kiddos name tags and get all squared away with the awesome people at the desk, you can go into the play area.

OHHHHhhhhh the play area! There are HUGE foam blocks for building, a Lego wall, an area with magnaforms, potato heads, etc., a wind tunnel, a car track, a room for infants (a ROOM for INFANTS yall!), and oh so much more.

The kids had so much fun. They painted, they ran, they jumped, they used their little noggins, and got all that built up energy out!

The things that stuck out to me the most were how KIND and ACCEPTING the employees were of all the children, and the layout. I love that I can see my children pretty much wherever they went.

Quote from the 2 year old “I loved crawling through the tunnel!”

You can check out there upcoming Open Plays ( and other programs) HERE. (Link for that is http://bumbleabc.com/registration/)

Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
 
 
Katrina is a Stay At Home Mom to three, one girl and two boys, and wife to her high school sweetheart. She is passionate about her faith, family, natural living, the outdoors, and all things creative. If you liked this post you can find more at Sunflowers On The Hill, where she blogs about life as a SAHM, her faith, and as well as everything in between. You can also follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.


Guest Post: Suriving Disney World With Young Children

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Published: 01/06/2015

Surviving Disney World with Young Children

When are we going to Disney?  As soon as your child asks you that question, you start asking yourself different questions. How stressful will it be? What age is the right age? What’s it really like to be there with young kids?
The thought of taking young children to Disney can be overwhelming. You have visions of a perfect magical experience, but you can also see overtired, over stimulated, tantrum throwing kids. The age group most parents seem concerned with are preschoolers.  The good news is that with a little planning and the right perspective, you can have that magical trip you dreamed about.

Should I wait until my kids will remember?

I often hear people say that they want to wait to do Disney World until their kids are old enough to remember the trip.  Disney for some is a once in a lifetime vacation and you want to feel you’re getting your money’s worth.  However, there is magic in taking young kids that can’t be replicated later. For a preschooler, that really is Cinderella just waiting for a hug and Mickey Mouse really has come out just to see them today.  The magic of Disney is never lost on a young child.




How does Disney help young families?

·      The rides and attractions are well suited for little ones and families. The majority of rides in the parks can be experienced by the entire family together.  With most of the height requirements set at 40" (and a few at 44"-48"), the average 7-8 year old can ride nearly all of the rides.  Many 3-4 year olds can even ride some of the “thrill rides”.
·      Child swap is available at all rides with a height restriction. This allows families with a child that is too small to ride without waiting in a long line twice.
·      FastPass+ allows you to come back to a ride later and wait in a much shorter line. These passes, along with a good touring strategy, can minimize time spent waiting in line.
·      From young kids to teenagers to parents and grandparents, the entire family can have a magical time together.
·      Baby care centers are available in all parks, providing a quiet, air conditioned place to take a break, feed, or change a baby or small child.
·      Each park has several play areas designed for younger children.
·      Live Shows showcasing their favorite Disney Characters are a big hit.  Disney Junior Live on Stage is a can’t miss attraction in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. These shows offer guests an air conditioned venue to get off their feet.
·      Long park hours and convenient transportation to onsite resorts make it easy to take a mid-day break back at the resort for naps or dips in the pool.
·      Full immersion of Disney entertainment, including all your kids favorite characters. There's nothing better than your daughter meeting her favorite princess or your son challenging Darth Vader to a light saber duel.



What are the Challenges?

As much as we all want everything to be “happily ever after,” there can be some challenges in a trip to Disney with young kids. One of the most important tips I can give is to manage your expectations. Remember, you won't see and do everything, and that’s OK. Pay attention to your kids' cues, and if they're not enjoying themselves anymore, take a break. It’s more important to enjoy the things you do than to try to force everyone to do everything.

If you are waiting until your preschooler is older to enjoy Disney, think again! Your preschooler will be enchanted just by the experience of being at Disney. From characters, parades, attractions and shows designed with them in mind, their days will be full of Disney magic.


Author Bio:


Patricia Mickus is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with Magical Memories Travel.  Patricia lives in Bristow, Virginia with her husband and two sons.  She believes you can have a Disney vacation of a lifetime and maximize your vacation dollar. All of her concierge planning services are FREEto her clients.   Contact Patricia at patricia@magicalmemoriestravel.com or visit her Facebook page or blog - www.MagicalMickeyTips.com for more Disney planning tips.

New Years Eve 2014

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Published: 12/29/2014


Prince William County doesn't have a First Night Celebration, although I did talk with our county supervisor about the process at one point.  But, there are a few family-friendly options for folks in PWC (okay, and I'll include first nights that are close by!)


Pump it Up of Manassas will be offering NYE festivities a day EARLY on December 30th with open playtime, DJ, Karaoke, Glow, Pizza, a NY Countdown and a balloon drop.  This is not drop off and last year it sold out! Times are 12-2pm and 5-7pm.  They will also have events on the 31st.





Skate N Fun Zone will host a New Years Eve Skate on December 31st with Balloon Drops at 2pm and Midnight.  You can read about our review of their NYE party here.












Pump it Up of Manassas will have a drop-off event for kids on December 31st from 5-8pm Looking for some one to watch the kids while you celebrate ringing in the New Year? Let Pump It Up take care of the kids for a few hours. They will enjoy GLOW, Karaoke, Sparkling cider and ring in the new year with our balloon drop and we'll even feed them dinner! *This is a DROP-OFF event.*

Kids N Motion will offer a NYE party with sleepover option.  It's $30 (I'm not clear on if that's per kid or for two kids, the website says "$30 per siblings") and includes pizza, a movie, donuts and milk for breakfast, and lots of bouncing.  There's a balloon drop at 10pm, and you're able to pick your children up after that or leave them for the night.

Christ Chapel will offer a 10pm New Years Eve Service

FOR FIRST NIGHT CELEBRATIONS:
Alexandria
Annapolis
Vienna
Falls Church 
Winchester



Start your New Year off right with a 5k with the Freedom Center on January 1st! 
Leesylvania State Park will offer a first day hike from 1-2:30pm.  It's a 90 minute 2 mile hike led by Jim Klakowicz.  

Upcoming at BumbleABC Lake Ridge

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Published: 12/11/2014

Bumble Science - Fascinated about Flight
Mondays- January 5th, 12th, 19th, & 26th
5:00 PM - 5:45 PM
Ages 3-6
In this four week class, little scientists learn about various methods and means of flight by using the scientific method to experiment with a wind tunnel, a straw rocket launcher, balloons, pinwheels, helicopters, airplanes and more!
Bumble Music - Circles, Spots & Dots
Mondays- January 5th, 12th, 19th, & 26th
6:15 PM - 7:00 PM
Ages 3-6
In this four week class, little bugs enhance hand-eye coordination, rhythm skills, music awareness and gross motor skills as they learn about circle shapes through fun, interactive music and movement games, they are engaged by parachute-play and they play instruments while moving, rocking, marching, tapping, clapping, singing, and dancing to the beat!
Bumble Art - Build-a-Bug
Wednesdays- January 7th, 14th, 21st, & 28th
5:00 PM - 5:45 PM
Ages 3-6
In this four week class, little artists pretend to be construction workers and enhance fine motor skills and creativity by using various building methods such as cutting, painting, gluing and more to construct a different bug each week!

Bumble Sports - Taking Aim
Wednesdays- January 7th, 14th, 21st, & 28th
6:15 PM - 7:00 PM
Ages 3-6
In this four week class, little athletes explore team-building concepts, enhance fine and gross motor skills, and practice hand-eye coordination by engaging in fun, interactive games and activities centered on basketball, golf, bowling and ping pong!
Open Play Workshops in Lake Ridge
Mondays and Wednesdays
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Infants to age 6
This open discovery workshop encourages creativity and cognitive development as children advance in association and problem-solving abilities, while constructing with various large building blocks and other materials. Friendships and social skills will also form as children work and grow together!

Kid Ornament Ideas

Permalink to Kid%20Ornament%20Ideas
Published: 12/09/2014
Remember that time that my husband didn't set up the Christmas tree correctly and it fell over and all my ornaments broke?

(Yes that really happened)

(Okay, fine, and yes, I'm just sharing that story because so many of you agreed that they're just towels....but it happened!)

Ever since that incident, homemade Christmas ornaments are some of my favorite things to get! Luckily PwcGrammy is amazing and frequently when the kiddos hang out with her they come home with presents for me! These ideas are all very simple and would be great for your house, or as presents to send to family and friends!

 Rudolph and Frosty here are super simple.  They're just made from 1.5 inch terra cotta pots that you can buy at Michael's! You'll need ribbon, white paint, brown paint, sharpie markers (black, orange, and pink), ribbon, brown pipe cleaners, goggly eyes, and pompoms.  You can use regular glue and let it set up, or if you have older kids, you can use the hot glue gun while they supervise- but you might still burn yourself....or maybe that's just me.

Paint your pot brown for Rudolph or white for Frosty.  Then, just let your child decorate! We added antlers and a red nose for our reindeer and ear muffs for frosty.  Use ribbon to make a loop to hang your ornament. If you're using regular glue or craft glue, be sure to allow enough time to fully dry before hanging.  Hot glue will basically dry instantly.
 Okay, so this guy is not so cute when you're looking at him like this....but....
HE HAS A LIGHT UP NOSE!! These are just tea lights wrapped with a ribbon scarf and decorated with sharpies.  I found the tiny tiny top hats on Amazon.  They're actually totally cute :) You could draw circles for coal or even regular facial features.  Be sure that when you buy your tea lights they already have the batteries in them.  You can find REALLY cheap packages of them, but then you have to buy and install all the tiny batteries, so just save yourself the hassle and buy them with batteries inside :)

Enjoy!

Meet Lisa Dillard and Bumble ABC

Permalink to Meet%20Lisa%20Dillard%20and%20Bumble%20ABC
Published: 12/01/2014
Lisa Dillard is a local mom and founder of Bumble ABC


Bumble ABC was born out of the idea that it would be great if there were something else in the Woodbridge area for little ones.  I found myself driving further and further out to find things to do with my two year old son.  The idea was originally born out of that,” said Dillard.
 
Bumble ABC enjoys a partnership with Engineering for Kids, utilizing their space during EFK’s down time.  They use existing classrooms and add more “little kid” options including playmats, tunnels, and tents, and swap the regular Legos out for Duplos.
With the learning center that Engineering for Kids just opened, there was some open calendar space during the day, so we’re using the down time in their space until we can open our own space.
 
“Each week open play has a theme,” explained Dillard. “We change the dress up clothes, craft, and toys to engage the children.  It’s not necessarily structured, but directed play.”
Bumble ABC holds open plays on Monday and Wednesday from 10am-12pm.  Open play is $10 per child, infants are $5 or free with a paid sibling. Bumble ABC also offers discounts to mommy groups and private groups, with a maximum of 20 kids.  They also offer mobile classes for preschools as well as birthday parties.  Classes are currently available in Science, Music & Movement, Sports and Art (ages 3-6).  They plan to offer Baby & Me Classes and Music & Movement classes (ages 0-3) soon.
 
For more information about Bumble ABC, visit them on Facebook or their Website


Disclosure: Bumble ABC is an advertiser with PwcMoms, but all opinions are our own. 

Giveaway: Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters: The Musical @The Hylton Center

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Published: 11/12/2014
Next week at the Hylton, don't miss the Berenstain Bears!!! 



Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters: The Musical
November 22, 2014 at 11 am and 2 pm
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)
Tickets: $15 Adults, $5 Children



Want to win tickets? Use the Rafflecopter Below! Winner will be announced on SUNDAY! 
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Reminder/Disclaimers: PwcMoms giveaways are sponsored and provided by the institution named.  PwcMoms facilitates the giveaways, but is not responsible for prizes or facilities. Please refer to our giveaway rules for full details.  If you enter, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

Featured Organization Friday: Artisphere

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Published: 10/31/2014

Artisphere in Arlington connects artists and patrons to an eclectic mix of fresh, thought-provoking arts programming. We’re your spot for insight into the creative process and to engage in artistic
adventures—from contemporary visual art, live music and theatre to new media, film and dance. 
Come explore, experience and engage—collide with art.

You can check out Artisphere are their free family fun day this weekend! 
Calling all families…spend an artful day at Artisphere’s free family day on November 2nd from noon until 3 p.m. This fun-filled event is centered around a dance party for kids, designed by the team from Baby Loves Disco. Have a frighteningly fun time with your favorite Looney Toons characters as we screen some of their spookiest episodes including A Haunting We Will Go, Bewitched Bunny and more! Rounding out the event will be a mix of art activities, including an art “make and take” project. 

Halloween costumes welcome, but not required! For the kid in everyone!

FREE!

Giveaway: Girls on the Run 5K

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Published: 10/30/2014
Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia has an upcoming PWC Race! (Plus their colors are fantastic!)






Pfitzner (Potomac Nationals) Stadium
Woodbridge, VA
Saturday November 22, 2014
8:30am Race Start 



Runners of All Ages and Abilities are Welcome
5K shirts for all registered participants. 
Medals for all race finishers.


Come run, walk, skip, or roll across the finish line with us and support 2,000 girls in Northern Virginia as they achieve their goal to complete a 5K.  It's all about setting a personal goal and doing our best to achieve it! 


Want to join the fun? Enter to win Free race entry for you and your running buddy, plus a swag bag of Girls on the Run branded merchandise! Can't wait to win? Register online HERE. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway



As always, our giveaways are provided by the sponsor and governed by our giveaway rules, which you agree to by virtue of entering to win. 

FREE Family Events at Freedom!

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Published: 10/18/2014

daytime playtime - a fun place to Learn.... a great place to Grow A Play Gym Designed for Parents and Children Aged 10 Months to 4 1/2 Years... Children's National Health System - Just Right PWC Library - Summer Reading Program