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

Permalink to Giveaway%3A%20Berenstain%20Bears%20LIVE%21%20in%20Family%20Matters%3A%20The%20Musical%20%40The%20Hylton%20Center
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! 
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.

Featured Organization Friday: Artisphere

Permalink to Featured%20Organization%20Friday%3A%20Artisphere
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

Permalink to Giveaway%3A%20Girls%20on%20the%20Run%205K
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!

Permalink to FREE%20Family%20Events%20at%20Freedom%21%20
Published: 10/18/2014

Giveaway: John Tartaglia: Imagine Ocean @The Hylton Center

Permalink to Giveaway%3A%20John%20Tartaglia%3A%20Imagine%20Ocean%20%40The%20Hylton%20Center
Published: 10/15/2014
Next week at the Hylton, don't miss ImaginOcean!! 



John Tartaglia: ImaginOcean 
October 26, 2014 at 2 pm and 4 pm
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 Streetas 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)
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.

September Reader Meetup: Edgemoor Art Studio

Permalink to September%20Reader%20Meetup%3A%20Edgemoor%20Art%20Studio
Published: 09/12/2014
Ruth Johnsen, fabulous owner of Edgemoor Art Studio is hosting our September Reader Meetup! We'll be giving away spots to 20 children whose moms are fans of Edgemoor on Facebook (you'll enter using the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post)

In addition to being my favorite art studio, Edgemoor was the winner of the 2013 Kathleen K Seedfeldt Award for Arts Excellence.  The studio offers classes for preschoolers (phonics and art) through high school as well as hosting special events, amazing birthday parties, and group events for scouts etc. 


For our September Reader Meetup, Mrs. Johnsen will host ages 3-6 on Thursday, September 25th from 10:30am-Noon.  Children will participate in a fall-themed art morning including stories, apples, pumpkins and more!! This is NOT a drop-off event, so parents will need to plan to stay.  

Hope to see you there! Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


This reader meet up is sponsored by Edgemoor Art Studio.  Winners assume all risk and liability and are responsible for their children while at the event.

Seed Stomp Volunteers Wanted!

Permalink to Seed%20Stomp%20Volunteers%20Wanted%21%20
Published: 09/12/2014
Join Leesylvania State Park on October 4th from 11am-1pm at the Lee's Woods Trailhead to help establish a field of wildflowers while having fun at the same time! Questions, call 703-583-6904 or email genevieve.white@dcr.virginia.gov

Touch a Truck (and a Giveaway!!)

Permalink to Touch%20a%20Truck%20%28and%20a%20Giveaway%21%21%29%20
Published: 09/10/2014

Discovery Junction children's museum is hosting a Touch a Truck on Sunday, September 21 from 10am-2pm at NOVA Manassas! Admission is $5/child, the first 100 children will get a free diecast vehicle, and there will be vehicles, kid-friendly activities, food, demos, and more! Join the fun!

Want to win a family four pack? We'll pick two winners!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Prize provided by Discovery Junction.  By entering you agree to be bound by our Giveaway Rules.

Guest Post: How Do I Get My Child to Eat Healthy?

Permalink to Guest%20Post%3A%20How%20Do%20I%20Get%20My%20Child%20to%20Eat%20Healthy%3F%20
Published: 09/02/2014
Earlier this summer, I asked you for your fitness/health/nutrition related questions for Max Muscle Owner Corry Matthews to respond to.  Here's the first one- it's actually a few questions in one! Thanks, Corry! 

Your nutrition is the key to your child’s.

What’s the single best way to change your child’s dietary habits – look at what you (as the parent) eat!  With school starting parents always ask “How do I get my child to eat a healthy breakfast?”  and “How do I ensure they are eating the right stuff for lunch and/or dinner?”

Here is the same question phrased a little differently “How do I get my children to stop eating junk”, “How do I get my kids to eat vegetables?”

In today’s society eating “balanced” can be really hard with commuting, long hours and after school activities.  The truth is – it starts and ends with the parents!  You are your child’s primary role model and your children look to you for what to eat.  Think about your breakfast today…did you have one?  Was it coffee?  What did your children see you eat before you tackled the day?  How about you dinner last night – did you eat all your vegetables?  Did you make sure everyone had a serving?
Setting goals as a family is key to getting everyone to eat better!  Here are a few simple tips that will help…

  • ·      Eat within 30 minutes of waking up
  • ·      Get at least 3 solid meals per day – start of the day, mid-day and end of the day
  • ·      Add a protein to every carbohydrate (yep, even breakfast & snacks)
  • ·      Think COLOR for every meal – what veggies or fruits can you add into your meal?  Remember, moms and dads you have to eat it too!
  • ·      Don’t drink your calories – this goes for everyone in the family – only exception should be milk for those under 2 or underweight

Small meal ideas:
  • ·      Half a whole-wheat bagel with almond butter or tahini
  • ·      Yogurt shake made with vanilla yogurt, banana and orange juice
  • ·      Hard-boiled egg sliced with whole grain toast or bowl of low sugar ceral
  • ·      Small bran muffin (homemade or one you trust to be wholesome) with nut or seed butter
  • ·      Almond butter on cinnamon-raisin toast
  • ·      Half a turkey sandwich in pita bread with sliced tomato and sprouts
  • ·      Small bowl of low-fat granola topped with half a banana and a dollop of yogurt
  • ·      Open-faced broiled low-fat cheese on whole-wheat
  • ·      Breakfast food can be served anytime of the day AND, you don’t have to serve breakfast foods at breakfast

This post is brought to you by Corry Matthews, owner of Max Muscle Sports Nutrition in Manassas and Springfield.  Corry is a mother of 2, author, and certified nutrition expert with a speciality in pregnancy-related nutrition. You can reach her at: 
                                                               Corry Matthews 703-772-7113


Getting Ready for Kindergarten

Permalink to Getting%20Ready%20for%20Kindergarten%20
Published: 08/27/2014
Our friends at Christ Chapel Academy have some tips for all of you getting ready to send off a Kindergartner!


Robin Banford-Geisler and Genia Cole have worked together teaching kindergarten classes at CCA for the past five years.  Last school year, they were chosen co-teachers of the year at the annual teacher recognition luncheon held on June 12th.  Each teacher is an amazing teacher in her own right, sharing her passion for education, and love for learning with her students.  They both understand that the early years of school are foundational to helping students to become confident life-long learners.  Each of them models Christ to their students, supporting self-discipline and positive character development. Working together, however, they have been able to challenge their young students to discover and develop their unique gifts and talents. 

In the video, Robin and Genia share tips that can help you get your new kindergartner off to a great start!




Feel free to share any additional tips that you have learned that can be helpful to other parents reading this blog. 


Credentials:
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 environmentmake 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

Giveaway: Kids N Motion

Permalink to Giveaway%3A%20Kids%20N%20Motion
Published: 07/30/2014
Ah, Kids N Motion.  We have spent some serious birthday party time there!! My oldest son used to have the "if you want to invite one person you must invite the class" mandate, which meant everyone was not going to fit into our townhouse- but they'd definitely fit (and need a nap) after Kids N Motion.  My daughter actually decided to have her birthday party there this year, which was fantastic because it was the week before Silver Sparkles and I didn't have to do a thing except send an evite and pick up the cake.

In addition to birthday parties that will fit your entire class, Kids N Motion also offers open play, parents night out, a preschool program, and a drop-in Summer Fitness Program, which is fantastic if you need a morning off-duty but don't want to pay for a week of camp, or if you have an appointment to get to.

As a bonus for those of you with allergies, Kids N Motion is a peanut-free facility.  I know that is a concern for many of you on the page!  They also do school fundraisers.

For today's giveaway, Kids N Motion is offering a $50 gift card good for Parents Night, Open Plays, Parties, Preschool and Camps (anything they offer).  Enter using the Rafflecopter below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Disclosure: By entering you are agreeing to all of our giveaway rules.  Gift Card is provided by KNM and any issues/liability/play-related difficulties should be directed to them upon claiming your prize. PwcMoms is further not responsible if your kids fall asleep in the car after open play and then wake up when you get to your house and won't go back to sleep and do the "I'm so cranky" thing all afternoon.  We've all been there, but it's not my bad. Good luck, have fun.

Children's Museum of Richmond Fredericksburg Location

Permalink to Children%27s%20Museum%20of%20Richmond%20Fredericksburg%20Location
Published: 07/21/2014

Playskool Playdate

Permalink to Playskool%20Playdate
Published: 07/12/2014
Note: Local Mom Debbi attended the same high school as me, and was kind enough to attend the Playskool Playdate at Top of the Town in Arlington for me since my kids are a little too old! She has three children, ages 4, 2.5, and 6 months. Here she shares a little about the toys and experience.  You can find more of Debbi's writing on her blog or follow her on Instagram.

Instead of lounging around the house on this rainy morning, we got to test out new toys at the Playskool Playdate in Arlington, VA.  I knew the girls would enjoy themselves but baby Matthew (6m) seemed to have the most fun. 
There was tons to do for the infant / toddler age group.  A variety of Elmo toys were available and they were all approved by Matthew – the big eyes and squishy hands and feet were a hit.  Cailin (age 2) also enjoyed the Sesame Street Talking ABC Elmo.  Elmo’s guitar was a fun prop for the girls and Matthew was happy to use it as a teether.  The Shapes ‘n Colors Turtle was bright and loud and Matthew could operate it on his own (always a plus).  His favorite toy seemed to be the Stack n Spin Monkey Gears. 
The toys were all available on a foam ABC mat which was inviting but as soon as kids began to pull apart the letters, choking hazards were everywhere.  This was a smaller version of the ABC foam mat often seen in play areas. 

Many older toys were re-presented in new ways:
- Glow worms (Matthew snuggled one in the stroller as I reminisced about my old green glow worm …from times of yore)
- Mr Potato Heads- with super hero capes and transformer pieces (Mixable Mashable Heroes)
- Ele-fun ball poppers – looked similar to the original, minus the flimsy trunk that always collapsed
Charlotte (4) and Cailin (2.5) were enthralled with the balloon maker, the face painter, and the fried macaroni and cheese balls.  Many of the preschool aged toys were targeted towards boys: Transformers, Spiderman (figurines and cars), and Marvel Super Heroes.  My girls stopped to give these toys a quick look but moved on quickly.  They were hoping for something representing Elsa and Anna (what preschool girl isn’t?). 
Juice boxes and hot dogs proved to be a success at lunch but the toddler chairs and tables were shaky at best.  I think they’re made to disassemble for storage which has its perks… but it wouldn’t be long before one of my squirmy kids would be crying on the floor. 

We had a very fun morning and are very excited about the swag we got to bring home!  Thanks for sharing the opportunity with us Kristina!

Engineering for Kids STEM Discovery Center Grand Opening!

Permalink to Engineering%20for%20Kids%20STEM%20Discovery%20Center%20Grand%20Opening%21
Published: 06/10/2014
We've worked with Engineering for Kids before on some of their awesome STEM programs for children, and now they're going to have their own STEM Discovery Center! Join them this Saturday, June 14th from 9am-1pm, with a ribbon cutting at 10am, to tour the new space and enter some great giveaways! This is also a fantastic time to register for camps, classes, and parties!! For more information visit engineeringforkids.com


Join Engineering For Kids as we celebrate the grand opening of our brand new S.T.E.M. Discovery Center in Lakeridge, VA. All parents and children are invited to join us along side Congressman Rob Wittman and other local officials to cut the ceremonial ribbon and check out all the new activities we have to offer. 

Children will be able to participate in a variety of hands on activities at different stations in the center. Parents will be able to socialize and learn more about our new program offerings.

Date: Saturday, June 14th
Time: 9:00am - 1:00pm (ribbon cutting at 10:00am)
Location: 1243 Dillingham Square. Lakeridge, VA 22192


Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Engineering for Kids. 

Reader Meetup: April 16, 2014

Permalink to Reader%20Meetup%3A%20April%2016%2C%202014
Published: 04/10/2014
Hey friends! The Little Gym of Gainesville has kindly offered to host us for our next Reader Meetup! We'll be making a simple spring craft (it's going to be bunnies/eggs, so if that is going to bug you feel free to bring your own craft), and then we'll have some play time in the gym space!

Plan on playing from 1pm-2pm.

This family-friendly meetup will be geared towards ages 3-6, although younger siblings are welcome.  Older siblings will want to schedule a playdate elsewhere so no little ones are getting trampled. Thanks!

If you'd like to get involved in our meetups to showcase your business, shoot me an email! If you'd like to bring snack for this meetup (a great way to show off your business!) or you'd like to drop off some swag for our participants, also email me :)

I can take 25 children, not counting non-mobile infants.  PLEASE DO NOT TAKE SPOTS if you're not going to come.

Thanks :)

I'll pull winners one at a time on Friday afternoon, so you'll need to email me back by Friday at 10pm to save your space so I can fill all the spots.

Good luck :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can't come on the 16th? Check out The Little Gym's Summer Camps!

2014/2015 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

Permalink to 2014%2F2015%20at%20the%20Hylton%20Performing%20Arts%20Center
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. 

Recap: Open Exploration at The Animated Child

Permalink to Recap%3A%20Open%20Exploration%20at%20The%20Animated%20Child
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:
 (Monday-Friday)
9:00am-10:30am                
11:00am-12:30pm
3:00pm-4:30pm
5:00pm-6:30pm
Open Exploration Scheduled Times: (Saturday)
10:00am-11:30am
11:30am-1:00pm      

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!

Permalink to Come%20Play%20at%20Animated%20Child%21
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!
Kristina

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.  

Featured Organization Friday: Wreaths Across America

Permalink to Featured%20Organization%20Friday%3A%20Wreaths%20Across%20America
Published: 12/20/2013

We were so fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday with my daughter's American Heritage Girls troop.  I have to be honest and admit that I've been going to Arlington my entire life because my grandparents are buried there, but I never knew that the wreaths and flags that appear during Christmas and 4th of July/Veterans Day are put up by volunteers.

Wreaths Across America raises the funds to place wreaths on the graves of American veterans at veterans' cemeteries across the country, at sea, and 24 national cemeteries on foreign soil.  Quantico is also a participating site.  Wreaths are $15, and our AHG troop actually raised money as a fundraiser, which helped our organization and helped fund the wreaths we would be going to lay.  Arlington actually has to rotate the sections that receive wreaths each year because there are not enough to go around.  This year, there was a bit of a crisis at Arlington because while wreath sponsorships were up overall, they were down at Arlington until a huge last-minute donation from Google.  (Holla at Google!)

Each year, Wreaths Across America selects a date (a Saturday) and all of the cemeteries are provided with wreaths on that day.  Truckers from across the country ship the wreaths to the sites, and volunteers come out to help lay the wreaths.  You don't have to sign up to volunteer, you can just show up the day of.  Even the tiniest kiddos can help out- as long as they're big enough to put a wreath down, or hang out in a backpack/wrap/stroller while you do.  Note that strollers looked to be a little difficult to negotiate on the wet ground today, so you might want to plan for an option that's mud-friendly depending on the weather.

We drove to Pentagon City Mall and parked, and then we took the metro to Arlington.  I actually have a parking pass that lets me into the cemetery grounds, but we were told the line to get into Arlington can be massive with people trying to park in the limited visitors center spots, so we opted to do a short metro ride instead.

So did a lot of people.  Metro was, unfortunately, doing system maintenance on the blue line, so trains were only running every 20 minutes.  They also only have a few entry/exit points at Arlington, so the bottleneck and wait to get OUT of the station was pretty intense.  It took us about 20 minutes, and the trains were standing room only coming in.  I mention this, again, as a caution to those of you with strollers :) It was actually neat that there were so many people coming to volunteer.
This was just to get off the platform, not even to exit the station.
Our group met up at 8:30 so they could get good spots for the opening ceremony at 9:30 (Note that times vary by location).  I know I'm going to frustrate someone by saying this, but I didn't find the opening ceremony all that worthwhile.  It was standing room only, so my daughter couldn't see and just wanted to get to the business at hand.  There were a few speeches, a non-sectarian prayer, the national anthem, mention of dignitaries, and then God Bless America, oh, and the Presidential Helicopter did a fly-by.  It just didn't really do anything for me.

By the time we were done with the opening ceremony, people who skipped it (I venture to say the majority) had already been putting wreaths down for a few minutes, so my daughter and I opted out of a group photo and hi-tailed it to the section my grandparents are in so that we could place their wreath.  If you have a loved one in any section, you can lay a wreath for them, and you are able to skip the line at the trucks, walk to the front and ask for a wreath for a loved one. No one will give you any trouble, and in fact, the Army volunteer who gave us our wreath thanked me for my grandfather's service to our country and thanked my daughter for coming out.  (I found that moving- I teared up a little).
That's my grandfather's stone- my grandmother is listed on the back.  Not related to this story- but she was Anna and my daughter is Savannah in her honor.

We were actually able to lay numerous wreaths because we walked back to their section.  The lines can be incredibly long at the sections closest to the entrance, and in the newest sections.  Section 60 had a line a block long.  I know a few of our friends only made it through their lines once or twice, but we actually were able to go through our line six times, getting two or three wreaths each time, depending on whether Savannah felt like carrying her own wreath or not.  They got heavy for her after awhile!

Several of our friends sponsored wreaths, and she was very thoughtful in placing wreaths for them, finding someone who had a name that started with the same first initial as one friend who donated, and finding "USMC" on stones for Marine friends who sponsored others.  Because we're an interfaith family, it was a little hard for her to understand why we weren't giving wreaths to everyone (because Daddy is Jewish and he does Christmas with us), and it's a little hard to explain that we ARE being fair to everyone by honoring their traditions, even if it seems unfair that "everyone isn't getting one".  However, after a talking for awhile, she finally got it, and we did make a point of stopping at graves marked with a Star of David and reading the names and inscriptions as a way of honoring those veterans, too.  One of my favorite things about Arlington is the beauty of all the white stones, all the different ranks, branches, and faiths, all together peacefully at rest.  I hope that she understood a little of that, although I know it's a big concept for a Kindergartner!


There is a closing ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at noon, which I hear was very beautiful, but Savannah was exhausted, so we opted to head back home at around 11.

If you would like to get involved with Wreaths Across America, you can visit their website to sponsor wreaths or find volunteer information for next year's wreath placement.  You can also get involved this year by helping to remove wreaths, clean up at Arlington takes place in January, and you can email the site leader for details or to get involved.  I hear that clean-up is not nearly as well attended, and it would still be a very easy job for even little hands.

Did you attend, or have you attended in the past? Leave your tips or advice in the comments.

Breakfast With Santa at PW Ice 2013

Permalink to Breakfast%20With%20Santa%20at%20PW%20Ice%202013
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

Permalink to Hylton%20Planetarium
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.

Sponsored Post: Animated Child Programs for Fall

Permalink to Sponsored%20Post%3A%20Animated%20Child%20Programs%20for%20Fall
Published: 10/24/2013

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

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

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

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

Snow and Story at PWICE

Permalink to Snow%20and%20Story%20at%20PWICE
Published: 10/17/2013
Take your little one to Prince William Ice Center for snow and story! This fun program lets them play on the ice (no skates required) and includes hot cocoa and a story at the end! Can't make the times listed? Your group can schedule a private "Snow and Story", too! Just call Maureen Brennan at 703-730-8423.  This is a great field trip for preschools or playgroups!  Space for drop-in days is limited, so to reserve your spot, be sure to call ahead!




Note: PW Ice Center is a sponsor of PwcMoms.com

Savings at Animated Child

Permalink to Savings%20at%20Animated%20Child
Published: 10/01/2013
Our sponsor, Animated Child, is offering PwcMoms.com readers a free class! If you enroll at your free class, you'll also save $80 on your membership! Classes include art, languages, and more!

Kings Dominion's "Planet Spooky"

Permalink to Kings%20Dominion%27s%20%22Planet%20Spooky%22%20
Published: 10/01/2013

Inside Planet Snoopy- Super Cute Fall Decor!

We were so excited to visit Kings Dominion in Doswell this past weekend.  It's roughly an hour's drive, which I consider to be more than do-able for a day of fun!   Kings Dominion is obviously open all summer as a great way to spend some of your vacation days, but they are also open fall weekends with a Halloween theme.  Planet Spooky activities and Trick-or-Treat with the Dinosaurs in Dinosaurs Alive! are open Saturdays and Sundays Sept. 28 - Oct. 27 from 12pm - 5pm. 

On Saturdays, the park actually opens at 10:30, and we arrived around that time.  While we waited for Planet Snoopy to open, we took our kids to some of the larger sections and enjoyed absolutely no lines.  Once the park got a little more crowded, there were still barely any wait times.  I think the longest line we were in was 20 minutes.  Most rides the kids got right on or waited one cycle for their turn. It was incredibly quick. 

Top of the Eiffel Tower

We spent much of the day in the newly reopened, larger children's section called "Planet Snoopy", or, as it's known for fall "Planet Spooky".  With 18 rides designed with kids in mind, as well as a host of family-friendly rides throughout the park, most of your kiddos will be able to have a great day on the rides.  What I discovered when we went, though, is that they've got numerous family-friendly accommodations, including a "Snoopy Family Care Center" and even a "parent switcher" option you can find out more about in guest services so that families with one child who can ride and one who can't, such as an elementary schooler and an infant, don't have to have one parent miss out on all the fun!
Inside the "People Washer"

You should know that the park also features a "Halloween Haunt" which is for ages 13 and up.  If you stay at the park past 7pm, you will likely have a zombie pop out at you.  If you're cool with that, then enjoy but since I am a giant fraidy cat, we left by 6:30.  There are some decorations that remain out during the daytime at the front entrance and in some of the other sections of the park.  They are fairly tame, and similar to things that you would see out at your local craft or Halloween store during this season, but I know that some children are very sensitive to that.
She's actually commenting that she wants to climb that...she's not scared of anything.  Ever.

Once you're inside the park and into the Planet Snoopy section, you won't see anything but pumpkins and scarecrows- or Lucy dressed up as a witch...but she's pretty cute :) Snoopy is on hand, of course, too!

Snoopy!
Several of the attractions in Planet Snoopy are designated as trick or treat stops, and when the children complete an activity, they're given a non-candy treat.  In addition to the regular rides, there were attractions such as a petting zoo, "people washer", pumpkin decorating, and hay maze.  Peanuts characters also come out both to meet with kids for photo ops, and to perform at regularly scheduled intervals.
Pumpkin Decorating! 
Linus and the Gang host a Sing-a-Long

Also open, for a small additional fee, is Trick or Treat at Dinosaurs Alive! which features a six acre animatronic tour of 36 life-sized dinosaurs from various eras. There's also a sand pit where children can dig for fossils (our day there was a "paleontologist" in costume).  During Trick or Treat, there are several stations with candy that visitors can stop at, and non-candy treats are available, as well as an allergy list.  I believe we stopped at eight stations along the route.  The dinosaurs make noise, and move, and some are even Redskins fans.
Candyvores.  Yesss.
#HTTR

We had a great time enjoying a fall day at Kings Dominion's Planet Spooky.  It's especially nice for our family now, because the rest of the park is open, affording my 5 year old the chance to enjoy all the great Planet Snoopy rides, and my almost 10 year old the option of some awesome roller coasters.  Everyone was able to ride something they loved, and the weather is so pleasant right now that it was an awesome day outside.

To purchase tickets, visit the Kings Dominion Website or purchase at the gate.


Disclosure: Our PwcMoms team (aka, "my family") was provided with free admission in order to do a park review.  We were also provided admission to Trick or Treat at Dinosaurs alive.  People who have had extensive brain and neck surgery shouldn't really ride much, but that was okay with me, because my kiddos had a blast! All opinions are my own, including those about Zombies being scary and me being a pansy when it comes to grown-up Halloween.  
daytime playtime - a fun place to Learn.... a great place to Grow A Play Gym Designed for Parents and Children Aged 10 Months to 4 1/2 Years... Majest Martial Arts - Montclair Elite Maid Squad