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. 


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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

Giveaway: John Tartaglia: Imagine Ocean @The Hylton Center

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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! 
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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.

Anniversary of the Potomac Blockade 2014 Living History

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Published: 09/20/2014

Join Leesylvania State Park for a Living History with a civil war encampment with costumed historians to learn about the soldiers' lives.  Cannon Firing will occur on the hour between 11am and 4pm, Musket Firing will take place at the visitor's center, and you can sample and purchase Civil War Era foods.  September 27 and 28 from 11am-4pm each day. 

Seed Stomp Volunteers Wanted!

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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!!)

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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!

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

Getting Ready for Kindergarten

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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: The Music Box

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Published: 08/01/2014
As part of their ongoing Hylton Family Series, the Hylton Performing Arts Center will be hosting  The Music Box:

Synetic Theater presents The Music Box

  • August 6, 2014 at 11:00 am
Merchant Hall
Embrace your inner eccentric! The Music Box is a magnificent collection of comedic short stories set to music and brought to life in Synetic Theater’s unique movement theater style. Audience members journey into the wonderful world of storytelling through pantomime, imagination, illusions and physical comedy. Where an average day becomes extraordinary when a surly janitor and an uptight businessman discover a magical mask that tricks or teases whoever discovers it, two cowboys in the wild west tame a bull on the loose, two road workers try to catch a butterfly in an attempt to capture the heart of a girl, and—not to be missed—the classic invisible wall. Synetic Theater is D.C.’s premiere physical theater company producing world-class performing arts for more than a decade and winning 24 Helen Hayes Awards.
These performances are appropriate for children ages 5 to 12 years old.
$15: Adults
$5: Children

Want to win a family 4 pack of tickets? Check out the Rafflecopter below!

Good Luck!

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Disclosure: By entering you are agreeing to all of our giveaway rules

Giveaway: Kids N Motion

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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. 

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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

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Published: 07/21/2014

Engineering for Kids STEM Discovery Center Grand Opening!

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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. 

Youth Chorus Program Beginning in the 2014-2015 Season

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Published: 04/15/2014

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

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

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

2014/2015 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

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

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

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

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

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



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

US Science and Engineering Festival 2014!

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Published: 01/24/2014
The 3rd USA Science & Engineering Festival, the largest science festival in the US, features nationwide contests and school programs, including our popular 'Nifty Fifty' science speaker program - presented by InfoComm International. The Festival culminates in a Grand Finale Expo on April 26-27, 2014, with the US News STEM Solutions Conference on April 23-25, and Sneak Peek Friday - presented by the Department of Defense - on April 25. New this year: X-STEM - presented by Northrop Grumman Foundation and MedImmune - an Extreme STEM Symposium for students on April 24.  Get your tickets HERE.

"Area’s Sweetest Teacher" Contest at Sprinkles

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Published: 01/15/2014
Since my neurosurgeon (although I guess he's not "my neurosurgeon" much longer since I hope my last visit will be in February!) and my oncologist (she's mine for the next decade, poor woman!) are at Georgetown University Hospital, I have become a connoisseur of cupcakes in the area.   I know you're not supposed to use food as a reward, but you know, after you spend 2 hours in an MRI tube, those rules no longer apply and you get frosting.  Period.

Sprinkles is by far my favorite DC cupcake location, and they're running a fun contest for teachers.  Check it out below!


Sprinkles Cupcakes Georgetown, the Washington, DC, outlet of the world’s first cupcake bakery, announced today that it will be running a “Sweetest Teacher Contest,” beginning January 21st. Area K - 8 students at schools in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia are invited to submit their favorite teachers for consideration by February 10, by writing a short (250 word) essay about why their favorite teacher is the best. Sprinkles will choose the top three teachers out of these submissions, and the public will vote on the final winner on the Sprinkles DC Facebook page. “Education is such an important part of our community,” said Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes. “This is our way of reaching out and saluting the teachers that give so much of themselves, and provide so much to the children in our area. We are excited to give students a chance to think about their teachers, and express what makes them great. We can’t read to see what students have to say about the educators that have changed their lives.” Forms will be distributed at the store itself, located at 3015 M St NW, Washington DC, or can be submitted to dc@sprinkles.com.

The winning teacher will receive a $250 Sprinkles gift card and a $250 gift card for office supplies, while the first runner up will receive $150 at each location and the 3rd place teacher $100 gift cards.  For additional information and a list of future locations, please visit www.sprinkles.com

Christ Chapel Academy Preschool and K-12

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Published: 01/08/2014
The preschool at Christ Chapel started as Joyful Generation Preschool in September of 1984, under the direction of Debbie Wolf.  Joyful Generation was a part-day preschool that offered a 2 or 3 day program for 3 and 4 year old children.  The first full time childcare program, ranging in ages of 6 weeks through five years of age, in 1990 was contracted by Little Lambs Childcare.  Upon the end of their contact in 1993, Debbie Wolf was tasked to develop a fulltime program, thus Christ Chapel Children’s Center was born, which consisted of Joyful Generation Part-day Preschool and Kingdom Kids Full-time childcare.  Our name changed once again in 2010 as we moved forward to become known as one program, Christ Chapel Academy Preschool.

Christ Chapel Academy’s Preschool Program, Est. September 1984.


At Christ Chapel Academy’s Preschool program, you will find a fun and exciting approach to early child education and care.  We recognize the individuality of each child, and strong emphasis is placed on positively reinforcing the child’s own unique cognitive, physical, social and spiritual development.  We recognize that each child is a gift from God and that they deserve the finest in care and education. Full-time and Part-time options are available for children ages 2-5 years. 

3 Great Reasons to Take a Look at Our Program:

1. Security Patrolled & Monitored Classrooms 
2. Qualified Teachers with Longevity (3-12 years)
3. Accredited Program

Open House Dates:
January 10th, 9:00am-11:00am (Pre-K Only| Enrollment Information and Tour)
January 25th, 1pm-3pm (Pre-K-12th Grade| Enrollment Information and Tour)

Visit our Preschool page here for more information:
goo.gl/j4RkRQ

Contact Information:

Sheila Nelson
Preschool Director
snelson@christchapel.org
13909 Smoketown Road, Woodbridge, Va 22192 | 703-670-3822


This is a sponsored post brought to you by Christ Chapel Academy Preschool



Come Play at Animated Child!

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Published: 12/27/2013
Hello, everyone!

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

Horrible ;)

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

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

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

You can just comment on what they already wrote.

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


Can't wait to see you there!
Kristina

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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.  

Sponsored Post: Animated Child Programs for Fall

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Published: 10/24/2013

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

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

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

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

Try Hockey Free at PWICE!

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Published: 10/05/2013
We love hockey in our family, and Prince William Ice Center wants to invite your child to try hockey FREE on November 2, 2013 from 2-3:30pm! Register online anytime for this program.


Savings at Animated Child

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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!

Language Stars Open House

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Published: 08/03/2013
I didn't start a foreign language until 8th grade, and it's one of my greatest regrets.  While I had the opportunity to take years of French and participate in an exchange, I always wished that I'd started sooner, and at this point, while I understand French, I haven't spoken it in so long I'm not sure I could if I had to. At my high school, they also offered Russian my senior year, which I took both there and in college, as well, and enjoyed very much, but I can't claim to remember much beyond the alphabet and basic conversation.

Oh, and Cheburashka.  How could you forget him?
He's so cute!!

In our area, especially, you find loads of bilingual kids.  I think that it gives children such an advantage to start languages early, and, of course, if you have a parent in the home who speaks two languages it makes things really easy.  For those of us without that advantage, we have to look elsewhere if we want to snag our kids some quality language instruction.
Language Stars offers French, Spanish, Mandarin, Italian and German language instruction for children ages one and up, and has been voted "Best Language Instruction" in the DC Area for the last three years.  Their school year programs begin on September 3rd, so now is the time to look into classes.  While they don't have a Prince William County location, they do have a nearby Fairfax Center, and you can check out the classes, and the drive, during their open house program, which runs from August 5-25, 2013.  You can sign up online to try a free class, and if you register during the open house period, you'll save $100 off your tuition.  


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from Language Stars.  All opinions are my own, especially those about the cuteness level of Russian Cartoon Characters. 

Fun Idea: Make Your Own Candy Kits

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Published: 07/02/2013
I am a huge Mindware.com junkie, and while they're not paying me to write this, I would totally be okay it if they wanted to.  Our craft shelves are full of fun activities from them, along with puzzle books, manipulative sets and more.  Being a homeschooling family of 5 in a townhouse means that we can't do major storage of "stuff" without our house looking like the wrong side of an episode of "Hoarders" so we try to get our kits completed.

I actually really do love having things like this around.  They're perfect for a day when the weather makes you change plans last minute and you need something to distract your children from whining at you about how GROSSLY unfair it is that you can't go to the pool without severe risk of death from electrocution due to those pesky afternoon thunderstorms.  

On just such an afternoon, PwcGrammy pulled two make your own candy kits from our shelves.  I think they were actually part of a box that my mother-in-law sent at Christmas, but with all my health adventures, we hadn't gotten to these yet.  Oddly, the chocolate kit seems to have been completed separately.

If you'd like to pick up your own set, we got these, as I mentioned, from Mindware, although Amazon could probably hook you up, too.  The kits are $12.95 each or you can purchase 3 for $36.95.  As mentioned earlier, Chocolate is not pictured.
What's neat about these kits is their focus on ecology.  The gummies are made from fair-trade algae called Carrageenan, which my middle kiddo is holding in his hand in the picture above.  The brochure that comes with the book includes a story about how harvesting the particular red algae used to extract Carrageenan provides revenue for an island village, and how the harvest of seaweed is a sustainable agricultural endeavor.

I'm not sure how much of that they retained, though, because they were too busy noticing that the seaweed smelled like old ocean.  Bad.

The make your own gum kit also has a similar sustainable and eco-friendly slant, and uses chicle, which is the sap from a sapodilla tree in South America, rather than a chemical agent, to provide the appropriate level of "chaw" to your gum.
The actual age on these kits (does anyone with more than one kid actually listen to the age on packages?) is ages 8 and up.  I would go just a tiny bit higher on the gum, to be honest, because you have to microwave several items together and then flatten them out to roll (see daughter getting powdered sugar EVERYWHERE) and the mixture is incredibly sticky and really hot.  PwcGrammy burned her fingers trying to get it out and flat enough for the kids to handle before the whole thing just solidified in the microwave container.  The gum can be flavored mint or cherry, and while it doesn't hold its flavor for long, it does taste and chew just like gum, and has no artificial dyes, so if your child is sensitive, this might be fun for them.

As far as the gummies went, we had a little trouble using the "molding starch" provided in the kit- but you could just as easily use candy molds or cookie cutters from your house and skip the starch step.  Also, as bad as the seaweed smelled, the sour mix (your gummies are sour-patch style) covered up any "ocean" smell or taste.

The kids actually really enjoyed making these, and they especially liked learning about the tree sap and seaweed that went into the treats.  They weren't the best candy we've ever had, and I think that everyone just tried a piece and the rest, honestly, went in the trash a week later, but the process itself was really fun and enjoyable.  Both kits did have a white powdery component, the gum used powdered sugar for rolling and the gummies had "molding starch" which just seemed like cornstarch, but obviously no matter what kind of food-grade powder your slinging around your kitchen, you're going to make a bit of a mess!

We're giving these "Make Your Own Candy" kits 3 out of 5 stars.  The kids loved the process but didn't really eat the candy (not necessarily the worst problem on earth!) and the hot gum was a little hard to navigate without burned fingers.  We had a good time and learned something, but wouldn't probably buy the kits again.

Dance Studios for Children in Prince William County

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Published: 06/22/2013

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

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


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


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

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


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

Guest Post: Helping Children Sleep After a New Baby

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Published: 06/10/2013

I just had a baby and now my older child won’t sleep – Help!!

You knew you would lose sleep with a newborn, but you may not have been expecting your older child to suddenly need your attention in the middle of the night.  This is however a problem I see quite often, especially if at one time your older child did have some sleep difficulties.

What is going on?

If your child previously slept with you or in your room, they may not understand why the brand new baby is now getting to sleep in your room.  After all, you may have told them that your room is just for Mommy and Daddy if you were transitioning them out of it.  They may start waking in the middle of the night trying to get in bed with you, or may start giving you a hard time about going to sleep at bedtime.  Even if your child did not sleep with you, just the change of having a new brother or sister may cause them a slight amount of stress, which could affect their sleep.  All the changes going on could also be causing their bedtime to be later.  If children are overtired at bedtime, they are more likely to wake during the night and earlier in the morning.

Having Patience

The first step in solving your child’s behavior is to first have (or try to have!) patience and realize where they are coming from.  If your older child was an only child before the baby came, they were used to getting all the attention.  Now, not only is the baby getting some of their attention, the baby probably gets to stay up later with Mom and Dad and gets to spend all night in their room.  How fair is that?!  It is a good idea to spend some extra one on one time with your older child during the day.  You should be totally focused on them (no cell phones or television) and this should last for at least 20 minutes.  Each parent should try to do this every day.

Bedtime

You may need to factor in a little extra relaxing time before sleep time at night.  Your child may need a couple of extra books or some extra songs.  Decide before hand what you will add, and do not let your child dictate what you do.  If you tell them you will read an extra book, stop at that extra book.  If they beg and cry for another one and you give in, you will have taught them to keep begging and crying even if you say no.
If your child is really upset at bedtime, you may think about sitting in their room with them while they fall asleep, then every several days moving further and further away from them or come check on them every 5 or 7 minutes for extra reassurance.

Middle of the Night Wake-Ups

If your child is waking in the middle of the night, discuss with your partner during the day how you want to handle it.  Being consistent is essential in changing a behavior.  So if you do not want your older child coming into bed with you, do not let them do that, even once.  This is especially important if your newborn is sleeping in bed with you – your older child may not be as aware of the baby and could roll on them or crawl over them. 
If you are okay with your older child coming into your room at night if they do not wake you or your baby, you could make a bed for them on the floor.  You could put a crib mattress or sleeping bag on your floor.  You will need to give your child rules – if they sleep in this bed, they need to come into the room quietly and not wake anyone.  This is probably a better idea for a child at least three years old and one that has not shown any jealousy issues toward the newborn.

It Will Get Better

Remember that it will get better, especially if you handle the behavior consistently and with as much patience as you can have being a sleep deprived parent!  Your child may need a little extra reassurance now, but will once again start sleeping well.  And by that time, your newborn may be sleeping better too!


About the Author:
Michelle Winters, of SleepWell Sleep Solutions is a certified Gentle Sleep Coach and Greenproofer based in Northern Virginia. Michelle provides sleep consultations for children up to 6 years old in which she assists parents in creating a gentle, respectful plan to get their children sleeping.  She can also assist parents who are trying to conceive, who are pregnant, and who already have children identify and remove toxins in their environment.  Michelle conducts in person consultations in the Washington DC Metro area and can also conduct consultations over Skype or phone for clients outside the area.  She is also available to conduct workshops and group talks to businesses, parents’ groups and preschools.
This post is provided by SleepWell Sleep Solutions.

Meetup Giveaway: Engineering 4 Kids

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Published: 06/06/2013


Engineering for Kids® was born right here is Stafford, Virginia! Founder Dori Roberts began her teaching career in 1999.  During this career, she saw a dire need for math, science, and engineering enrichment programs.  To remedy this, she ran an after-school club that participated in various engineering and science-based competitions.  After membership hit 180 students, and the group won multiple state championships, she decided to tailor her own program and apply it to a wider age demographic.  Engineering For Kids® offers programs for homeschooling, scout troops, and birthday parties, as well as regularly scheduled classes and camps throughout the school year.  Engineering for Kids (R) will even come to your school--a great opportunity for PTA/PTOs who are looking for activities that will help students foster a love of science, technology, engineering, and math. 

We're really excited about Engineering for Kids® and they've got a great giveaway/meetup scheduled for us!

Join us for a FREE 2-hour LEGO® Robotics workshop! PwcMoms is teaming up with Engineering for Kids® to offer your child the best in fun, challenging, hands-on education.  Children are natural engineers, and we want your child to be part of the experience! "Like" the Engineering for Kids® Facebook page and comment on this post.  When you do, you'll be eligible to win a spot in our free LEGO® Robotics workshop!

Enter using the Rafflecopter widgit below.  There's room for 20 kids in our meetup class, which will be held Thursday, June 20, from 10am-12pm in Southlake.  When you enter, please keep in mind that the appropriate age group is 7-14.  Boys and girls will both enjoy this event! We can't wait to see you there!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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