Guest Pots: Tips for a Happy, Healthy Easter

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Published: 03/21/2016

Thanks to Health Wise Home for this fantastic set of tips for keeping Easter Happy AND Healthy!! 

Tips for a Happy, Healthy Easter

Easter is almost here! As an adult, I look forward to our family’s traditions that surround the holiday. When I was a child, I looked forward to many of those same traditions, but my main focus was centered around one common theme: Easter candy! Between school celebrations, a visit from the Easter Bunny, egg hunts, and family celebrations, I was practically swimming in jelly beans, marshmallow chicks, and chocolate bunnies by the end of the Easter weekend.
As a health-conscious parent in today’s over-commercialized world, trying to maintain a healthy balance can be especially challenging around the holidays. It seems like everything is centered around candy, and lots of it. I have found that the best solution for our family is to allow our children to enjoy the celebrations outside of our home (class parties, community events, etc.) at their own discretion, and try to make our home and family celebrations centered around more meaningful things, like having fun together!
With a little planning, you can help create a happy AND healthy Easter for your family. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1.    Choose a Healthier Theme for Easter Baskets. Chances are, your kids are going to get plenty of Easter candy between school, community, and family celebrations. Instead of focusing on filling their baskets up with candy, pick a healthier theme that appeals to your child’s interests or upcoming events. In years past, we have done a Sports theme, a Beach theme, a Garden theme, an Art theme, and a Rainy Day theme. My kids look forward to seeing what the new theme will be each year!

2.    Mix Up the Egg Hunt. Who says that all of the plastic eggs have to be filled with candy? Mix things up a bit. The anticipation of “What will be in the next egg?” makes the egg hunting even more fun. Fill some of the eggs with trinkets, money (always a BIG hit), or family fun “passes” (family movie night, stay up 30 minutes past your bedtime, a trip to the zoo, etc.). You can even turn your egg hunt into a scavenger hunt by filling each egg with a different clue leading everyone to a final prize or destination.

3.    Play with Your Food. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring. That’s what Pinterest is for, my friends! With a little creativity, you can create an Easter spread that is healthy and visually appealing to your children. Better yet, let your kids play with their food to come up with their own healthy Easter creations.

4.    Enjoy the Holiday. At the end of the day, holidays are meant to be joyful celebrations that bring family and friends together. Don’t stress over the little things. Instead, try to find a healthy balance that works for your family and then focus on enjoying the moments and time shared with those that bring the most love and joy to your life.

Happy Easter!

Sarah Young is a wife, mother of three, Health Education Specialist, and healthy living advocate. She created Health Wise Home several years ago to help educate, empower, and inspire others to "Eat Healthy. Live Well.". In her spare time, she enjoys running, hiking, gardening, and spending time with her family and her dog, Maple. You can find her at her website, Health Wise Home, and on Facebook, too!

Previous St. Patrick's Day Shenanigans I Have Had

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Published: 03/17/2016
This year I've been a little preoccupied with Silver Sparkles and I haven't done anything fun, but if you're still looking for some St. Patty's ideas, here's what I've got in the "blast from the past" department.

1) Leprechaun Room Raid (2012)
"We're neither Irish, nor Catholic, but Logan's favorite color is green and Riley spent all his free time building "Leprechaun Traps" after being jealous about the treats and mischief at Savannah's preschool.  I decided (at 12 am, which is when my best inspiration always strikes) that I'd go with it, so, here's what I did.  The leprechaun mischief:  This involved a skein of yarn, some tape, and a package of green balloons.  Luckily the kids are having a "sleepover" together tonight, so I only had to sneak around one room!!  In the kitchen I drew a picture and threw down some glitter.  I have 0 artistic skill, I know, so no laughing at my leprechaun!! Also on the table are goody bags for the kids.  Each kid got a shirt, bracelet, 7 Up, crayons, gum, granola bar, lollipop, and jello.  The boys have flat green shirts and green "lucky" bracelets."

2. Rice Krispies Treats Shamrocks (2010) 
(Did you know that you can dye your rice krispies treats any color you want by adding food coloring to the melted marshmallow goo? You can. You can also cut them and frost them to look like clovers. With decorator sugar. FYI.)

3. Teacher Gifts (2010) 
"These are a little more involved, but we did them over two days. So, here goes. First the supplies. You will need to assemble some glue, glitter, a terra cotta pot, your green scrapbooking paper scraps, scissors, bamboo skewers, a green crayon, tape, floral foam, small brads and ribbon. o, first things first, paint a line of glue around the top edge or rim of your pot and roll it in glitter. We put our floral foam inside first. Also, if you've never tried Martha Stewart's glitter- you totally should. So, next, paint a little glue on your floral foam (or sqeeze it out, whatever floats your boat) and let your baby cut up a ton of ribbon to be grass. We also added some confetti. That's optional :) So now we have a glittery pot of grass! Hooray! Next, cut up your scrap papers into hearts. You'll need 4 as far as I'm concerned, per 4 leaf clover. Savannah preferred 3 and Logan enjoyed 5. But I say 4. Either way, it was a good way to practice counting to whatever number. Line them up in circular formation, and attach them one at a time with the brad. We also had a little circle plastic embellishment that came in our brads. I had run out of green by the time I decided to take this picture, so there's an orange one. True story, the flag of Ireland is Green, Orange, and White. I'm an unintentional GENIUS ;) Fabulous! Now, peel your crayon a little so that you can use it on the side and color the skewers green. I'll wait. Done? Excellent. So, now you'll want to either glue or tape them to the back of your shamrock. I'm not very patient, so we prefer tape. Once you've assembled them, stick them into your floral foam. At the end, we add a square piece of paper to a skewer and write "I'm so lucky you're my teacher" and the child's name. Or, in Savannah's case, Coach, since she has a swim coach, but no teachers yet. :) Although this would be cute for a Sunday School teacher, too, no? People tend to forget them, and they need love, too!"

4. Limericks and Graphing Marshmallow Lucky Charms (2015) 
I should note that as the kids get older (and by kids, I mean "the boys") things get less cute at my house.  This "adorable" Limerick exercise ended up being about a dead guy.  Thank you 5th grade boys.
We also graphed Lucky Charms.  I made them glue them down and told them they couldn't eat them (I had extras as a treat) but the boys ended up licking theirs after they were glued down to show me who's boss.  Thanks, again, Y chromosome! 

Easter Egg Hunts 2016

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Published: 02/27/2016
Looking for fun springtime or Easter events in Manassas, Woodbridge, Gainesville, Lake Ridge, Bristow or Montclair? (Or maybe you're one of the brave folks who will drive all over Prince William County!) Here's what we've got! You can email us to add your event to this list for free, but please be kind to us and submit it in the same format you see all of these listings!!

Now, let's hop to it!

Event: Hippity Hoppity Pool Hunt
When: March 5th from 1-2pm
What:Egg Hunt and Open Swim event. Children will collect floating eggs in the pool and trade them for a “goodie bag”. Find the special egg and receive a special prize!  Children will be grouped by age for the Egg Hunt from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. Age Groups: 6 yrs and under (parents may help): 1:00pm - 1:20pm 7 to 9 yrs: 1:20pm – 1:40pm 10 to 12yrs: 1:40pm - 2pm  
Fee: $14/family of 4, $5/child, FREE to SBDCRC Passholders

Event: Breakfast with the Bunny at Matchbox (Potomac Mills)
When: March 12th from 8:30-10am
Where: Matchbox Potomac Mills
What: Potomac Mills will also be offering a chance to have Breakfast with the Bunny on
March 12th from 8:30 am to 10 am at Matchbox. The event is free, but seating is limited.  RSVP online.

Event: Bunny Frame Craft Class
When: March 12th from 10am-12pm
Where: Michaels Stores
What: They craft, you shop! Kids 3 and up can enjoy a quick project and take home a finished masterpiece. Sign up in store or online, or just drop in. $2 per child, supplies included. Parent or guardian must remain on premises during the event.
Fee: $2

Event: Eggstravaganza (Pool Egg Hunt) 
When: March 18th from 5-7pm or 7:30-9:30pm
Where: Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center
What: Lots of fun and an egg hunt in the pool! REGISTER ONLINE.
Fee: $14/child, parents free

Event: Easter Egg Hunt (includes adaptive option)
When: March 19th from 10am-12pm
Where: Costello Park, Manassas Park
What: Ages 0-7 can enjoy an egg hunt! Adaptive egg hunt available at 12pm.  Use the codes by age group to register online. 
Fee: $5

Event: Flashlight Egg Hunt
When: March 19th from 7-8pm
Where: Costello Park, Manassas Park
What: Ages 8-11 can enjoy a flashlight egg hunt.  Use activity number 7313 to register. 
Fee: $5

Event: Tissue Paper Eggs Craft Class
When: March 19th from 10am-12pm
Where: Michaels Stores
What: They craft, you shop! Kids 3 and up can enjoy a quick project and take home a finished masterpiece. Sign up in store or online, or just drop in. $2 per child, supplies included. Parent or guardian must remain on premises during the event.
Fee: $2

Event: Egg-cellent Easter Extravaganza
When: March 19th from 10am-12pm
Where: Chinn Park Aquatic and Fitness
What: Come join us for an Egg-cellent egg hunt, face painting, family games, crafts and bounce house fun.  Egg hunt is for children ages 2 - 12.  Must Register by March 10. 
Fee: $5.00 per child, free to children ages 2 and younger

Event: Monkey Joe's Easter Eggstravaganza (Sterling)
When: March 23rd from 2pm-close
Where: Monkey Joe's 
What: On Wednesday March 23, the location will be hosting an Easter Eggstravaganza with $7 admission from 2pm to close. “Easter Bunny Joe” will be available to take photos with children all day. He will also be handing out Easter eggs to each child.
Fee: $7

Event: Egg Hunt at Camp William B. Snyder
When: March 26th at 9am SHARP
Where: Camp William B. Snyder, Haymarket
What: Be here at 9am sharp! This event moves fast.  Children will be separated by age to hunt for filled plastic eggs. Keep an eye out for the prize winning golden eggs and make sure you bring a basket and your camera! The Easter Bunny will be there for photo ops and fun.
Fee: $5/child by March 23, $8 day of registration

Event: General's Ridge Egg Hunt
When: March 26, 2016 10am-12:30pm
Where: General's Ridge Golf Course
What: Join us for our First Easter Egg Hunt. Ages 4 & Under 10:00 am - 10:20 am, Ages 5-8 10:30 am -10:50 am, Ages 9-12 11:00 am - 11:20 am. Egg Hunt on our driving range. Must be accompanied by a parent. Crafts on our patio 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.

Event: National Community Church Gainesville Egg Hunt
When: March 26, 2016 2pm-4pm
Where: Buckland Mills Elementary School
What: Featuring carnival games, moon bounce, petting zoo, face painting, picture with a live Easter Bunny, local Fire Truck onsite, lots of free prizes, everyone wins, free raffle prizes including movie tickets, restaurant gift cards, Spark Scooter give-a-way and more. And of course a massive Easter egg hunt!

Event: Egg Hunts
When: When: March 12/13, 19/20, 26/27 and April 2/3 at 11am and 2pm
Where: Ticonderoga Farms
What: Egg hunts and farm fun.  The Easter Bunny will make appearances, too! 
Fee: $14.95 all day admission (open 10am-5pm) 
Event: Egg Hunt and Marshmallow Harvest
When: April 2/3 from 11am-1:30pm
Where: Great Country Farms (Bluemont)
What:  Your family won’t want to miss the first “crop” of the spring– Marshmallow Picking!! Do marshmallow peeps really grow on trees? Your children will be amazed to harvest a few marshmallows to roast on the bonfire with Farmer Bob. The Easter Bunny also hid some eggs, and we need you to help us find them! There will be multiple egg hunts each day this year, with over 18,000 eggs filled with treats to enchant your children.
Fee: $10

Easter Bunny Pictures at Potomac Mills Mall will run March 3-March 26th.  Times vary, but can be found online here

Easter Bunny Pictures at Manassas Mall will run March 9th-March 26th

Mon Ami Santa Pictures 2015

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Published: 11/16/2015
Want to have something a little different this year? Not interested in standing in line at the mall? Parlez-Vous Photography is offering "Mon Ami, Santa" sessions on November 22nd and 25th in Springfield, VA.  For more information, or to register, visit

Mon Ami, Santa {my friend, Santa} is a *15-minute interactive visit with your old friend St. Nick. Children are greeted by name, and spend their time with Santa talking about things that make them excited - things that make them genuinely laugh! Santa will guide children into jolly situations, without them ever knowing it. With a little help from you, we will make this time with Santa personalized and special for your family. (Parents are even welcome to send a gift early for Santa to deliver specially for your child).
Santa will be visiting from the North Pole for two special days!
Sunday November 22 (10am-1pm)
Saturday Nov 28 (10am-1pm)

at The Historic Sydenstricker School House
8511 Hooes Road
Springfield, VA 22153
$150 for a 15-minute personalized visit with Santa. Includes:
one-on-one interactions with Santa photographed by Parlez-Vous Photography
Print package including 1-8x10, 1-5x7, 1-4x6, 4 wallets (all of one image)
Online gallery for image review and additional purchases
Complimentary Christmas card design with purchase of cards.

Turkey Cupcakes

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Published: 11/14/2015
Hi Guys!

If you followed me here from News Channel 8, welcome :)

Here's our video on how to make our Turkey Cupcakes! The materials you need are:
1- Cupcakes
2- Chocolate Frosting
3- Nutter Butter Cookies
4- Orange or Red Frosting
5- Eye Candies (or white and black frosting)
6- Candy Corn

A quick note on the candy corn- most grocery stores have already flipped over to Christmas, so they can be a little hard to find.  Check the clearance section, and if you can't find them there, then check an actual candy store.  Amazon always has your back as a last resort.

Hope you enjoy!

2015 Potomac Nationals Home Games

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Published: 05/14/2015
I tried to match up the promos I thought you guys would be interested in with the Potomac Nationals Home Games.  There's a few promotions every night, but some of them (i.e. Beer Tasting Night) aren't kid-centric so I skipped those :) Fireworks nights are hilighted in yellow, and the ever-popular $1 Monday is in aqua.  As always, BUY YOUR FOURTH OF JULY TICKETS EARLY!! That sucker sells out every year! 

I would WAY prefer to go to a P-Nats game than a Nats game.  I know that's sacrelige to some of you, but I hate parking in DC, I hate the enormous stadium where you are so far removed from the action, and I hate baseball.  There, I said it.  

And yes, I know, hate is a strong word. 

If I'm going to watch baseball, I'd rather be close in, not packed in (although on 4th of July it's cozy) and not pay some sketchy guy $50 when he's probably going to scratch up my car to park it.  

May 19th 7:05pm vs. Carolina
May 20th 7:05pm vs. Carolina
May 21st 7:05pm vs. Carolina
May 27th 5:05pm vs Wilmington DOUBLE HEADER
May 28th 7:05pm vs Wilmington
May 29th 7:05pm vs Wilmington
May 30th 6:35pm vs. Myrtle Beach FIREWORKS
May 31st 1:05pm vs. Myrtle Beach
June 1st 7:05pm vs. Myrtle Beach $1 MONDAY
June 2nd 7:05pm vs. Myrtle Beach
June 12th 7:05pm vs Frederick  KIDS RUN THE BASES/SCOUT NIGHT
June 13th 6:35pm vs. Frederick FIREWORKS/GIRL SCOUT NIGHT/BASES
June 14th 1:05pm vs. Frederick KIDS RUN BASES
June 18th 7:05pm vs Carolina
June 19th 7:05pm vs Carolina KIDS RUN THE BASES
June 20th 6:35pm vs. Carolina  FIREWORKS KIDS RUN THE BASES
June 21st 1:05pm vs. Carolina KIDS RUN THE BASES
June 28th 6:05pm vs Carolina FIREWORKS
June 29th 7:05pm vs Carolina DOLLAR MONDAY
June 30th 7:05pm vs. Carolina
July 4th 6:35pm vs Wilmington FIREWORKS
July 5th6:05pm vs Wilmington FIREWORKS
July 6th  7:05pm vs Wilmington DOLLAR MONDAY
July 7th  7:05pm vs Lynchburg
July 8th  7:05pm vs Lynchburg
July 9th  7:05pm vs Lynchburg SUMMER CAMP DAY
July 15th  7:05pm vs Myrtle Beach
July 16th  7:05pm vs Myrtle Beach
July 17th  7:05pm vs Myrtle Beach KIDS RUN THE BASES
July 18th  6:35pm vs Myrtle Beach FIREWORKS/ KIDS RUN THE BASES
July 31st  7:05pm vs Salem KIDS RUN THE BASES
August 1 6:35pm vs Salem FIREWORKS KIDS RUN THE BASES
August 2 6:05pm vs Salem FIREWORKS KIDS RUN THE BASES
August 11 7:05pm vs Winston-Salem
August 12 7:05pm vs Winston-Salem TEACHER APPRECIATION
August 13 12:05pm vs Winston-Salem SUMMER CAMP DAY
August 14 7:05pm vs Wilmington KIDS RUN THE BASES
August 16 6:05pm vs Wilmington FIREWORKS/ZIMMERMAN BOBBLEHEAD
August 24th 7:05pm vs Frederick DOLLAR MONDAY
August 25th 7:05pm vs Frederick
August 26th 7:05pm vs Frederick
September 1st 7:05pm vs. Myrtle Beach
September 2nd 7:05pm vs. Myrtle Beach
September 3rd 7:05pm vs. Myrtle Beach
September 4th 7:05pm vs. Salem KIDS RUN THE BASES
September 5th 6:35pm vs. Salem RALLY TOWEL/FIREWORKS/KIDS RUN BASES
September 6th  6:05pm  vs. Salem RALLY TOWEL/FIREWORKS/KIDS RUN BASES

September 7th 7:05pm vs. Salem RALLY TOWEL/DOLLAR MONDAY

Easter Egg Hunts/Events 2015

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Published: 03/04/2015
Some bunny told me you guys love egg hunts, egg rolls, and all things Easter Bunny! Great! Let's do this! Here are the events I know of happening in Prince William County, Manassas, and the nearby areas for you and your kiddos to enjoy!

(Please note- the White House Egg Roll lottery already happened.  There is not a way to get in after the fact. Don't ask me! Also note, if I'm missing your event, just email it to me!)

March 2015

March 20th
Eggstravaganza at the Freedom Center at two times, 5-6:30pm or 7-8:30pm. $10/child includes pool egg hunt, crafts, and meeting the bunny.
March 21/22, March 27/28, April 4/5

Ticonderoga Farms Egg Hunts

 Occoquan Bible Church from 10am-1pm. Free.

March 27th
Flashlight Egg Hunt- Costello Park Manassas ages 8-11, 7pm-8pm $5/child

March 28th
Eggstravaganza at National Community Church- 1pm to 3pm at Tyler Elementary. FREE carnival games, moon bounce, petting zoo, face painting, picture with a live chocolate bunny, fire truck, prizes, raffles, and egg hunt

Costello Park Manassas ages 7 and under, times vary 10-11:30am by age. $5/child

Ukranian Eggs- Learn to make painted eggs.  Family session from 10am-1pm.

Adaptive Egg Hunt- Miracle Field Manassas 12pm, $5/child

First Baptist Church of Woodbridge Easter Celebration 11am-3pm. Free.

Rippon Lodge Egg Hunt $5 per child, $2 per adult and children 2 and under free. Eggs have been hidden all over Rippon Lodge and we need your help to find them.  Egg Hunts will be at 11:30, 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30.

Egg Hunt at Dillingham Square

March 29th
Beeping Egg Hunt at Gari Melcher's Home (Falmouth) 2-4pm.  Specifically for visually impaired students and their families.

April 4th
Ben Lomond Historic Site, 10321 Sudley Manor Drive, Manassas, VA ​$5 per child, adults and children 2 and under free. Egg Hunts will be at 11:30, 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30

For more details visit their facebook event page here. 

Come to a FREE, family-fun filled Breakfast with the Easter Bunny!

New Life Linton Hall is hosting Breakfast with the Bunny at Piney Branch E.S. in Bristow, VA on Saturday, April 4th, 2015 from 8:00am-10:00am. Breakfast is being catered by Bob Evans and you’ll have a chance to decorate your own pancakes. But wait, there’s more… You’ll also be able to get photos with the Easter Bunny, play games, make crafts, hear great music, and have a chance at winning one of our giveaways. So invite your neighbors, friends, and co-workers and come hang out with us for some fun.

April 11
Marshmallow Harvest at Great Country Farms- 10am to 5pm, $10/child $12/adult at the gate.

Freedom Egg-Stravaganza 2015!!

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Published: 03/02/2015

New Years Eve 2014

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Published: 12/29/2014

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

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

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

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

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

Christ Chapel will offer a 10pm New Years Eve Service

Falls Church 

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

Holiday Ice Show at PW Ice Center!

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Published: 12/07/2014
Looking for a fun Holiday activity? Got a kid who's interested in ice skating? Check out this fun event from PW Ice Center! Be sure to bring a canned food item for ACTS as admission! 

Workday/Holiday Childcare Coverage

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Published: 09/18/2014

If you need workday coverage, check out these great offerings from the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center!! I love that Winter Break Camp is offered by individual days so that you can get just the amount that you need! 

Holiday/Teacher Work Day Camp (Ages 5-12)
While the teachers work...bring the students to play! Campers will participate in sports, crafts & swimming activities on their day off from school. Five year old campers MUST be currently enrolled in full day kindergarten. Please register at least one week in advance to avoid cancellation. 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. extended care included!!
Mon Oct 13 Tue Nov 4 Tue Nov 11
6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. $60 6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. $60 6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. $60 

Winter Break Camp (Ages 5-12)
Miss summer camp?! Keep your camper active during school winter break! Whether your camper attends one day or all six...each day will be filled with exciting camp activities! Camp will include sports and recreation arts, crafts, swimming and loads of fun. Send tennis shoes, snacks, lunch, swimsuit, and a towel. Campers at age 5 must be currently enrolled in full day kindergarten. Please register at least one week in advance to avoid cancellation. 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. extended care included, with the exception to 12/24 and 12/31.
Mon Dec 22 Tues Dec 23 Wed Dec 24 Fri Dec 26 Mon Dec 29 Tues Dec 30 Wed Dec 31
6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. $60 6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. $60 6:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. $60 6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. $60 6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. $60 6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. $60 6:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. $60 

Party Ideas: Leftover Potluck

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Published: 12/25/2013

Entertaining is one of my favorite things.  I love to fill our house up with family and friends and have a really great time.  Since we celebrate several holidays and birthdays between Thanksgiving and New Years, it's a good thing that I like entertaining, too!

However, entertaining for the holidays doesn't have to be complicated!  Last year, when I looked into my fridge at our Christmas leftovers (Day 3) and realized that I didn't have room in the fridge for anything new, but I didn't want to eat prime rib anymore, I decided that I was going to have everybody over!  A few Facebook messages later, my equally nutty friends had thrown some plastic wrap over their leftovers (and in the case of one party fan-favorite, grabbed a 12 pack of Taco Bell Tacos) and headed to my house for what would become the first-annual "Christmas Kotluck".  Everything I ever host somehow becomes annual.  In fact, when people RSVP "no" to things they frequently say "I'm busy this year- but when you do it next year, I'll be there!" Not sure how that happened, but whatever! I thought that we'd have trouble getting people out for a "leftover buffet", but everyone I asked said yes, and while you can't see it in this picture, we had over 30 people crammed in our townhouse for this between adults and kids! Half-drunk bottle of wine? Bring it over! Half a honeybaked ham that you can't eat anymore? Great! We had beef, so it's a welcome change!  It was actually really fun!
Unrelated Aside: Yes, Kotluck.  Because our last name is Kotlus.  I grew up with the last name "Schnack" and I thought I'd gotten over things like "I'm really hungry, I could go for a Schnack" and "Hey, Kristina! We're going to call your group of friends the "Schnack Pack"! Like Pudding!" and "Running, huh? I guess that makes you a healthy Schnack!" But noooooo, now there's a Kotluck.  Brilliant. 

This was BY FAR the best party I've ever hosted.  Nobody had to prepare anything, so everyone was completely un-stressed.  I threw a few plastic tablecloths on over every surface I could find that would pass as a table, everyone enjoyed someone else's new-to-them food.  We even all agreed to be horrible parents and feed the kids first before sending them off to play so we could enjoy "grown up" dinner! After eating, everyone stayed and played games until late into the evening. 

Even this "guy":

While I may joke about everything becoming "annual", our leftover potluck is definitely a new tradition I plan on keeping this year, too!  Fun, low-cost, and fabulous, it was worth repeating as a great way to have friends over without busting our budget or stretching our sanity to the breaking point!!  How do you keep your holiday entertaining simple and easy? 

(PS- sorry about the odd pictures- I forget to ask people's permission to use them in posts, which limits me to pictures without faces!!)

Veggie Tray Soup

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Published: 12/16/2013

Believe it or not based on my cow-like build, I actually try to keep things relatively healthy around here.  That means that when I'm doing lots of entertaining, I make a lot of veggie trays.  I feel like if I fill 3/4 of my plate with raw veggies, I can fill the last 1/4 with a treat and not being doing too badly for myself.  That means, too, though, that I end up with a lot of odds and ends form my veggie trays.  Celery, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower all end up in baggies together and they never make it to the next tray, they just hang out in my fridge.  

Inspired by my children's love of Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheddar Soup, I decided I would make Veggie Tray Soup using a similar  flavor profile.  It's super easy, too!  Shred/Chop/Coarsely Food Processor the mixed veggies of your choice.  I used 2 cups of chopped veggies, total.  

Next, in a soup pot, place 1 tablespoon of butter and 1/2 a cup of chopped onion and sauté until the onions are clear and cooked through.  Next, add the veggies plus and 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil and cook until the vegetables are your desired level of doneness, between 5-10 minutes depending on your taste and the size you chopped your vegetables. 

Next, add one can of Cheddar Cheese condensed soup (I said it was easy and good, not gourmet!) and 1/2 cup of whatever mixed cheeses you have laying around, and heat until cooked through and warm.  If the soup isn't thin enough, use milk to think it out.  I also added salt and pepper to taste.

If you'd rather not use the condensed soup, you can easily switch it out.  After cooking your onion and butter, and then add and additional 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of flour, and cook while stirring for 3 minutes.  Then, add 1.5 cups of milk, 1.5 cups of chicken stock, stirring until slightly thickened, and then your vegetables (cooked in water and drained).  1 cup of shredded cheese will finish you up nicely.  

Enjoy!  (We had ours with warm Pampered Chef Beer Bread, and it was awesome!) 

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.

Giveaway: Lia Sophia with Anne Monseur

Permalink to Giveaway%3A%20Lia%20Sophia%20with%20Anne%20Monseur
Published: 11/27/2013
Last week there was a magician at my house.  I think I told you guys that.

What I don't think I told you was that Lia Sophia advisor Anne Monseur came over, too, and she's something of a magician herself!  I selected a necklace from the Lia Sophia catalog to check out the quality and style in person (pictures never do jewelry justice), and when Anne brought it over, she whipped out a connected set of scarves as good as any magician I'd ever seen and showed me how amazing my necklace looked on different backgrounds.

Y'all, I had to go buy a green sweater because of her trick!  I wish I had it on YouTube to show you!

The necklace that I picked "because I have so much blue", Anne showed me was an incredibly versatile addition to my wardrobe! I think that means buying the other pieces in the collection is justified by how many outfits I can work with....

Enough about me- let's talk about jewelry.  This is the Ocean Air necklace that I selected:
I love it.  A lot.

However, Lia Sophia has a range of beautiful products, from necklaces, to earrings, from traditional pieces to statement jewelry.

The best part, of course, is the price point.  Not only are the pieces affordable, right now when you purchase 2 items, you get the 3rd and MOST expensive piece at 50% off.  That means if you buy two pairs of earrings (starting around $19) and a $100 necklace, your necklace is $50.


Additionally, if you really need to overhaul (or fill) your jewelry box, December hostesses get 60% (sixty!!) of their party sales in free jewelry as well as hostess exclusive pieces for a great price- like this Dulce Bracelet, $128 normally, which is a hostess exclusive for $20!  Anne tells me that her most recent November hostess raked in $1,052 worth of free jewelry!
Bling bling.

I loved so many of the pieces in the Lia Sophia catalog, the hardest part was choosing.  Christmas is coming, though, so if you have a wish list, Anne will be more than happy to help your husband start working on it!

For our giveaway, Anne Monseur- Lia Sophia Advisor is offering a beautiful piece of jewelry between $75 and $125- get this, YOU get to pick!! As an added bonus, even if you don't win, if you sign up to host a December OR January party you'll get a free $100 piece of jewelry when you tell her you found her on PwcMoms in addition to all the hostess benefits I already mentioned! Enter using the Rafflecopter below!! Good luck!! Don't forget to look at the catalog carefully- if you win, you'll get the piece you select in the comments!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

View our complete rules, which you agree to when you enter, HERE.  This contest is not affiliated with Facebook, iTunes, Android, Apple, Google Play, or anybody else cool.  Prize provided by giveaway sponsor.  Good Luck, and remember that earrings and necklaces will fit no matter how many servings of apple pie you have on Thanksgiving.

Guest Post: Santa at Fair Oaks Mall

Permalink to Guest%20Post%3A%20Santa%20at%20Fair%20Oaks%20Mall
Published: 11/26/2013
My post about the Santa at Potomac Mills sure got you guys fired up.  I love hearing your opinions, though! I asked for additional pictures/details from other malls and events that people said were better, and Samantha from Happily a Housewife (also a PWC Resident!) shared her experiences at Fair Oaks Mall this year.  Thanks Samantha!! 

Thanksgiving is here, and with that December and the holiday season are right around the corner.  I don't know about you, but in our house, my kids are already making their list for Santa. 
We are lucky to live in an area with so many malls and "Santa" events.  But it can get a bit overwhelming deciding where to take your little ones, where has the best atmosphere, shortest wait, helpful staff.
Our choice is Fair Oaks Mall.  Although not in PWC, it is very close, and has an amazing display.

When you enter the ice palace, it is magical.  You enter into a giant snow globe, complete with snow falling!

I was at the mall for an event recently, and actually got to take a few minutes to speak with a staff member.  Here are some tips she shared with me....

1.  Weekdays are going to be the least crowded.  However, avoid Monday afternoons.  (Fairfax County Schools have shortened days on Mondays)
2.  Black Friday morning is surprisingly slow, as many adults are out shopping, or avoiding the malls altogether. 
3.  At Fair Oaks while they do want to keep the line moving, they really want each child to get their time, special moment with Santa.
4.  There is no fast pass line.  At some malls you can pay more to get in a separate faster moving line.  This however makes the regular line run even slower. 

In addition to photos with Santa, you can also get a photo taken with The Princess as well.  It really is a great experience that children of all ages will love!

While at Fair Oaks Mall, if your children are younger, be sure to check out the BRAND NEW Michael and Son Play Area. 

My favorite feature is the heat activated paint splotch.  When placing your hand on the soft mat, the heat from your body actually changes the color of the mat!


Hi I am Samantha.  My husband, 3 kids, and I have lived in PWC for 5 years.  Check out My Blog, to see more.  I also want to thank Andrea from Real Housewives of Northern Virginia for hosting a great event at Fair Oaks Mall.
Note from Kristina: Thanks so much to Samantha for the post, and also, be sure to check out Real Housewives' additional pictures from her annual Sensory-Friendly Santa event at Fair Oaks. 

Sponsored Post: Holiday Sessions with BelaJuli Photography

Permalink to Sponsored%20Post%3A%20Holiday%20Sessions%20with%20BelaJuli%20Photography
Published: 11/02/2013
BelaJuli Photography will be offering Holiday Mini Sessions at the Monuments in DC!! With two dates, November 23rd and December 14th, you'll want to book now to ensure you've got your pictures to impress family!! I especially love the idea of pictures in DC for military families that may only be here for a year or two- what a fun way to capture where you're living this year!!

30 minute sessions are $65.00 plus tax and include 5 digital images with the option to purchase additional.  Email to schedule!

Easter 2013: The Medical Leave Edition

Permalink to Easter%202013%3A%20The%20Medical%20Leave%20Edition
Published: 03/19/2013
Things take me a lot longer after 16 hours of brain surgery.  Yes, I said 16 hours. 

So, this is probably not the best Egg Hunt and Easter Guide I've ever done, but if you're looking for Egg Hunts for Kids in Prince William County or Easter Activities for kids in Prince William County, I can say I wrote something. 

Here we go.

Ticonderoga Farms Spring Easter Festival daily through April 7th.  $8.95 weekdays, $11.95 weekends.  Check the link for special events each weekend.

Egg Hunt and Marshmallow Harvest, select weekends at Great Country Farms. 

Friday, March 22 
(Not Easter, but I'm adding it anyway)

Saturday March 23
Stafford Parks and Rec- Join the excitement in this fun-filled day to celebrate Spring. Children will enjoy a day of activities including an egg hunt. Price includes all activities (food not included); no charge for adults. In case of inclement weather, the event may be moved to Sunday. Schedule 11 AM - 3 PM Food Vendors & amusements! 11:30 AM Egg Hunt for 2 and under 12:00 PM Egg Hunt for 3-4 12:30 PM Jonathan Austin Show 1:30 PM Egg Hunt ages 5-7 2:00 PM Egg Hunt ages 8-10. REGISTER USING LINK

Festival at Old Bridge will have a free egg hunt and pictures with the bunny from 11-1.  12351-12555 Lake Ridge VA 22192
Sunday March 24
Good Shepherd is offering a very special opportunity on Sunday evening, March 24th to experience “Chapel of the Cross.”  The sanctuary will be open from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. for you to come at your leisure and experience the passion of Jesus in the Stations of the Cross—Good Shepherd style.  There will be 14 stations plus an opening and closing area to experience and to contemplate the blessing of Jesus’ gift of himself to us. All adults and families are welcome to enter the chapel, but we ask that you please be respectful of the experience that others are having, maintaining the reverence and the quiet of the room.  14999 Birchdale Avenue Dale City VA (This is right next to the baseball fields near KMart)

Join us for Woodbine's Annual Community Easter Egg Hunt
This Saturday March 23 , 2013
From 10am-Noon
Egg Hunt, Games and Special Prizes!
To Pre-register call : 571-399-7159
12914 Canova Drive
Manassas, VA 20112
Make sure to bring something to pick up your eggs in!

Freedom Center- Bring your children to Freedom for our Spring Fling!  Meet the bunny and participate in activities including egg hunts by age group, arts, crafts, games, sports and more!  1-4pm
$8 in advance
$12 at the door
Parents Free!

First Baptist Church of Woodbridge will host a "Living Last Supper" from 6:30-8:30pm.  Call the Church Office for additional details. 13600 Minnieville Road Woodbridge (the big one across from Bally Total Fitness)

Monday, March 25
Stafford Parks and Rec- Join the Easter Bunny for a hunt just for the little ones! Don’t forget to bring a basket! You must pre-register for this event. Hunt will be held indoors in the event of rain. Ages 5 & under only.  REGISTER USING THE LINK

Friday, March 29
All Saints Anglican Church will offer a child-friendly Good Friday service. Using child-friendly drawings, participation, and concrete teaching tools, children will be gently lead along "the Way of the Cross".  4pm-5pm.  Please plan to stay with your child, although nursery care will be provided. 14851 Gideon Way Woodbridge.  (This is right next to Hylton Chapel

Family Funrise with the Easter Bunny. Crafts, Bouncehouse, and Easter Egg Hunt.  Chick Fil A at Bristow, 9:00am-11:00am

12-6pm, "Pre-Easter Skate" at Skate N Fun Zone Manassas

Saturday, March 30
Pump it Up Manassas will host Egg Hunts in two morning sessions! Sign up now to pay less. 
Grab the kids and a camera and join us for an inflatably fun Easter Egg Hunt! Kids will be eggstatic searching for eggs and bouncing on our giant inflatables with friends. They'll even get to meet the Easter Bunny! Don't forget your Easter basket! This event normally sells out - don't wait!

Kids ages 2-11
Meet the Easter Bunny and hunt for eggs at the Eggstravaganza. This annual event is held Saturday March 30, at the Lake Ridge Association office (12350 Oakwood Drive) and begins at 9AM sharp. All children 0-10 are eligible; parents must pre-register children by Wednesday March 27, in order to participate. The cost is $3 for LRPRA Members and $5 for Non-Members. Don’t forget your cameras and Easter baskets. Call the Recreation Department 703-491-2154 for more details.

Free Biblical Egg Hunt at Chick Fil A at Bristow Jelly Bean craft, Storytime, Bouncehouse, Live farm animals, Easter Bunny visit, and a Easter Egg Hunt. 2:00-4:00pmSunday, March 31
Leesylvania State Park's Annual Egg Hunt from 1:30-1:45 (don't be late!)  Hunt for prize-filled Easter eggs. Kids can color eggs, play games and make crafts. Learn about the history of the Easter egg and why it became a holiday tradition. Meet at the Visitor's Center

1- Why didn't you email it to me sooner?  No that's not the same as posting it on my facebook wall, too many things get posted there for me to read every single Easter event and remember to move it here!
2- Don't worry, I still love you, but since I am slow, please just post your event as a COMMENT ON THIS POST (not to facebook) so that anyone who reads this post can find it.  If the ability to post again hits me, I will try to move things up to their proper spot, but I make no promises.
3- I will (God Willing) be better next year and make an earlier and more comprehensive list. 

Valentines for Troops

Permalink to Valentines%20for%20Troops
Published: 01/24/2013

(submitted via email) 

I am organizing a 'Valentine for Soldiers' collection on behalf of an organization called Operation Interdependence.

Operation Interdependence is a nationwide non-profit organization that provides a means for community

members to support troops serving on the front lines, military families and veterans. Their long term goal is to ensure that every Solider, Sailor, Airman and Marine is served from the time they don the uniform to the day they are honorably laid to rest.

Your Valentine will be sent to our troops overseas, and can be a word of encouragement, a word of thanks, a poem, a card, or even a picture. 
Here are the details:
The Valentines can be handmade, store bought, created in Word/Powerpoint, etc.
You can donate more than one.
Do not include any contact information.  Just your name if you'd like.
No glitter(it sticks to the uniform and glows in the dark)

Mail To:
5797 Websters Way Manassas Va 20112 by February 2nd, 2013

MLK Day of Service 2013

Permalink to MLK%20Day%20of%20Service%202013
Published: 01/17/2013
Prince William County has lots of opportunities for volunteer service, including on the Martin Luther King, Jr.  Day of Service which will take place January 21st, 2013.

Many local organizations are taking part, including scout dens and troops, and even classes.  The MLKDay.Gov website features lesson plans for teachers who want to encourage a legacy of community service, as well as opportunities for individual volunteers to pledge their time.

If you're not already involved with a service organization, the MLK Day website is linked to "All for Good" which can help you find service projects in our area.  On the 21st, here are a few ideas:

Help make soldier care packages at Leesylvania State Park from 11am-3pm
Help clean up Mason Neck State Park (Lorton) from 9am-2pm
Donate used coats at any Burlington Coat Factory, including Potomac Mills and Manassas
Want to drive to DC? Pack 100,000 care packages with Points of Light

Alternatively, serve in smaller ways.  Young children can light up someone's day with a phone call, or you can help a neighbor get their Christmas lights down.  Clean up a median in your neighborhood, or drop off some cans at ACTS.

Are you planning to serve on the 21st? What are you doing?

Kid Friendly New Year's 2013

Permalink to Kid%20Friendly%20New%20Year%27s%202013
Published: 12/31/2012
New Year's Eve in Prince William County has a few fun options for kids!!

Christ Chapel will be offering a NYE service at 10pm. 13909 Smoketown Road Woodbridge VA

The Cavalier Family Skating Center will host an a New Year's Party.  Monday, December 31st from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am. They will be giving away an iPad Mini (must be present to win). Black Outs, Games, Flash Light Skates, Dances, Balloon Drop. Tickets are $20. Receive FREE skate rental with an advanced ticket purchase. 1924 Jefferson Davis Highway Stafford, VA 22554

Skate N Fun Zone will also have some options:

Kids In Motion offers an annual Kids' Party for ages 3 to 12  from  7 pm - 9 am.  It's $35 for the first child and $30 for each additional sibling.  RSVP by December 27th to save $5 per child.  Pizza, games, hats, necklaces and a balloon drop at 10pm.  Call 703-878-0100, must pay in advance.

If you want to keep the kids home with you (and asleep) Jump N Jimmy's will have open bounce from 10am-6pm.  Work them hard and put them to bed early ;)

Leesylvania Park will offer a “First Day Hike,” so you can start the new year with some exercise! This is a self-guided hike along Lee’s Woods trail; plus a scavenger hunt for young hikers, 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Leesylvania State Park, 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Dr. Woodbridge. Parking, $4. 703-583-6904.

Giveaway: Cosatto OTM Highchair from Baby Blossom

Permalink to Giveaway%3A%20Cosatto%20OTM%20Highchair%20from%20Baby%20Blossom
Published: 11/20/2012
It's November, a time to be thankful.  Personally, I am so thankful for the people and businesses who support this website.  Believe it or not, it takes a lot of time to do updates, blog posts, and giveaways, and it costs money to host content.  I am also thakful for the cool stuff that my family gets to do, but having a business say they support families in our area by actually sponsoring the content here on Prince William County Moms means so much to me, and it should mean a lot to you, too.  When Baby Blossom supports, they're effectively saying they're willing to spend money so you can continue to have the content and calendar that you come here to utilize.  I encourage you to support them, in return.

This month, Baby Blossom is offering a great giveaway item, just in time for some of those big holiday meals!! Whether you're dining at home, at a restaurant, or traveling to Grammy's house (and you know that grammy doesn't have a high chair anymore!) this High Chair will have you covered.

Cosatto On The Move High Chair
Retail Value: $149
Cosatto's On the Move highchair is ideal for babies and families who are always on the go. Equally stylish and functional, it features a one-hand, single action fold/unfold, extra-lightweight but sturdy frame, footrest, wipe clean tray and removable polyester seat pad. Five-point harness is adjustable to provide sitting comfort for your growing baby and the seat's funky colors and cute vegetable graphics tell anyone and everyone that it's your little one's time to eat. Convenient travel bag included. Suitable for children 6 months and older up to 35 lbs.
What a great prize for those of you that travel during the holidays (or anytime, really!).  I would have loved to have a high-chair that folded up that easily just for when we went down the street to neighbors that didn't have babies anymore!
Enter using the Rafflecopter below.  Contest ends next week on November 28, 2012.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Trick or Treating in Prince William County

Permalink to Trick%20or%20Treating%20in%20Prince%20William%20County
Published: 10/30/2012
Many of you have asked what day and time Prince William County trick or treating is.  Apparently in some parts of the country they change trick-or-treat to be a weekend night each year so that children aren't tripped out on candy and less sleep than normal on a school night.

Please, we know how much our teachers love overtired children with a sugar buzz ;)

In Prince William County (with possible exceptions if you live in a neighborhood with a home owners association) whether you're in Woodbridge, Gainesville, Haymarket, or Lake Ridge, trick-or-treat happens on October 31st, regardless of the day of the week, from dusk to 9pm.  As a general courtesy, and for safety reasons, only knock on doors that have well-lit porches and interiors.  

The Department of Fire and Rescue reminds you that when trick-or-treating:
Child Pedestrians
• Children under 12 should trick-or-treat and cross streets with an adult.
• Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
• Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Parents should remind children to watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
• Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Walk, don’t run, across the street.

• Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
• Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day so you can spot children from greater distances.
• Remember costumes can limit children’s visibility and they may not be able to see your vehicle.
• Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

If you would rather not trick-or-treat in your neighborhood, there are several local churches and areas that typically offer trunk or treat options on halloween night (but check their website to make sure):
~First Baptist Church of Woodbridge (not in 2012)
~Potomac Mills Mall beginning at 6pm
~Christ Chapel (not in 2012)
~ Manassas St. Thomas  (appears to be on- 6:30pm)
~Manassas Baptist (appears to be on- 6pm)
~First Nazarene Woodbridge (appears to be on- 7pm)

If you'd like to add your church or location to the list, please just shoot me an email

Bull Run Conservancy Halloween Safari

Permalink to Bull%20Run%20Conservancy%20Halloween%20Safari
Published: 09/06/2012
Bull Run Maountain Conservancy will host a non-scary Halloween Safari this year! Check out the flier below for details.  This event is also listed on our calendar. 

4th of July Events 2012

Permalink to 4th%20of%20July%20Events%202012
Published: 06/25/2012
Looking for something fun to do in or around Prince William County for the 4th of July? Fireworks, baseball, and kid friendly family fairs are all on our list of great things to do this Independence Day in Prince William County!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Milla's Playland A Play Gym Designed for Parents and Children Aged 10 Months to 4 1/2 Years...