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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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

Giveaway: Lia Sophia with Anne Monseur

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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.

Brilliant!

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

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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

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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 MAzurero@belajuliphotography.com to schedule!

Easter 2013: The Medical Leave Edition

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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.

ONGOING THROUGHOUT THE SEASON:
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


IF YOU WANT TO ADD YOUR EVENT:
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

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Published: 01/24/2013

(submitted via email) 


Greetings!
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

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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

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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

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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 PwcMoms.com, 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

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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.

Drivers
• 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

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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

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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. 

For Those Who Serve- Memorial Day 2012

Permalink to For%20Those%20Who%20Serve-%20Memorial%20Day%202012
Published: 05/23/2012
A few freebies for our moms and dads in uniform:

Prince William County Historic Sites are part of the Blue Star Program for Museums, which offers Military Families free admission to over 1,500 museums nationwide from Memorial Day (May 28) through Labor Day (September 3). Any holder of a CAC, DD Form 1173 ID, or DD Form 1173-1 ID, National Guard and Reserve members PLUS up to five family members.

The Virginia Renaissance Faire honors "past and present members of the Armed Forces" this weekend (Memorial Day) by providing a free admission with Military ID.  Dependents and friends are asked to pay the regularly low $9 ticket price.

Manassas Park Community Center will be offering 15% off ANY membership (single, dual, family) to active, inactive and retired military who sign up this weekend. These memberships include Signal Bay Waterpark.

(Not sure how family-friendly this is, but...) All active duty military and veterans can get 10 free wings (boneless or traditional) at Hooters all day on Monday, May 28th with a drink purchase.

Kings Dominion offers free admission to active, inactive, or retired US Military service men and women with valid ID on May 26/27 and July 3/4.

Shenandoah Caverns provides a free Adult Combination ticket to active or retired service members with valid ID.  Their admission is already buy one adult ticket get one child free.

Colonial Williamsburg will be offering a "Honoring Service to America Ticket", which is free admission for the entire historic area.  These tickets are valid for active cut, reserve, retirees, veterans and their families.  The service member need not be present (if you are the family of a deployed service member) but valid ID is required.  A Memorial Day Commemorative Program begins at 10am on May 28th.


NOT on Memorial Day- but the Potomac Nationals do a Military Appreciation Night on June 22nd.  Ticket distribution is via the USO.

Let's Get Real About Mother's Day

Permalink to Let%27s%20Get%20Real%20About%20Mother%27s%20Day
Published: 05/01/2012


 This guide is generously brought to you by Let Mommy Sleep.  LMS offers overnight infant care from licensed and registered nurses.  Not a bad gift idea!
Nurturing care to newborns and infants overnight, so that families can thrive during the day.visit them at: www.letmommysleep.com


Hello Moms.

I know this site is typically for you, but I'd like you to pass the computer to your significant other for a moment.

Hello Dads/Boyfriends/Grandparents standing in/Life Partners(it's 2012, I get it),

Let's have a chat about Mother's Day, shall we? See, the thing is that on Father's Day, you guys get to lounge around, skip church, go golfing and generally have a day of peace and tranquility capped by steaks on the grill.

Somehow, on Mother's Day, we seem to be awakened by being jumped on at 5am and force-fed soggy Cheerios while you smirk at us from behind our children.  We bought you a new Weber Grill last Father's day, and you helped the kids color us a picture? Really?


[Sidebar: We love our children and their adorable artwork, and always cherish it, but that doesn't mean you can't step up your game.]

So, this year, let me help you out a little.  There's some great ways to celebrate your mom in and around Prince William County.


Step 1- Breakfast.  NO SOGGY CEREAL.  If you're going to let the kids make breakfast, then the food should not be any of the following: Burned toast, burned Eggo Waffles, burned pop tarts, untoasted pop tarts, cereal that has been "marinating" in milk for more than 20 minutes while you burned the toast, cold eggs.  If that sounds like more involvement at 5am then you're willing to take on, why not help the kids make a reservation instead?
This is a no, unless you know it's her favorite.

*Bistro L'Hermitage, reservations required in advance, will be serving a special meal from 11am-7pm. 


*Bristow Manor Golf Club, reservations required by May 5th.


*City Square Cafe, Manassas
They'll be hosting their Mother's Day Brunch again this year.  Check their website for menu and pricing.


*Madigan's Waterfront will serve brunch from 9:30am-3pm, adults $21.95, kids 5-10 $8.95, 4 and under free.  Reservations highly recommended.


*Osprey Landing at Belmont Bay will host a Mother's Day Brunch.  Reservations necessary. 10am-3pm, $25 adults, $15 children 6-12, ages 5 and under free.  Each mom receives a rose.


*Pane E Vino, Lorton
Brunch also includes a mimosa for each adult.  Drive home and let mommy dearest have yours, too.


*Potomac Point Winery, Stafford
Mother's Day Brunch where the only "whine" is coming from a glass.  Winning. 


*Stonewall Golf Club will have brunch with seatings at 11am and 2:30pm, adults $29.95 and children 6-12 $14.




Step 2- Do Something Fun.  If your wife/girlfriend is of the Stay at Home variety, she's probably been to the local playground enough this week.  Let's try something new, shall we?

*All Prince William Historic Sites will give a complimentary tour to mothers who visit on Mother's Day Weekend.  Don't judge- some of us like history. Children under 6 are also free, everyone else is $5/pp.

*Take a river boat tour! Captain Mark at Miss River Shore Charters has offered our PwcMoms a discount of 50% (for moms only, additional riders at full price).  One hour tours run from 12-8pm and are $10 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under, and kids under 4 are free! You can buy food and drinks on board, or you can bring your own.  (A picnic from Dixie Bones might be an excellent idea.)

* The Manassas Museum will have free admission for all mothers, with children under 6 also free, on Mother's Day Sunday.


*Leesylvania State Park will host an 1860's Mother's Day Tea.  $6 per person, registration by May 12th required, space is limited, so reserve early! Don't forget your hat and gloves. 

*Just Between Friends will have special prize drawings for moms who choose to shop on Mother's Day.  You know she likes to shop anyway! 

*When's the last time you got family photos done? Schedule a shoot with Keys Photography and enjoy having some fun and capturing memories.  They're running a special for Mother's Day, too!  Want to make it even more special?

Step 3- Presents.  They don't have to be expensive, but we know if you threw a Strawberry Shortcake coloring book page at the kiddo 2 seconds before they gave it to us.  Hint number one- they colored it in the pencil from your toolbench because you didn't have time to find the crayons. Homemade and low-cost can still be thoughtful and well-done.  

*Michaels Arts and Crafts will host several Mother's Day activities that you can take your child to so they can custom-make something special and low-cost.  Most of the options involve buying the main item (like a coffee mug or apron) and Michael's providing the decorating supplies and embellishments. 

 *Cox Farms is also offering a free mother's day gift! On Saturday, May 12th from 11am-2pm your 2-10 year old can get a free plant and decorate a pot for mommy! No pre-registration is required, just show up. This is at their Centreville Market location, which is probably most convenient to Manassas families.

 Got a little more cash (and a little better planning)? Check out the following:

*Paint Your Heart Out in Occoquan will let you decorate and fire keepsakes from your little one.  Keep in mind there is a turnaround period because the pieces have to cure before they're fired. 

*Touch of Gold in Occoquan offers some great options in all price ranges.  One great idea? Start a Troll Bracelet for mommy, and then you can pick her up a bead for each subsequent mother's day.  Takes all the guess work out of what to get her! Just in time for Mother's Day, if you buy an upgraded clasp, you get the sterling silver bracelet for free!! Trollbeads rings are 50% off and Kameleon Jewelpops are buy 2 get 1 free.  They'll also have 20% off pearls and 50% off selected already reduced sale items

At Touch of Gold, you can start your bracelet with just one or two pieces.  Ask for stoppers if she doesn't like to jingle.
*Polka Dot Divas (also Occoquan) has some awesome choices. An initial coffee mug filled with her favorite blend or tea, a fun photo display for the wall or fridge with some great shots of her and the kids? Magic.

*Need flowers? I highly recommend Michael's Florist in Lake Ridge.  They do really quality work and also have a lovely storefront. (703) 590-3200. 


*Lake Ridge Nursery has some adorable items in their store as well as goregous flowers for the front yard.  A little elbow-grease getting the front yard looking fantastic isn't a bad present, and a new rose bush or flowering tree will be a sweet reminder all year long.


*Wegmans Stores nationwide will have decorate a cake for mom.  Prices and times vary by store.


*Statements the Salon and Statements on the Water are offering a special Mother's Day promotion on gift certificates.  Purchase a $100 gift card and get a $10 gift certificate, purchase $250 get $35, or purchase $500 get $150. 


*Order now to get great items from our past giveaway sponsors!! Click on the link in the top menu that says "Business Reviews" for great consultants in everything from jewelry to handbags to home goods!
Hopefully these ideas will help you make the mom in your life feel like the rockstar we know she is!! Being a mom is hard, and she deserves a day to feel like royalty! Have another great idea? Email it to us, we'd be happy to add you to our list!

Historic Dumfries Egg Hunt 2012

Permalink to Historic%20Dumfries%20Egg%20Hunt%202012
Published: 04/17/2012
So....here's the thing. 

It's so awesome that places do free egg hunts....but...

While there were tons of eggs, children were not sub-divided enough, and the hunts for the two age groups started at the exact same time, so if you have children in the youngest age group and children in the older age group, you'll have to choose which ones you want to supervise, or make your younger child participate with all the older kids (which is what I opted to do). If there were more subdivisions than "toddler" and "everyone else" it wasn't clearly marked so I wasn't aware of them.  The hunt started two minutes early (according to my iphone) and was over in 30 seconds.  The biggest problem, though, is parents and older siblings running around preventing the kids from having fun by either taking eggs or blocking children from getting them so that their child can.

Apparently there were some larger toys (balls, etc) that were handed out, but they ran out very quickly and most of the children around us didn't get one, which was no big deal, but several children were devastated.  The Easter Bunny was on hand for pictures, and Face Odyssey was there doing face painting.  We opted to get in the face painting line, and I have to say that the Face Odyssey woman did an absolutely fantastic job.  The line was a little crazy because, again, of the parents.  We had one person standing in front of us who we assumed was holding a place for his kids.  I have no problem with that, I'd rather have the kids playing nearby than crying in line- but he was actually "holding a place" for two families with a total of 6 kids, so when we thought we were next, we actually had 6 kids leap in front of us.  Not awesome.

By the time we got to the front of the line, the event had actually ended and there were still people waiting behind us.  The Easter Bunny was gone, and the lady from Face Odyssey had decided to stay late to try to get everyone who'd waited so long through.  I'm not sure if they paid her extra for her time or if she just stayed, but it was very kind of her either way.  My guess is that the weather was so unseasonably warm that way more people showed up than the planners were anticipating, but separating the age groups and having additional event staff to facilitate face painting and bunny pictures happening would have helped.  I didn't actually get pictures of the egg hunt since it happened the minute we arrived and was over so fast, but it looked like your standard egg hunt- so you can imagine :) The eggs aren't really "hidden" per se, they're more tossed all over the lawn, so it's less a hunt and more a "gather".

Breakdown:
Dumfries Egg Hunt
Pros: Free, beautiful location, great face painting
Cons: All kids hunt at once, not enough supplies/special activity personnel for number of children attending.
Warnings: Parents can get out of control at these egg hunts.  Merchant's Park is gorgeous, but it doesn't have a PA system, so announcements made from the Gazebo can be a little hard to hear if you're on the outskirts of the area.

Easter Egg Hunts 2012

Permalink to Easter%20Egg%20Hunts%202012
Published: 03/08/2012
Check out our latest guide: Easter Egg Hunts 2013
 


MARCH EVENTS:
March 15
Simon Kidgits (Potomac Mills Mall) are invited to a special Third Thursday Eggstravaganza from 10am-11am in the Grand Court featuring fun, hands-on holiday activities. 


March 18
Good Shepherd United Methodist Church (16999 Birchdale Ave Woodbridge VA) will offer a "Chapel of the Cross" from 6pm-8pm 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.   It takes reflecting on the passion out of your head, involving both your senses and your emotions.  It is a contemplative, relaxed experience, through which people will want to go at their own pace.  Accordingly, 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.   Children may desire to move through the stations at a quicker pace (unless you experience it together as a family), so we suggest you bring a quiet activity for your child to do while you finish your stations.  


March 17-April 15th
Ticonderoga Farms (26469 Ticonderoga Road, Chantilly VA 20152) will have their annual Spring Easter Festival including Egg Hunts, photo ops with the bunny, spring animals


March 24
 Pump it Up Manassas will be having Egg Hunts all day! Reservations are required, either online or by calling 703-749-8006.  $15/child includes bouncing, egg hunt, and the bunny. 


Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department (3510 James Madison Highway Haymarket) will host an egg hunt and breakfast buffet on Saturday, March 24th from 8:30-11:30am with a rain date of March 31st.  Adults $8, Children 5-12 $5, Under 5 $2.  Egg Hunt only $1 per child.

First Baptist Church of Woodbridge (13600 Minnieville Road Woodbridge) will present "On the Third Day", a rock-udrama about the Easter Story.  Saturday at 7pm, Sunday at 6:30pm.  Free.


March 25th
Pump it Up Manassas will be having Egg Hunts all day! Reservations are required, either online or by calling 703-749-8006.  $15/child includes bouncing, egg hunt, and the bunny. 


First Baptist Church of Woodbridge (13600 Minnieville Road Woodbridge) will present "On the Third Day", a rock-udrama about the Easter Story.  Saturday at 7pm, Sunday at 6:30pm.  Free.


March 26
Easter Bunny Luncheon (Stafford Rec- 1739 Jefferson Davis Highway Stafford VA 22554) Purchase your tickets in advance for ages 2-5.  Fee includes activities, lunch for one child.  Parents may buy lunch for $4.  $10/child for Stafford residents, $12/child non-resident.  540-658-4871



March 30
Manassas Park Community Center Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt Ages 8-11. This Easter egg hunt is for the older kids. Come search for eggs like never before! Once the sun goes down, the flashlights come on and you have to find the eggs in the dark. MPCC.F 7p-8p 3/30 $5/Child


March 31

Manassas Park Community Center Easter Egg Hunt Hippity, hoppity, Easter’s on its way! Don’t forget to pre-register for this annual event on 3/31/2012! Bring a basket and enjoy this early morning of fun and games for all. 15 minutes prior to the start of your egg hunt! $5/child MPCC. AGES TIME 1 and Under 10a. 2-3: 10:20a . 4-5: 10:40a . 6-7: 11a

First Baptist Church of Woodbridge's (13600 Minnieville Road, Woodbridge) Easter Celebration is scheduled for March 31, from 11-3.  There is usually an hour-long program for the kids, then the egg hunt, followed by other activities like cake walk and face painting.

Occoquan Bible Church (3700 Old Bridge Road, Woodbridge)  from 10am-1pm, OBC will host an egg hunt, pizza, games, and activities. 

Great Country Farms (18780 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont VA) will host their annual Peeps Harvest and Marshmallow Roast.  Spring animals, farm tours, hayrides, and more.  March 31-April 1st.  Times and admission at www.greatcountryfarms.com

St. Paul United Methodist Church (1400 G Street Woodbridge VA) 11am Children's Egg Hunt

Eggsplosion! Stafford (58 Jesse Curtis Lane, Hartwood VA 22406).  Children will enjoy a day of activities and an Egg Hunt.  $8/child before March 31st or $10/child at the gate. No charge for adults.  11am-3pm. 

Festival at Old Bridge Easter Egg Hunt
 Children will travel from store to store picking up treats from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. rain or shine. Entertainment for the Easter egg hunt includes balloon artists, face painter, temporary tattoos at Kings and Queens and photos with the Easter bunny that will be located inside Gymnastic World. Parents are welcome to bring their own cameras. Free collection bags are also available at Dairy Queen, Jason Yi’s Tae Kwon Do College and Gymnastic World. Pineapple Paint Co., will hand out free two-ounce color paint samples to the first 100 people. Cornerstone Christian Academy will host crafts, games, puppet shows and a cupcake and cookie walk. Gymnastic World will host a tumbling demonstration. Village Skis & Bike will have face painting and free helmet safety checks. The Dental Spa will host a craft and Quiznos will hand out a free lunch bag with coupons (while supplies last).

Hartland Orchard
Our favorite pick-your-own farm (3064 Hartland Lane, Markham VA) is having an egg hunt from 10am-5pm,  $7/person with under 3 free.




APRIL EVENTS:
April 1
Great Country Farms (18780 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont VA) will host their annual Peeps Harvest and Marshmallow Roast.  Spring animals, farm tours, hayrides, and more.  March 31-April 1st.  Times and admission at www.greatcountryfarms.com



Our favorite pick-your-own farm (3064 Hartland Lane, Markham VA) is having an egg hunt from 10am-5pm,  $7/person with under 3 free.

The Cavalier's 3rd Annual Easter Egg Hunt is happening Sunday, April 1st from 2:00 until all of the eggs have been found. Bring your favorite basket and join the fun. The Egg Hunt is FREE (and completely climate controlled :-) ). Find the Golden Egg and win a BIG prize from The Cavalier!



April 2
Preschool Egg Hunt Stafford (1739 Jefferson Davis Highway, Stafford VA) will have an Egg Hunt just for preschoolers at 11am.  MUST RSVP by March 26th.  540-658-4871 is the number to call. $3/child


April 5
Eggciting Easter Crafts (Stafford: 1739 Jefferson Davis Highway Stafford VA) 5-7pm.  Celebrate Easter with some crafts! Session I (ages 3-5) is from 5-5:45pm and Session II (ages 6-10) is from 6-6:45pm.  RSVP by March 30th.  $8/resident, $10 non-resident.


Bring your boiled eggs and learn new ways of decorating (and make the mess somewhere else. (Stafford- 1739 Jefferson Davis Highway Stafford VA) 7pm-8pm.  Register for $5/resident or $6/non resident by March 30th at 540-658-4871.  Ages 3-12.


April 2-6
Kids in Motion (3310 Noble Pond Way #101 Woodbridge) will host several Egg Hunt/Open Play times (see the open play schedule for dates/times at kidsnmotion.biz).  $18 per child, additional siblings are $12, includes open play, 1 slice of pizza, juice box, and cupcake.  After the open play, children will eat and then have an egg hunt with the Easter Bunny.  Bring your own basket.  Must pre-pay to reserve your slot, recommended by March 26th. 


April 7
Town of Dumfries Annual Egg Hunt, 11am Merchant Park (2944 Cameron Street). Egg Hunt, meet the bunny and games.


Lake  Ridge Parks and Recreation Association's Eggstravaganza, 9am Oakwood Parking Lot (12350 Oakwood Drive, Lake Ridge, VA 22192) There is a per child fee for this event.


Rippon Lodge Historic Site (15500 Blackburn Road Woodbridge) will be hosting an Egg hunt from 11am-4pm. In addition to egg hunts, children can enjoy crafts, games, pony rides, moon bounces, and train rides.  Families are encouraged to bring a picnic and basket for egg collecting.  Egg Hunts will happen at 11am and 1pm.  Advanced reservations are recommended by not required (703-499-9812).  House tours are included. $7/child and adults free.


Nokesville Church of the Brethren (13002 Fitzwater Drive, Nokesville) will host an Easter Egg Hunt rain or shine on from 10-11:30am for children through 5th grade. 


Chick-Fil-A at Bristow (9939 Sowder Village Square, Bristow) 11am-1pm, special prizes, may have live animals, ages 1-10 may participate in the egg hunts, which will begin at 11:30. 



The American Legion Family will be holding its annual Easter Party for children on Saturday, April 7th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the American Legion, 3640 Friendly Post Lane in Woodbridge, VA.  
The party is open to community children up to the age of 11.


Buckhall United Methodist Church (10251 Moore Drive, Manassas VA)will hold their egg hunt April 7 from 1-3pm. 


Woodbridge Church of the Nazarene hosts a Resurrection Celebration” at 10 a.m. April 7 at Gar-Field Senior High School, 14000 Smoketown Road, Woodbridge. The event includes an Easter egg hunt for children 12 and younger, a puppet show, music, carnival games, cake walk, crafts and a live, walk-through exhibit representing the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Admission is free; refreshments sold at a nominal cost.

Victory's Crossing church future site on Vint Hill Road. It is right around the corner from Patriot High School (where the church usually meets). On Vint Hill Road in Nokeville between Sudley Manor Dr and Kettle Run Rd. April 7. Events (moon bounces, face painting, food, games) from 11-1. Actual egg hunt at 11:30.



April 8
Leesylvania State Park from 1:30pm-1:45pm (plan to arrive early!) at the Visitor's Center, children will hunt for prize-filled Easter Eggs.  Kids can also color eggs, play games and make crafts and learn about how eggs became a holiday tradition. There is an entrance fee to the park, but no additional event fee for the Egg Hunt.


Spirit and Life Church, Montclair (Meets at FPHS 15721 Forest Park Drive Woodbridge, Virginia 22193)- Great contemporary worship service at 10AM on Easter Sunday followed by a FREE community Easter Egg Hunt for children at about 11 after the service.


Covenant Presbyterian Church (5640 Hoadly Road Manassas VA) 12:30pm on the church grounds following the conclusion of service.  Free. 














Review: Bull Run Festival of Lights

Permalink to Review%3A%20Bull%20Run%20Festival%20of%20Lights
Published: 12/02/2011
We hit the Bull Run Festival of Lights for the second year this year, and I wanted to pass along a few notes and tips.
The Festival of Lights runs through January 8th from 5:30pm to 9:30pm on weeknights and until 10pm on Friday to Sunday and Holidays.

Prices are per vehicle ranging from $15 (cars weekday) to $30 (van weekend) with separate prices for group buses.  You can get a $3 off weeknight coupon by visiting the trash cans at your local Chick Fil A ;)  Sounds weird, but hey, $3 off is $3 off!!  The coupons are sitting next to the placemats at the Woodbridge location.

Before you get to the park, which is 10 minutes from the Manassas line, be sure you stop at 7-11 and pick up some treats for the car.  We vote hot cocoa and cookies, but you can pick whatever you like.  When you get to the festival, you start out going through a toll booth. It looks like the show is going to start just after with lights on either side, and you may be tempted to turn your headlights off at this point.

Wait.  They're just playing with you.  There's 2 light displays and then nothing for a few hundred yards.  When you get to the sign that says "please turn off your headlights", however, TURN THEM OFF!! There's more than sufficient light from the show and having cars (especially behind you) with their lights on totally ruins the experience for everyone!

Winding slowly through the next 2 miles, there are a bunch of cool light displays including reindeer and Santa, the characters from the Wizard of Oz, Toyland, and our family's favorite- a corner turn where the lights cascade down like snow.


The lights are beautiful, and it's a great activity for an evening where it's far too cold to enjoy something outside, or if your kids are too little to really enjoy outdoor activities.  True story, the first time we went to a light show like this (it was in another state), we had a 1 month old baby and hadn't been out in months, so hubby and I stopped at Starbucks and put our colicky baby in the carseat, and by the time we got to the lights the baby was knocked out from the wonderful repetitive motion of the car and it was snowing lightly- it was actually one of the most romantic dates we've ever been on!

So.  A word of caution.

At the end of the Festival of Lights there is this hot mess.  I think they call it "The Winter Village".  Your payment to the light show includes free admission to the Winter Village!! Squee! Free Admission.

Don't do it.  Just don't.  The Winter Village is actually a carnival designed to make sure you spend at least $75 on going to look at lights.  Rides require tickets (which are non-refundable) and range in price from $3-$5 a ride.  Some of them you can squeak by on without getting burned too badly (kids ride free with paying adult on rides they're too short to ride alone- i.e. the Ferris Wheel and the Egg Scrambler).  You can get a wristband for $18 per person (for our family of 5 there was NO way I was doing that).  There's also lots of junk food around to tempt your kids who, despite the fact that you just fed them dinner, now have a fever and the only prescription is chili cheese fries for $7.50.

If you'd like to be sneaky about the whole thing, the Village is only open on the following dates, so you could feasibly decide to go on a night that it's not open. (Or, perhaps you're not as big of a grinch as I am, and you like spending $5 on carnival rides, in which case, by all means, have a blast!)

The Village will be open from 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm in December per the following schedule.
Friday, December 2nd
Saturday, December 3rd
Sunday, December 4th
Friday, December 9th
Saturday, December 10th
Sunday, December 11th
Friday, December 16th
Saturday, December 17th
Sunday, December 18th
Monday, December 19th


All in all I would say that the Bull Run Festival of Lights can be a fun family outing.  For the best value, go with a friend who has a van on a weeknight :) Then you can split the $12 cost with your CFA coupon! To not go crazy and not spend too much money, avoid stopping at the carnival at the end, but if you have it in your December budget, the kids will definitely enjoy a ride or two.

4th of July Weekend Events 2011 (With 100% more Newspaper Voice)

Permalink to 4th%20of%20July%20Weekend%20Events%202011%20%28With%20100%25%20more%20Newspaper%20Voice%29
Published: 06/29/2011
I'm being lazy y'all, I'm sorry.  As many of you know I write for PotomacLocal.com as well as for PWC Moms and right now I'm multi-tasking.  Here's my newspaper voice.  AKA, the big girl voice.  You can catch it every Thursday on PotomacLocal's "Weekend Calendar Highlights".
Friday, July 1

*Fabulous Fridays at Waterworks Waterpark in Dale City will be feature a “Happy Birthday USA” theme and includes food specials, giveaways and games from 5:00p.m. to 9:00 p.m. when the park closes.

*Not ready to be decked out in red, white, and blue quite yet? The Potomac Nationals 7:05 p.m. game will have a “Star Trek Night” promotion.

Saturday, July 2

*Leesylvania State Park hosts their monthly Kid’s Fishing Tournament on Saturday morning beginning at 9:00 a.m. by the marina. Children do not need game licenses, but adults who plan to “help hold the rod” should be sure to have one. Participants are encouraged to bring their own supplies.

*Kick back and celebrate early with the Arts and Stripes Picnic at the Lorton Workhouse. The picnic is a free event, but a $5 donation is suggested. Parking will be available onsight to picnic-goers who are asked to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. Entertainment will include interactive art demonstrations, the Navy Commodores, New Dominion Choraliers, and a keynote from Congressman Gerry Connolley.

*Join the Potomac Nationals for their “History of Baseball” night featuring vintage jersey auction, bobbleheads for the first 1,000 fans, and fireworks after the game, which begins at 6:35 p.m. Special tickets are available that include an all-you-care-to-eat picnic style dinner before the game.

**Closed: Prince William County Neighborhood Libraries

Sunday, July 3

*It’s everyone’s favorite mascot’s birthday, and Uncle Slam plans to celebrate in style. Special tickets are available that include an all-you-care-to-eat picnic dinner before a 6:35 p.m. Potomac Nationals game, which will feature mascots from around the area. After the game, be sure to stick around for fireworks!

**Closed: Prince William County Neighborhood Libraries and Regional Libraries

Monday, July 4

*The Dale City Independence Day Parade begins at 10am, but Dale Boulevard will become 1 lane each direction at 8:00 a.m. and should be avoided if possible. The parade will feature between 150-200 entries and is being Grand Marshaled by hometown hero Marine Corporal Joshua Himan. Parking lots at Beville Middle and the Dale City Boys and Girls Club, and Center Plaza will be closed for event use, but any other plaza on Dale Boulevard may be used by parade watchers for parking. Center Plaza commuter lot will be the site of the annual Family Fun Day that follows the parade and ends at 2:00 p.m.

*Celebrate America with Old Town Manassas. Starting at 2:00 p.m. at the Train Depot in Old Town there will rides for kids, food concessions and a red, white, and blue hayride. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets at 4pm to get seats at the Manassas Museum Lawn for the 9:15 p.m. fireworks display, which is one of the largest in Northern Virginia. Festivities also include Jay Henley and the Stone Brook Band at 4:30 p.m. at the Harris Pavilion.

*Join the Potomac Nationals at 6:35 p.m. for the largest game of the season! Special tickets are available that include a picnic meal before the game, and be sure to stick around after the final pitch for a large fireworks show in honor of the 4th of July.

Christmas Tree Adventure!!

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Published: 12/05/2010
We love going to get a Christmas Tree.  It's an adventure we look forward to every year.  We've tried a lot of different farms, and they're all good for different reasons- but we've found one we love and I thought I'd share with you! I didn't receive a discount or free product for this review, I'm just sharing because we love it there.

Oak Shade Farm is a little bit of a drive, but we think it's well worth it! The trees are a fair price considering what you'd pay at a stand with White Pines at $37 and Norway Spruces for $42.  Any size tree is the same price, so if you're looking for a really big tree it's an especially good price!

When you first arrive at the farm, the friendly staff directs you to a parking space.  There's a large greenhouse space with a wood stove, coloring tables, free cookies and cider, and the most recent family of baby bunnies for your children to hold and snuggle.
After that, you can hike out down the trail the family has established back to a log cabin and a tree that is over a century old.  They've also taken the time to label many of the indigenous Virginia species of trees with cards that list the name, scientific name, and a picture of what the tree looks like in the fall and summer.
Finally, you can walk out into the fields and pick a tree.  There are saws provided and bailing and shaking are free.  There's also a bonfire if you get too cold! We love our trip out to the mountains to get a tree!  If you're interested, there's also homemade rugs, ceramics, jams, honey and more! If you're looking for a weekend daytrip, Oak Shade is definitely worth the drive!

You Know You're Busy, Too.

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Published: 11/08/2010
Moms, let's talk.

I am so busy it's not even funny.  And, it's my fault.  I am one of those people that has trouble saying no...which is probably why I have 3 kids.  Anyway, that is also why I'm PTA President and Sunday School Teacher and Scout Helper and chauffer and babysitter....you know what I'm saying.

So, I'm happy to take a little help where I can get it.  When my first son was born, I spent 4 days making home-made hand-stamped individualized Christmas cards.  Now, however, as a veteran mom (and a veteran Chief Home Officer in charge of where the cards go) I know that the only thing people keep each year is the pictures.  My cards that I spent 4 days on? Those went in the trash.  The cute pictures of the baby that some teenager took at Wally World in under 10 seconds? Those stayed on the fridge for a year.

What I'm saying, is that there is nothing wrong with not wasting your time or your money on something that's going in the trash.  Especially if you're like me and you do not have time.  That's why this year I'm ordering our Christmas Cards from Shutterfly.

We're CHRISTMAS Christmas people (since my other job is Children's Pastor), so I always look for something that references that it's a religious holiday for our family- so we're probably going for the O Holy Night cards here
However, if you celebrate another holiday, they've got you covered, too.  My hubby's family is Jewish, so we also celebrate Hannukah- and although I don't send cards for it, if I did, this would be a winner in my book:
Finally, if you just want to cover all your bases, you know, Bodhi Day on December 8th, Winter Solstice on the 21st, Yule, Diwali, Eid ul-Adha, Kwanza, Festivus, whatever it is that you and your friends and family celebrate- I actually really love this card.  Happy Everything.  Pretty much says it all.
So, Happy Everything to you and your family this holiday season, and, save yourself a little time and send people what they really want- Awesome Fridge Pictures, no need for a card :)