Silver Sparkles Family Fun Day 2016

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Published: 02/29/2016
Join us for an awesome day of family fun with all the funds we raise after expenses going to support Brain Cancer Research.  (Can you still get your business at this event? Yup! Email me.) 

A special thanks to our sparkle sponsor, Drayer Physical Therapy Institute



Throughout the day we'll have free classes in the community room, lots to do in the gym, and even a few outdoor activities, weather permitting.  There will be food and raffle tickets for sale, so bring cash (we will take credit cards for raffle tickets, too).  Every vendor table has a fun thing for your kids to do, so you can check out local businesses and kid-friendly venues while your kids have a great time playing!
Why should you come? Well, come to have fun, come to meet local businesses and find places to plug your kids in.  Come to support local Mom-run businesses.  Come to support me because I run this insane website.  Come because cancer sucks.  I don't care, really, all that much about your motivation, just come!! 

TICKETS ARE PER FAMILY- you will need one ticket for everyone that lives in your home as part of your family.  If you bring grammy and grandpa and they don't live with you, they'll need their own ticket.  I really want this event to be accessible for families, so please be honest about your ticket purchases so that I don't have to start charging per person! Remember, too, we donate ALL the profit we make at this event, so it's all for a good cause!

Here's what's on tap so far:
Classroom Space:
Ballet Class with Academy of Russian Ballet
Mincraft Class with Animated Child
Special Storytime with Prince William Libraries
**Please note, admission to these is NOT guaranteed because we have space limitations**


Thanks to Just Between Friends for sponsoring our DJ!

Main Event Space:
We're updating this list as vendors sign up! Keep checking back for more fun! 
GMS Gymnastics- Flexed arm hang challenge
Jessica Salazar Photography- Family Fun Photo Booth
Bach to Rock- Musical Performer and instrument play
Chick Fil A Bristow and Chick Fil A Sudley Manor (and the cow!) Will be selling their Original Chick-fil-A Sandwiches -- all profit will go to brain cancer/brain tumor research. And the Chick-fil-A Cow will be there =) PLEASE BUY SOME CHICK FIL A :) this is a really big deal for our fundraiser!
LuLaRoe
Animated Child- Hosting our minecraft class, their table will be awesome, too! 
Soccer Shots- Score a goal challenge
Academy of Russian Ballet- hosting our ballet class, and their table will be awesome, too! 
Athlete's Addiction-  Agility Ladder
Game Truck- Full game truck play will be available outside during our event! 
Michael Chamberlin, Magician from 2:15-4:45pm
Kingdom of Azuria (Princess!) 
Brunos Bounce House- indoor bounce
DPGolf Academy- Putt Putt Golf
Pampered Chef with Doina Heinz- Food Fun
Gainesville Pediatric Dentistry- PlayDoh Dentist
JustJump Outdoor bounce
Megan Keys Photography- Temporary Tattoos
Kids Chemistry with Des & Desi
Drama Mama Cupcakes
Smoothie King of Woodbridge/Colby's Ride
DoTerra with Leah Zapata 
Stella and Dot with Melisa
MOMS Club of PWC

Raffle Items- We'll have awesome Swag Bags from Katherine Breyfogle and Got Posh for the first 200 people who purchase $10 or more of raffle tickets! (Cash or credit  cards will be accepted!) 

Raffle items include: 
We're updating this list as vendors sign up! Keep checking back for more exciting prizes! 
4 classes at The Little Gym
A one year membership at The Little Gym
Swim Kids gift baskets
Scentsy warmers
DC United Tickets courtesy of Soccer Shots
Barbie DVDs from Universal Home Entertainment
Summer Camp from Edgemoor Art Studio
Gift Certificate to Abrakadoodle
Gift Baskets from Waterworks Water Park
Gift Basket from the Primrose School of Bristow
Birthday Party with AviationEd
Free PeeWee Golf Registration from DPGolf Academy
$105 Gift Card to DPGolf Summer Camp


Review: Disney on Ice 100 Years of Magic

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Published: 10/22/2015
We went out to the Patriot Eagle Bank Center Arena last night to check out Disney on Ice 100 Years of Magic Presented by Stonyfield YoKids.

We had so much fun :)

The show features several of your favorite Disney stories, and, amazingly, after all that time you've probably spent watching Nemo on repeat with your toddler, they can tell the stories in 4-5 minutes! It's incredible :)

You'll see:
Mickey and Minnie (also Donald and Goofy)
Pinocchio
Princesses and Princes! (Snow White, Ariel, Cinderella, Jasmine, Mulan, Anna and Elsa, Belle, Rapunzel)
Nemo (complete with a Giant Turtle!)
Mulan
Aladdin and the Genie
Frozen
The Lion King
And more :)

As a former skater, I really appreciate the level of difficulty these skaters are performing, although I always have to chuckle that the kids don't seem to be impressed by anything less than a backflip as far as actual skating goes.  They do however LOSE THEIR MINDS when their favorite characters come out.  I really appreciate that Disney does a great job of packing in the princesses for those who like them (me) and also fitting in a number of "not girly" characters for those who prefer their hero/ines with a little less frill (my daughter).

Standouts for me were Mulan, the Blue Fairy, and the pairs skaters who played Simba and Nala.  Everyone is so incredibly talented, though, so it's hard to pick a favorite! The show does have special effects that include some firework/pyrotechnic elements, so be prepared for that if you have a little one who is sensitive.

Also, EVERYBODY is going to sing along at the top of their lungs, especially to "Let it Go", so you may as well just join right on in and enjoy it.

Eagle Bank Arena does have lots of dining options priced as you would except a venue of this type to be, including Chick Fil A, Piasano's Pizza, and some in-house brands offering burgers, chicken tenders, pretzels, etc.  There are MANY opportunities to purchase merchandise, as well, including snow cone commemorative cups, hats on top of cotton candy, glow items, shirts, and more.  There are also a few stands offering pictures with characters for an additional fee, if you are so inclined.

The show runs 2 hours and 15 minutes with one intermission.  I took two 7 year olds who both seemed enthralled the entire time, although certainly happy for that bathroom break.  We did see a few families with very young toddlers who couldn't make it the whole way, although I think that was more a function of it being past their bed time than anything else.  If you're planning to take a very young child, I'd opt for the matinee times on Saturday or Sunday, rather than the evening shows the other nights.

We hope that you enjoy 100 Years of Magic as much as we did! 

100 Years of Magic plays Eagle Bank Arena in Fairfax through Sunday, October 25th with tickets starting at just $20!



Disclosure: I was provided with tickets to perform my review, however my reviews are always my fair, honest opinion about my experience. 

Allergies and HVAC

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Published: 09/29/2015
Today, we are highlighting Fred McCollum, founder and owner of Pride Air Conditioning and Heating. Pride is a family business based in Manassas, serving Northern Virginia. The company “prides” itself in providing the finest state-of-the-art heating, cooling and air purification products, as well as actually guaranteeing work, not just equipment.

Fred is an expert in air filtration and has options for kids with indoor allergies and asthma. 



PwcMoms: Fred, a fair number of my readers deal with asthma and allergy issues. How you can help out with that? 

FM: Well first, you have to know there’s an allergy problem. Generally (and I’m not a doctor), dark circles under the eyes are one of the telltale signs of childhood allergies. Then there’s the itchy, watering and stinging eyes, sneezing and dripping nose and sometimes coughing and wheezing that kids have to deal with when their allergies or asthma flare. Here’s the thing. The United States Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental dangers. The quality of indoor air can be two to five times (and even up to 100 times) more polluted than the worst outside air. Air Scrubber Plus®with Active Pure technology reduces up to 99.9 percent of the harmful contaminants throughout your home, and that’s important when you’re talking allergies. 

PwcMoms: What does that kind of HVAC filtration do, exactly? 

FM: The main purposes of a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (or HVAC) system is to help maintain good indoor air quality through ventilation with filtration and provide thermal comfort. Proper air filtration and care for your HVAC system will result in better air quality and a healthier environment for your family in your home, as well as increase the efficiency and longevity your HVAC system.

Placing air filters in your home’s ventilation system can block airborne particles, including animal dander, pollen, mold spores, bacteria and viruses.

Here is some technical information. Depending on the minimum efficiency rating value (or MERV) of your air filters, more or less particles are blocked. For an HVAC system, it is recommended that you use air filters with a MERV rating between 8 and 13. The higher the rating, the more contaminants that will be blocked, better protecting your equipment and your family’s lungs.

PwcMoms: How many treatments are we talking about to help alleviate a child's symptoms? 

FM: Families should change their home’s air filters every 30-60 days. This will depend on how dirty the air ducts are and if your family has pets that shed.

PwcMoms: NIH reports that asthma is one of the leading causes of absenteeism in school children.  Have you had any families report that your services have helped with that? 

 FM: The NIH report makes sense. The effects of childhood allergies and asthma don’t stop with the visible symptoms. They can make kids feel tired and sick at school, which affects their performance. Allergies and asthma can even make it difficult or dangerous for kids to participate in sports. And many allergy medications leave kids in zombie mode, so they have to stay home. 

I can tell you from my personal experience that my wife suffers from asthma and was taking her medication as much as three to four times daily. I installed the Air Scrubber Plus® in my home and within two to three weeks, she was down to only taking her medication one to two times a week.

I believe the Air Scrubber Plus® made tremendous improvements in her quality of life. This may not be the result for everyone, but it will make the home air almost sterile.  

PwcMoms: Can you add filtration to any HVAC system or only certain types?

FM: Air filtration can be added to any system. The application varies from job to job.

PwcMoms: Do children with allergies or asthma need to be out of the house for any period of time after cleaning and installation of a system? 

FM: No. The Air Scrubber Plus® product is installed inside the air duct system. It works with the indoor fan to remove airborne bacteria and is completely safe.

PwcMoms: Can it help with pet hair and dander?

FM: Yes indeed. Air Scrubber Plus® is designed to help eliminate indoor air quality risks by reducing air pollutants (including hair and dander), VOCs (chemical odors), cigarette smoke, dust, pollen, mold, odor-causing bacteria and odors caused by pets and cooking.

Here’s the more technical description. Air Scrubber Plus® with Active Pure technology cleans, freshens and purifies the air using special germicidal UV light waves along with a catalytic process that creates enviro-scrubbing molecules of oxygen and hydrogen.

            In essence, it’s just like nature’s outdoor scrubbers. That’s one of the reasons it’s safe.

It’s important remember, though, that this is not just an air filter. Every home still needs a regular filter for dust and dirt.

PwcMoms: Thanks, Fred! 

As one of the leading heating and cooling contractors in Virginia, Pride is ready, willing and able to help you reduce the effects of allergies and take care of all your HVAC needs. They consider energy efficiency when recommending products, as well as adhere to EPA standards. When it is time for upgrading, retrofitting or installing a new heating or air conditioning system, skilled technicians guide customers through the process.Pride also offers preventive maintenance and service agreements designed to keep systems running at peak capacity and prevent unforeseen repairs.

For more information on the company and its services, visit www.prideacandheating.com.

Disclosure: Pride is a sponsor of PwcMoms.com

Sleeping Beauty 2015 at the Hylton Center

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Published: 04/14/2015
The Northern Virginia Youth Ballet & Academy of

 Russian Ballet presents "The Sleeping Beauty" on

 Friday, May 1 at 8pm.

Featuring Colorado Ballet dancer Melissa Zoebisch as Princess Aurora and International Guest Artist Alexandru Glusacov as Prince Desire, the production is sure to delight all ages! Based on the classic Charles Perrault fairy tale, the NYVB/ARB production features sets from Russia, costumes from Russia or designed by the in-house design team, as well as the award winning dancers of NVYB/ARB. Additional guest Russian dancers round out the cast of fairy tale characters. 
Want a discount on tickets? Use code PwcMoms online or in person to get 25% off (NOT valid on phone orders).


Ringling Brothers Presents "Legends"

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Published: 04/09/2015

The Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Patriot Center was great fun.  The show was entitled "Legends," and was filled with legendary circus acts.  No one was shot out of a cannon, but other than that, they hit all the major circus milestones.  

It's been many years since I'd been to the Patriot Center.  It's a great venue -- large enough to have a real "big show" feel, but small enough to feel like all the seats have a good view and you don't have to walk miles to get to around. 

I was pleased to hear recently that Ringing Bros. will be retiring elephants from all of their shows in 2016.  (I live in a house divided in that regard -- my husband disagrees and thinks that elephants are an important part of the circus.)  But even when the elephants are no longer in the show, there are many other animal acts.  We counted a full ten different species that performed, including the traditional big cats (lions and tigers), dogs (big and small), and horses.  And there were some non-traditional ones like goats and llamas...  and one surprise that I won't ruin here.


The human acts included motorcycles, acrobats, clowns, trapeze artists, and a spectacular Ringmaster complete with flamboyant sparkling tail coat and top hat (changed often, of course).  Both my husband and I were very pleased to see that they had a live band.  Lots of electronics included, but live trumpet, trombone, saxophone, keyboard, and drums, at the least.  The human acts are always my favorite, and I found myself saying, along with my boys, things like "Wow!" and "No way!" 

The show was LOUD.  If you're sensitive to loud noises (or bright lights, for that matter), be prepared.  

Our boys are 8 and 10, and both thoroughly enjoyed the show.  There was, as my 10 year old put it after the show, "a little cheese" in some of the acts, but overall they had a great time.  At one point during the show that same 10 year old said, "This might really be The Greatest Show on Earth!"  High praise, indeed.

Want to go? You can catch the show:
The Patriot Center April 8 – April 19, 2015
Show times:
· Wednesday, April 8 @ 7:00 pm
· Thursday, April 9 @ 7:00 pm
· Friday, April 10 @ 7:30 pm
· Saturday, April 11 @ 11:30 am, 3:30 pm, 7:30 pm
· Sunday, April 12 @ 1:00 pm, 5:00 pm
· Thursday, April 16 @ 7:00 pm
· Friday, April 17 @ 10:30 am, 7:30 pm
· Saturday, April 18 @ 11:30 am, 3:30 pm, 7:30 pm
· Sunday, April 19 @ 1:00 pm, 5:00 pm
Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.  

Freedom Egg-Stravaganza 2015!!

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Published: 03/02/2015





New Library Programs 2015

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Published: 02/02/2015
The Snuggle Club, is a winter reading program for ages 0 – 6. Sign up at any library location between February 1 and March 2 to receive an activity log. Have fun completing the activities together while building important early literacy skills! 


Prince William Reads is the reading program for adults. Participants get one entry for each book read for a chance to win weekly and grand prizes (http://bit.ly/1DliYCX). 

Disney Live: Mickey's Magic Show (Giveaway)

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Published: 01/31/2015

Abracadabra! It’s Disney Live! presents Mickey’s Magic Show Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt! Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and a host of Disney friends come together with a world-class illusionist to perform magic from legendary Disney films right before your eyes. See the Fairy Godmother transform Cinderella’s rags into a beautiful ball gown in a split second; the spectacular levitation of Aladdin’s Princess Jasmine; and the enchanted dancing brooms of Fantasia. Join Donald Duck and Goofy, Alice and the Mad Hatter, and many more for a one-of-a-kind stage show you’ll never forget. Disney Live! presents Mickey’s Magic ShowPresented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt is a whole new way to experience Disney magic with your family!


This show will be presented ONE DAY ONLY at the Patriot Center (love it because it's in Fairfax!) Sunday February 22nd at 1pm and 4pm.  Giveaway tickets are for the 4pm show only. 

Tickets are $55 VIP, $35, and $25.  Purchase from www.ticketmaster.comthe Patriot Center Box Office or Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. 

To win- visit our Facebook page and find the image you see above this post.  Click "like", leave a comment with which character from this post is your child's favorite, and share the post. 


I am a Feld Family Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers,  Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld pre-show events.  Feld Entertainment is neither a sponsor nor endorser of this promotion. 
As always- by entering you agree to our Giveaway Rules. 

Guest Post: Snow Days Can be ‘Grow’ Days

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about Christ Chapel Academy at christchapelacademy.org

Disney Worlds of Fantasy!

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Published: 01/22/2015

Experience a magical Disney fantasy live on ice! Rev up for non-stop fun with four of your favorite Disney stories at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt. Thrill to high-speed stunts as Lightning McQueen, Mater and the crew of Disney•Pixar’s Cars race across the ice like you’ve never seen before! Dive into The Little Mermaid’s enchanting undersea kingdom and enter the mystical world of Pixie Hollow with Tinker Bell and the Disney Fairies as they reveal the magic that lies within! The toys are back in town with heroic action when Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie and the Toy Story gang escape from the rambunctious tots of Sunnyside Daycare and race for home, in their most daring adventure ever! From wheels to waves, playtime to pixie dust, your family’s favorite Disney moments come to life at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy.



Disney on Ice Presents Worlds of Fantasy will be playing the Verizon Center in February:
Wednesday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 pm
Thursday, Feb. 12 at 10:30 am & 7:30 pm
Friday, Feb. 13 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, Feb. 14 at 10:30 am, 2:30 pm & 6:30 pm
Sunday, Feb. 15 at 12:30 pm & 4:30 pm
Monday, Feb. 16 at 12:30 pm



Tickets start as low as $20 per person. You can purchase Disney One Ice tickets at all Ticketmaster outlets via charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000; via Ticketmaster online and at the Verizon Center box office.

To find out more about Disney On Ice visit their website, or visit them on Facebook and YouTube.
Want your tickets for free? I'm giving away a family 4-pack of tickets to the Wednesday opening night performance, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. show at the Verizon Center.  Enter using the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


By entering, you agree to be bound by PwcMoms.com's giveaway rulesFeld Entertainment is neither a sponsor nor endorser of this promotion. PwcMoms is not responsible for DC traffic, parking garages, or your child wanting all 48 Mater themed promotional items.  We will, however, be happy to take credit for the amazed look on their face when they see all their favorite characters live on the ice.  We're happy to take the fall for that :) 

Review: Peace of Pottery

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Published: 01/19/2015

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

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

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


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

Guest Post: BumbleABC

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Featured Organization Friday: Artisphere

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Published: 10/31/2014

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

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

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

FREE!

Giveaway: Majest Martial Arts

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Published: 10/29/2014
Our friends at Majest Martial Arts are bringing you this weeks' giveaway! Check it out below! 

In a society that likes to glorify violence, the idea of enrolling your child in a martial arts training class may seem crazy. The image of martial arts instructors as the over the top "Karate Kid" Cobra mental cases makes the prospect seem totally insane. Contrary to popular image, martial arts is actually extremely beneficial for children.  Led by Master K.B. Kim of Korea, Majest Martial Arts - Montclair is dispelling these myths, helping develop our students in both body and mind.  Tae Kwon Do helps children by increasing respect, developing skills in listening and self-control, encourages teamwork and support, helps children learn to set and achieve various goals, and fosters increased self-esteem and physical fitness. 

Our programs are geared for students ages 3 to 99, with a variety of special classes, including our brand new HOME SCHOOL Tae Kwon Do Program!  Whether you are young or old, looking for self-development, or helping your child set and achieve personal goals; Majest Montclair has a fit for you. Programs include:

            Ø  Tiny Tigers (Ages 3-5)
Ø  Evening Color Belt Classes
Ø  Family Classes
Ø  Teens and Adults Classes (Ages 12 to 99)
Ø  Demo Team
Ø  School Break Camp Programs
Ø  *NEW* Home School Program (Ages 5 and Up)
Ø  Leadership Team
Ø  *NEW* Silver Tae Kwon Do (Age 55 to 99)
Ø  Olympic Style Sparring (Gyeorugi)
Ø  *NEW* Cardio Kick Class
Ø  School Age Child Care Programs (Serving Pattie, Henderson, and Ashland Elementary, as well as  Saunders and Graham Park Middle School)

Enter to win 3 Free Classes and a FREE Uniform (a $90 value!).  To win, visit the Majest Facebook and click "like".  Then, check out their reviews and pictures from class.  While you're looking, watch for the picture where PWCMOMS is hidden and comment on the photo to win! You must comment AND like to win! If more than 25 people enter, two winners will be chosen.

Want to check out Majest? They've got an open house coming up, too! Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 10am-2pm. 

As always, giveaways are governed by our giveaway rules- and by entering you agree to be bound by them.  Good luck! 

October Fit Family Fun Events at Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center!

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Published: 10/19/2014

Giveaway: National Geographic Museum Presents Spinosaurus

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Published: 10/08/2014
Because I grew up in the Washington, DC area, I am something of a brat about paying for museums.  We have all these fantastic Smithsonians! They're free! Well, I mean, taxes, but they're free!! The first time we went to Philadelphia with a friend and I had to pay for a museum I just stared at the woman in horror- what do you mean there's an admission fee?? 

Preposterous. 

In the meantime, the Smithsonian Natural History Museum has shut it's dinosaur exhibit for cleaning and several museums have opened in DC that charge admission, including the National Geographic Museum, which is currently displaying Spinosaurus. 

And here's the thing about pay museums you guys, they do a nice job.  The exhibits are lovely and frequently feature interactive technology or very cool models.  The museum isn't packed to the brim the way the Smithsonians are frequently overflowing with people.  It's actually really lovely. 


 We learned that there are fossil stores in Morocco.  You can just go and buy gemstones and fossil parts.  Apparently you can't take them out of the country, but everybody does.  We are currently planning an imaginary field trip to Morocco, although if everyone wants to buy ads so I can actually go, I'm cool with that, too!
We loved learning about how this full-scale model was built using a 3D printer.  We would like to have a 3D printer at home, but will settle for watching videos about scanning fossils and printing dinosaurs.  That's pretty awesome. 
 Mandatory "Oh No! The Dino Got Logan!" picture.

 There are two other sections to the National Geographic Museum.  While we were there, they were redoing the International Food Exhibit.  Mars Up Close was open, though, and it's a very small, but interesting section and displays models of the various Mars rovers.

This is the outdoor model of Spinosaurus.  He's pretty cool and lets you know where to park ;) (17th and M)

So, overall, I would say that the National Geographic Museum is worth a look.  If you're paying to go, I would confirm that all the exhibits are open.  It's well done but small, and I would have been disappointed if I paid for admission and there was a section closed.  

Tickets are $11 for adults and $7 for children, or you can add a 3D movie (Admission/Movie is $16 adults, $12 kids).  The exhibits are well-done and the information is great.  The kids enjoyed walking through, and you can see everything in the museum in about 1-2 hours, depending on how much you're reading.  The gift shop is also very nice, if you're into that, which my kids totally are. 

If you want to go for less, group rates and field trips for schools are available. 

If you think your children would enjoy checking out Spinosaurus, you can enter using the Rafflecopter below to win your own family 4 pack of tickets to check out the National Geographic Museum in DC! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway



As always, by entering you agree to be bound by our giveaway rules, which you can read by clicking here. PwcMoms was provided with free admission to complete our review, but all opinions are our own.  PwcMoms is not responsible for DC traffic, your child deciding he wants a 3D printer for Christmas, your child deciding to never pay off their student loans because they're going to be a paleontologist and live in a tent in Africa, but we are happy to be fully responsible if you have a fantastic time, so let us know what you think if you go!

Fall Fun Guide 2014

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Published: 09/30/2014



This guide always takes a surprising amount of time to do- and by the time I'm done with it, my family thinks I've dressed up as a witch a little early ;) I hope you find lots of fun things to do with your family and have tons of fun this fall!! Remember, these events are also on our daily calendar, so if you're looking for more information, head there! 


October 1
Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 2
Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 3
Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 4
Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

Yankey Farms Pumpkin Patch Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm (Nokesville)

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

Fall Jubilee, in Historic Old Town Manassas will be held on October 4, 2014 from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. This year's Jubilee will include an assortment of live entertainment for both kids and adults, with over 100 craftors and vendors.  Fall Jubilee is a free to the public, community event and is scheduled rain or shine.

October 5
Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

Yankey Farms Pumpkin Patch Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm (Nokesville)

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 6
Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 7
Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 8
Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 9
Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 10
Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 11
Heritage Baptist Church welcomes you to our  Fall Festival. Bring along the kids and whole family to enjoy the free food, games, hay rides, pumpkin patch, straw maze and much more. 14510 Spriggs Road  |  Woodbridge, VA 22193 1pm-4pm

Join the Manassas Park Fire and Rescue Department for an open house! Rain or shine on Saturday, October 11 from 10am-2pm.

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

Yankey Farms Pumpkin Patch Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm (Nokesville)

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 12
St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Sunday October 12 from 1pm-5pm in the Sudley Road Parking Lot, join Manassas Mall for a Free Fall Fest! Face painting, balloon artist, Charicatures, apple cider, pumpkins, fire department, music and more! 

Community Festival- Music, games, health screening, clothing drive, free admission and open to the public. 1pm-4pm Hope Aglow Empowerment Center (13550 Jefferson Davis Hwy)

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

Yankey Farms Pumpkin Patch Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm (Nokesville)

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 13
St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 14
St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 15
St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 16
St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 17
St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 18
The Way Bible Church invites you to celebrate the fall season with us at Auburn Middle School on Saturday, October 18th from 1-5pm. This FREE event is featuring special musical guests Revely, bounce houses, face painting by Miss Lyn, pony rides, crafts, games and even a wildlife exhibit and presentation! We will be collecting clean, gently used coats for Warrenton Salvation Army at our info tables.

 Bull Run Plaza Shopping Center in Manassas, VA is hosting a FREE Trick-or-Treating event Saturday, October 18 from 2pm-4pm.

St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 


Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

Yankey Farms Pumpkin Patch Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm (Nokesville)

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 19
St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

Yankey Farms Pumpkin Patch Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm (Nokesville)

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 20
Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center, Free Admission the week of October 20-26th

St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 21
Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center, Free Admission the week of October 20-26th

St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 22
Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center, Free Admission the week of October 20-26th

St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 23
Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center, Free Admission the week of October 20-26th

St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 24
Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center, Free Admission the week of October 20-26th

Movie in the Pool- Finding Nemo, Crafts and Fun 5:30-8:30pm Freedom Center, Manassas.

Fall Festival 9075 Park Avenue, Manassas, 20110. 10/24/14 - 6pm-8pm $3/kids.  Adults free. Crafts. Games.  Raffles baskets - tickets $1/each American Girl Doll Addy raffle - tickets -$1

St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries.

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 25
Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center, Free Admission the week of October 20-26th

Family Fun Day at the Freedom Center 4-6pm, games, demos, family friendly spooky trail, giveaways, food, raffles and more! Free. 

Linton Hall Community Fun Fair 10am-3pm Linton Hall School $5 per person, or $20 per family

St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Fall Fest at Grace UMC. We'll provide a snack supper of hotdogs, chips and lemonade, and all will enjoy games, facepainting, hayrides, trunk-or-treat and more!  Wear a celebratory costume and come join the fun. Please RSVP by Wednesday, October 22 at noon so we'll be sure to have enough food for all.  Event is 10/25 from 5-7pm

Gateway Bible Church’s Fall Festival will be October 25th from 3-8pm at Buckland Farm Market in Warrenton

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

FREE Trick-or-Treating from the Merchants at Dillingham Square!!! Dress up and put on your best Halloween Costume and get lots of Candy! Bring your kids and start the celebration early! Merchants will also have special offers to their stores going on during the event! Candy will be given out starting at Noon Saturday October 25 until 2 p.m. RAIN or SHINE!

Yankey Farms Pumpkin Patch Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm (Nokesville)

Meadows Farms will host the following: Scavenger Hunt- 10:30am
All participants get a goody bag!
Kids Costume Contest- 11am
Silliest, Most Original, Best Overall
1st Prize gets to pick a large pumpkin, all participants get a small "spookie"
Pet Contest- 11:30am
Funniest, Best Dog and Owner Combo, Best Overall
Grand Prize in each gets to pick a pet prize, all participants get a doggie bag

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

Grace UMC- Put on your favorite costume and join us at 5:00 p.m. for free food, games, face painting, hayrides, and a parking lot filled with decorated vehicles for Trunk-Or-Treat! And then stick around! At 7:00 p.m., the first 15 minutes of this year’s PipeScreams Organ Concert will feature pumpkin carols and some spooky fun music for all the kids! After that, we hope you’ll stay to enjoy the talents of several other local organists as they wow us with their instrumental magic.

October 26
Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center, Free Admission the week of October 20-26th

Trunk or Treat @First Presbyterian (Dale City) 3:30-5:30pm Free event, games, trunk or treat, and snacks

River of Grace Lutheran Church will host a Trunk or Treat on Oct. 26, 2014, 3-5pm.  15012 Dumfries Rd, Manassas, VA 20112.    Dress up the kids and bring them for a fun event of going from table to table to enjoy all frolicking and festivity of Halloween!  Games, decorations, costumes, candy and fun are part of the day, and everyone is welcome!  Tell your friend! Boo!

St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Don't miss the fun-filled Fall Carnival for children of all ages. There will games, face painting, puppet shows, food, candy, gifts, prizes and more! All children are welcome to wear costumes and must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. http://welovechurch.com/events.html The Life Church 11234 Balls Ford Rd., Manassas, VA 20109. 6pm-8pm

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

Yankey Farms Pumpkin Patch Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm (Nokesville)

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 27
St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 28
St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

Dress in costume and enjoy open jump time, activities, and games in the arenas.  Pre-sale $9.95, Regular Sale $12.95, and at the door $14.95.  Event pricing includes 2 slices of pizza, juice, and goodie bag.  Parent Admission is free! Visit pumpitupparty.com/manassas-va to reserve your space!  6pm-8:30pm


October 29
St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

Dress in costume and enjoy open jump time, activities, and games in the arenas.  Pre-sale $9.95, Regular Sale $12.95, and at the door $14.95.  Event pricing includes 2 slices of pizza, juice, and goodie bag.  Parent Admission is free! Visit pumpitupparty.com/manassas-va to reserve your space!  6pm-8:30pm

October 30
St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries.

Spooky Tots Thursday, October 30 Join us at Atlas Walk on October 30 from 10:30am until 12:30pm for our annual Spooky Tots event! Don't forget to wear a costume! First 150 children will receive a Halloween themed wand Spooky entertainment by Shazam Magic from 10:30am until 11:15am
Balloon Twister, Face Painting, Games and Giveaways

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

October 31
Grace Baptist Church The 2014 Fall Festival is Friday, October 31 in the GBC Parking Lot. Fall Festival is a FREE outreach event for the whole family.  Bring a neighbor or friend!  Games/booths are geared for children from walkers - fifth grade.  Play a game and get a prize.  Cotton candy, popcorn, hotdogs, inflatable's and pony rides will also be on site.  All can participate by signing up to help/volunteer for 20 minutes in a booth/game/inflatable.  Sign-up sheets will be in the foyer starting in October.     http://www.gracehome.org/fall-festival-is-coming

Par­ents, are you look­ing for a fun fam­ily activ­ity for Octo­ber 31st? From 7- 8pm The Adven­ture Zone is host­ing a Fall Fun House for chil­dren under 12. Kids are wel­come to put on their favorite cos­tume (no scary ones please), invite a cou­ple of friends, and enter into the Fall Fun House full of games and adven­tures. Entry fee for each child is a large bag of indi­vid­u­ally wrapped candy. Chil­dren must be accom­pa­nied by a par­ent in the fun house – no drop- offs please.
Living Faith http://livingbyfaith.com/index.php/calendar 10266 Battleview Pkwy Manassas

St Paul UMC in Woodbridge (1400 G Street) will host their annual pumpkin patch from October 12-31st.  M-F 2-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 1pm-6pm.  Proceeds benefit Children and Youth Ministries. 

Kids Fest at Woodbridge Nazarene 7pm-8:30pm (14001 Smoketown Road)

Trick or Treat throughout Manassas Mall for free from 5-7pm

Free trunk or treat, moon bounce, hay rides, and pumpkin decorating at Manassas Park Community Center from 5:30-7:30pm. 

Lake Ridge Nursery Pumpkin Patch 8am-8pm M-S, Sunday 8am-7pm

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

Friday, October 31, the community is invited to take part in Mall-o-ween, a family friendly trick-or-treating alternative. In addition, Potomac Mills will host Mall-o-ween, a mall-wide trick-or-treating event on Friday, October 31 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. For added fun, guests will also have their choice of face painting or balloon art*. Participating retailers will have a Halloween sticker in their window. 


November 1
Grace Lutheran Church (1601 Prince William Parkway, Woodbridge), will be having a Fall Festival on Saturday, November 1st from 4-7 pm.  Please come and enjoy a "Trunk or Treat", games, crafts, face painting, a showing of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", and fellowship.  This is another opportunity for kids (and adults) to wear their costumes!  

The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

November 2
The Burnside Barnyard in Haymarket is open and there's no admission. The fall market is a great place for photo ops so don't forget your camera! Monday-Friday 10-7, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 10-7

November 8
Our school Mary G Porter Traditional School is having a fun run/walk and Harvest Festival on November 8th from 10-11am (walk/run), immediately following is the Harvest Festival. It will go until 2pm and is included with your fee for the walk/run (food is extra). If you can't join us for the walk/run, come to our festival for only $7 per person. 11am-2pm. 






Giveaway: Disney on Ice Presents "Frozen"

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Published: 09/24/2014
DISNEY ON ICE PRESENTS FROZEN
IS COMING TO FAIRFAX, OCTOBER 22-27!
Enter a fantastical winter wonderland beyond all imagination at Disney On Ice presents Frozen! The heartwarming, Academy Award-winning tale you love is now LIVE and skating into your town. You’ll be magically whisked away into the wintery world of Arendelle, where you will be dazzled by amazing special effects and astonishing skating. Sing and dance along to your favorite songs, including “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” and “Let It Go.” Join royal sisters Elsa and Anna, the hilarious snowman Olaf, huntsman Kristoff, his loyal reindeer Sven and the mystical trolls as they journey to discover that true love is ultimately the most magical power of all! 
Produced by Feld Entertainment, Disney On Ice presents Frozen! will also feature guest appearances by the beloved Disney Princesses as well as characters from The Lion King, Toy Story and Finding Nemo. Disney On Ice presents Frozen! will be at the Patriot Center from October 22 – 27.


PATRIOT CENTER
Wednesday, October 22 – Monday, October 27, 2014

Show Times:
·      Wednesday. October 22 | 7:00 p.m.
·      Thursday. October 23 | 7:00 p.m.
·      Friday. October 24 | 10:30 a.m. & 7:30 p.m.
·      Saturday. October 25 | 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.
·      Sunday. October 26 | 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.
·      Monday. October 27 | 7:00 p.m.

Patriot Center Weekday Ticket Prices$20, $35, $55 VIP, $85 Front Row
Patriot Center Weekend Ticket Prices: $25, $40, $70 VIP, $85 Front Row

Venue/Ticket Information: Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets via charge, by phone at 800-745 -3000; via www.ticketmaster.com; and at the Patriot Center box office.
To discover more about Disney On Ice, go to www.disneyonice.com, or visit them on Facebook and YouTube.

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**Remember that by entering you are agreeing to our Giveaway Rules!**
I am a Feld Family Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld pre-Show events. Even though I receive these benefits, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine.

Giveaway: The Music Box

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

Synetic Theater presents The Music Box

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

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

Good Luck!

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

Giveaway: Kids N Motion

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Organization Friday: The Lego Movie/FMSC Fundraiser

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Published: 07/25/2014
 Feed My Starving Children is one of my favorite charities.  I love that their model is to provide help immediately as well as training.  Their goal is to put themselves out of business by helping people become self-sufficient, not charity dependent.  Our church does a HUGE mobile pack every year (so much fun!) and to raise money to pack EVEN MORE meals, they've been doing a number of family-friendly events.  One coming up- watch the Lego Movie and raise money for FMSC! Hope to see you there! 



Please join us on August 2nd for a family movie night to help raise funds for New Hope's 2014 FMSC MobilePack event. We will be watching The Lego Movie following the Saturday evening service from 7-9 pm.

We have many different options for you to make the FMSC Movie Night a great event. We will start the Lego Movie at 7pm. We are offering a Movie Night Package for $25!!!! Think about it…..a fun night of entertainment for 4 for only $25! This package includes 1 large pizza, 4 drink cups, and 4 tickets to the movie. We have individual food options to make it easy for everyone to come and enjoy the movie. Additionally, we will have popcorn and candy available for purchase the night of.

REGISTER ONLINE BY CLICKING HERE

Giveaway: Madame Tussaud's DC

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Published: 07/03/2014
Where can you and your kids visit all your favorite celebrities in one swoop? Madame Tussaud's, of course! Pose with your favorite historical figures, celebrities, and politicians all day long- they don't mind at all because they're wax!

Recently, Madame Tussaud's added Katy Perry to their ranks!

But you can also visit Barack Obama in the Oval Office:
Along with every other US president, for that matter!

Want to go? Enter to win your tickets using the Rafflecopter below!

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Want more info? Here's some details from a review I did a few years ago:

Madame Tussaud's is very easy to get to.  There's easy metro access, but we ended up driving (395-14th street-F street) and were there in about 30 minutes, including parking.  There's a $10 a day parking garage right across the street, but there's also lots of on-street parking available if you go on a day that isn't full of Cherry Blossom visitors trying to beat the snow!

When you enter Madame Tussaud's, there's a line to pay, then a few steps down to a brief video where they demonstrate how the wax figures are made.  You then head to the left (I'm mentioning this because I was a little unclear on where to go!)  and go through a few halls of presidents.  Several of the exhibits have a way to interact with the figures- for exmaple, George Washington has a "boat" that you can sit in and don a Washington-esque coat for a pictures.  Lincoln (depicted sitting in the balcony at Ford's theatre) also has a coat you can wear for your picture.  Bring. Your. Camera. If your kids are anything like the kids I took, you will hear "take my picture!! take my picture!!!" around 3,000 times :)

After you move through the presidents, there's a spot at the end where they take commemorative pictures in the "White House" or with the "Obamas", and then you move into some historical figures.  There's Rosa Parks and a bus background, Martin Luther King Junior, Malcom X, and also some historical figures in with the presidents like Jackie O, the Apollo astronauts, Winston Churchill, and others. 

The final two sections are famous athletes and movie stars/singers.  The little girl that we brought was excited to point out the Jonas Brothers.  I took a picture with my future ex-husband, George Clooney ;) and my only complaint was probably that there was a Robert Pattinson who wasn't sparkly, and there was no shirtless Taylor Lautner.  Just saying.

The kids I took (all 7 years old) had a really great time.  They were super excited about people they recognized (Washington, Lincoln, Obama, Tiger Woods, Britney Spears, Jonas Brothers, astronauts) and anything that had an interactive component. They were also happy to have me take their picture with anyone who they thought looked cool.  I think that the ideal age to take here would be 9 or older, just because they would have exposure to more of the historical people and would be more excited to see them, and would be able to read the fun-facts more independently.  That said, I was totally happy with our trip and my 7's had a great time!! Fair Warning: The end of the tour dumps you into the gift shop, so be prepared to stop any wandering little hands.


Disclosure: This giveaway provided by Madame Tussaud's DC location.  All opinions are my own. By entering you're agreeing to all of our Giveaway Rules and regulations. I'm not responsible for traffic, weather, your kids being sad the real Katy Perry isn't there, or any other drama you encounter.  

Review: Vertical Rock

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Published: 06/13/2014
I don't really know how to start this other than to say that Vertical Rock was absolutely awesome.  Just so much fun.  Any age, any level, any ability, your family can have fun doing this.  If your child is old enough to try to scale your bookshelves or the kitchen pantry, they can rock climb.

I know that trying a completely new activity at a completely new place can be intimidating, so here's how it works.

1) Enter the address (10225 Nokesville Rd, Manassas, VA 20110) into your GPS/Garmin/iPhone.  
2) Follow directions
3) Arrive. 

That's really it.  Everything else that you need is taken care of.  Get a day pass and climb all you want for $18 (adults), $16 (students), or $12 (military).  You'll need your own equipment, or you can rent what you'll need ($11 for everything).  Alternatively, if you're new, you can try it out for $20, which includes your harness, 3 climbs ($5 for each additional) and a Vertical Rock belayer to help you figure it all out.  For $35 you can take their "Learn the Ropes" course, during which you'll learn how to top-rope, how to "tie in", and how to belay safely for your partner. Classes are drop-in and offered Monday-Friday from 6-8pm and Sundays from 3-5.  

Really love it? You don't need a Bally's membership- you can join Vertical Rock as your gym! In addition to climbing, they have a fitness room, and offer "Rock Ready" (which looks a lot like the class that rhymes with "Boss Bit"), Krav Maga, Yoga, and a host of other fun stuff to keep you in shape without relying solely on a treadmill, which, let's be honest, is boring. 

We did an open climb, and the one thing I'll say is that you should spring for the $5 to rent shoes.  They're sexy like bowling shoes:


But they are SO MUCH EASIER to climb in.  Seriously.  I was informed that if "they're not tight, they're not right" so don't hop up a size because your toes are giving each other a bear hug.  

Next, our friendly belayers helped us get into our harnesses.  One thing I didn't know about rock climbing is how fashionable it is ;) 
 Yesssss! Work it! Work it!
 So now you head to the walls.  Courses are rated with cards (and they have funny names like "I should be with my mommy right now" or "Fried Squirrel Brains").  They start at 5.5, or as I like to call it "That sounds about right" and move up to 5.10, which then get letters after them.  Obviously the higher you go the more difficulty is involved.  The idea is to follow the tape color for the course you're doing.  Some specify that you can use "any feet" which means that you can use an of the grips you can get your hoofs on, and others want you to just use the color you're following.  Rock climbing involves a good deal of thinking when you add those caveats- you have to check where you are and think about where you're going- I was surprised the first time I climbed myself into a corner and had to back up and think about how to approach where I was going!
 This is the wall that Logan, Savannah, and I started on.  It has about a bijillion grips on it, and you can "climb the rainbow" and pick anything you want.  Here's where the staff really came in.  Logan got to this point (above) and was like "Yup, I'm scared and I'm done" and Zack, our belayer, was like "Yeah, totally hear that buddy- just touch that green one first" and by the time he did that, he realized he was just a few "rocks" from the brown section.....
And well, then it was just a few hand grips to the green spongy thing....and at that point, you may as well touch the top.  He was too nervous to rappel down the side, which I get, because it's a big exercise in trust to have someone you just met tell you to let go of the wall and trust them to not drop you.  Especially when you're 8.  He climbed down slowly, but surely. However, he did rappel on his last climb of the day, which was great! 
We had a few tears on the harder wall- somebody made the mistake of looking down.  (I climbed to the top of this one- but I didn't look anywhere but the place I was currently at- I probably would've cried, too!) but, again, the belayers did a great job of providing direction and assured us that they've had to climb up before to help someone down, but they didn't have to.  

The minute his feet touched the floor, he asked to go up again. I guess Belayer Anna did a good job :) 

In addition to open climbs and classes and memberships, Vertical Rock also offers a kids night, birthday parties, climbing teams (Team meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 530-730! VR hosts competitions and travels to other gyms to participate in competitions), indoor and outdoor camps, scout merit badges, LOCK INS(!!!), corporate events and outdoor climbing tours.  There's also a bouldering wall if you really want to climb but not quite so high:
Best part about their kids night is that you don't have to reserve (although you can) so you can just be like "It's Friday night and my kids are making me crazy!! Vertical Rock!" and drop them off from 7-9pm for $25 for Non Members and $15 For Members, Safety equipment included.   I am informed that the kids "come home tired", which is just what I like to hear :) 

If you'd like to give your child a chance to try Rock Climbing, but aren't ready to strap in yourself, check out the Vertical Rock Summer camps!

**Thinking about a membership? Here's a note from owner Lindsey**

Memberships receive the Learn the ropes class for Free, Yoga, Rock Ready, Discounts on Youth Teams and Summer Camps and much more. A Family of 4 can have access to a fitness activity that they will love doing together M-S for just $31.25 a person a month. A 2 person family membership is only $47.50 a month. Why go to the movies!?
We are family owned and operated facility who really get to know our members. We introduce members to each other through cookouts and parties to keep the community strong. Parents meet each other and climb with each other while their kids play and climb together. The family environment is amazing and we are so excited to share it with more people!




Disclosure: Vertical Rock is a sponsor of PwcMoms and allowed us to come climb.  However, all opinions and experiences are true and my own.  If I had looked down, I think I would've cried- and I really do think the ugly shoes make it way easier.  #TrueStory. 

Recap: Open Exploration at The Animated Child

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Published: 01/01/2014
When I was first able to actually sit down with Alejandra Hall, owner of The Animated Child, and chat face to face for the first time, I was so impressed with her vision.  I'd read the website and tried to understand everything that was going on over there- a preschoool, indoor play area with drop-in hours, language classes, art classes, social skills coaching (they're an inclusive center), memberships with special members-only benefits, parents night out, annnnd....I think I'm skipping something, too.

Minecraft- they have Minecraft camps and classes- how could I forget that? My boys have talked about NOTHING but doing Minecraft camp since we walked in the doors. 

They've got a TON of things going on over there, and understanding it just by reading the website is almost impossible, you really do have to drop in.

That's why I was so excited that The Animated Child invited us to bring a few readers over for a free open-exploration so they could experience it for themselves.  It was a great way to spend New Years Eve Day!
 Our target age was K-3, and I would say that Open Exploration is best aimed at ages 2-7. That being said, my 10 year old had fun when we came with just out family, but I think preschool-grade 2 would have the most fun. 
 My daughter had a blast at the tangram wall.  It's completely magnetic, and there are tons of patterns.  I think these two built a rocketship and a centipede before moving on to something else!
 The space that you play in for Open Exploration is divided into sections based on Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences (I told you that they impressed me with their planning!!).  There's are areas for playing with animals (guniea pig, lizard, and multiple fish tanks), a touch table, a train table, all sorts of building materials, body puzzles, a dress-up/pretend play area, and water bead station.  The space is open and inviting, and everyone (parents, too!) wears socks and uses hand sanitizer before playing to keep it clean!
 While the kids were playing, Mrs. Alexy took the time to let parents find their child's top intelligence and gifted everyone a shirt with "Music Smart", "Body Smart", "Math Smart", whatever their top match was. 
I think everyone left happy, and had a great time playing.  We had a few kids that did NOT want to leave!  I love that Open Exploration is engaging, quiet, and less rowdy than inflatable places (aka Bounce Houses), which I love, too, but with very small children who get hurt easily, or a child who can't bounce for whatever reason, there are few fun indoor options for cold/rainy/winter days, and I'm really glad that we've got one in Montclair!

To learn more about The Animated Child, visit their website, or better yet, visit them in person.  Open Exploration times are listed on their website, but are currently:
Open Exploration Scheduled Times:
 (Monday-Friday)
9:00am-10:30am                
11:00am-12:30pm
3:00pm-4:30pm
5:00pm-6:30pm
Open Exploration Scheduled Times: (Saturday)
10:00am-11:30am
11:30am-1:00pm      

You can also find Open Explorations listed on our calendar.    Open Explorations are $9 for non-members.  Thanks again to everyone who came out to play with us!!


Disclosure: The Animated Child is one of our advertisers, but all opinions are our own.  You can find out more about advertising with PwcMoms, or about hosting an event for our readers at your venue under the "advertise" tab, or by emailing us. 

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.
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