FREE PHYSICALS 2015

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Published: 06/11/2015

A Health Screening & Health Fair will be held on Saturday, July 18 from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. at Stonewall Jackson High School. The Health Screening & Health Fair will include free K–5 school-entry physicals for uninsured children, vision and hearing screenings, concussion training for middle and high school parents and their student athlete, and enrollment assistance for Medicaid & FAMIS programs.

There will also be health and wellness information, fitness demonstrations, and free giveaways. Tentative plans also include blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose testing; and the mammogram mobile van.

The fair is a collaborative effort between Inova Partnership for Healthier Kids, Novant Health, the PWCS Offices of Student Services and Student Learning.

For information and appointments, contact Inova Partnership for Healthier Kids at 703.967.3772.

EFK Summer Camps (And a coupon!)

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Published: 06/09/2015

Meet Dr. Hau Le with Potomac Pediatric Dentistry!

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Published: 06/09/2015
We want to take a moment to introduce you to our newest PwcMoms advertiser, Potomac Pediatric Dentistry! They've got a fun open house coming up on June 20th: 
But before that, I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to their newest doctor, Dr. Hau Le! She took a few minutes to answer some important questions I know we're all looking for in a pediatric dentist- like what's your favorite Disney movie- and she sounds like such a sweet, fun person, I can definitely see her taking the stress out of visiting the dentist!! 
PwcMoms- Tell me a little about what made you want to go into pediatric dentistry? 
Dr. Hau Le- I grew up in Vietnam where dental care was a privilege. I had many incidences of dental pain when I was a child, and was extremely fearful of the dentist. In fact, dental visits were always a threat. I got lucky enough to be sent to study aboard in the US to pursue my education. I chose dentistry, and pediatric dentistry has been always something I hold dear to my heart due to my childhood experiences. After dental school, I worked for a community health center that served underprivileged children in Maryland, and it truly confirmed my commitment to pediatric dentistry.


PwcMoms- Wow! Having that childhood experience must make you a great advocate for your little patients!! What's your favorite part about working with kids?
Dr. Hau Le- They are so honest, unique and fun to work with. My most rewarding part is helping a child to conquer their fear of the dentist.  The best part is I get to be myself around kids, being a kid at heart myself :)

PwcMoms- Nice! So, what's your advice for parents with kids who are nervous about the dentist?
Dr. Hau Le- Preparation is the key. I understand parents sometimes have dental anxiety themselves, but try to limit transferring that fear to your children. Parents should always refer to dental appointments as a positive and not as a threat (the dentist is going to drill your teeth out if you don't brush!) and let our team guide their child's dental experiences when they come to the office. We also welcome "happy visits" for our littlest patients, or childre with special needs  who would benefit from a visit to the office without any work done for them to familiarize them with the doctors and staff. 

PwcMoms- I love that- I know some of my friends with kids on the Autism Spectrum sometimes need their child to have a little extra time to acclimate.  Speaking of your office, how does it differ from a regular dentist? 
Dr. Hau Le- Our staff and doctors are well-trained and experienced in working with children. We use kid friendly behavior guidance that is uniquely tailored for each child coming to our office. We've also definitely got a fun and inviting space- check it out and come visit us on June 20th! 
A few fun facts- 
Dr. Hau Le's favorite Disney movie is "Frozen"
Her favorite scrubs have Princess Ana on them
And when she was growing up, she wanted to be an Astronaut! 


Potomac Pediatric Dentistry is located at 16708 Jefferson Davis Highway #115 in Dumfries.
You can call them at 703-221-4040 or visit www.ppdsmile.com

Guest Review: iBbeautiful

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Published: 06/02/2015
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We've reviewed quite a number of boxes, so believe us when we say that this is a very special sub box.  When we opened it - we were floored by the items included and how thoughtful and lovely they were.  iBbeautiful mission is "to help young girls realize they are beautiful just as they are without comparisons to how others look or act.  We do this by offering a monthly box of inspiration that includes fun lifestyle items and a message of empowerment to help young girls be confident, smart, brave, unique and kind.  Every girl should be confident that she will become the woman she is meant to be and can achieve anything she sets her mind to". We love this box. iBbeautiful kindly sent us this box free for review purposes.

Cost
There are two age groups that you can choose a box for: 8-12 and then 13+.
For either sub you can choose  the basic box (with no t-shirt) for $20 or you can get the box with t-shirt included for $30.  If you want a one-time only box the costs are $24 and $34 respectively.

Shipping 
Shipping is included in the above prices.

What do you get? 
Every box will have fun lifestyle items that promote a message of empowerment to young girls.
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Each box includes a card that shares their positive, caring and empowering curation for the month.  Also included is a card detailing all of the items included and their values.
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Bra Strap Headband (value $8) - this is ingenious and adorable.  Not really a bra strap, but a great idea for old bras.  You can wear it so many different ways and it has quality construction.

Aspire Journal (value $3) - This notebook is the perfect size for tucking into a pocket and jotting down dreams, ideas and other important notes on the run.  The message on the front is a reminder to invest in yourself and to work for the things where your heart is.
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True Girl Exfoliator (value $18.50) - We loved this gentle scrub!!  It smells like a mix of berries and apple and left our skin feeling so clean and soft.  Great for teens to help with breakouts.

Zipper Headphones (value $8) - We can't believe that the value on these headphones is so low.  They are super nice and we really like them.  The zipper on them makes storage a breeze and the cool factor is seriously on fleek (did we just say that?)
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Spring Scarf (value $18) - LOVE!  This is a beautiful, soft and airy scarf that is perfect for the fashions on trend right now.  The soft pink coloring with pale chocolate detailing is dreamy.
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Aspire Graphic T-Shirt (value $22) - Super well-constructed fitted t-shirt.

BOTTOM LINE 
(Value $77.50) - Wow - this is an incredible value (considering the box only costs $30).  It is so wonderful to see a company that wants to empower young girls to love who they are, the way they are.  All of the items were very age appropriate (nothing too mature) and of a great quality.  We think this is one of our favorite tween/teen boxes.
Author Bio: Rhubarb has lived in Prince William County for almost 16 years and is the mom to three wonderful young men. She is a sometime author and is active in her church. To relax she enjoys finding seashells on the beach and snorkeling for them in the ocean. Her new website and blog Rhubarb&Blackberry: Musings of a Landlocked Mermaid is a work in progress and is more fun than she could have imagined. Her current obsession is subscription boxes (beauty, food, home & lifestyle) and she hopes to launch her own branded items sometime this year.

Newsies at the National!

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Published: 05/26/2015

I am so excited that Newsies is coming to the National Theatre in DC! (June 9-21!)

This could be because when I was in High School, Newsies indicated that we had a substitute teacher in Choir, and I was going to be able to start on my 4-6 hours of homework a little early.

It could also be because now is the time to seize the day.  Your choice.

They delivered the papers, until they made the headlines…Direct from Broadway comes NEWSIES, the smash-hit, crowd-pleasing new musical from Disney. Winner of the 2012 Tony Awards® for Best Score and Best Choreography, NEWSIES has audiences and critics alike calling it “A MUSICAL WORTH SINGING ABOUT!” (The New York Times). Filled with one heart-pounding number after another, it’s a high-energy explosion of song and dance you just don’t want to miss.
Based on true events, NEWSIES tells the captivating story of a band of underdogs who become unlikely heroes when they stand up to the most powerful men in New York. It’s a rousing tale about fighting for what’s right…and staying true to who you are.
NEWSIES was brought to the stage by an award-winning creative team. It features a score by Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast) and Jack Feldman (The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride) and a book by Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles), with choreography by Christopher Gattelli (South Pacific) and direction by Jeff Calhoun (Big River).

Whether you think it's a Fine Life, or you'd like to be King of New York- Newsies is a great musical with a fantastic message!

Want to go? I've got a pair of tickets to give away to the June 10th show! Visit my facebook page for details on how to win!



As with all of our giveaways, prize is provided by the sponsoring organization, and our giveaway rules apply.

Leesylvania Canoe Tours 2015

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Published: 05/20/2015
Throughout the spring and summer, Leesylvania Sate Park will be offering Canoe Tours.  Tours are $9 per person, or $6 if you reserve a group of 4 or more.  YOU MUST REGISTER 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE by calling 703-583-6904. 


Leesylvania State Park 2015 Event Calendar

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Published: 05/03/2015
Leesylvania State Park always has a series of fun events for summer!! Join them outside for some great fun in the sun! Whether it's Naitonal Kids to Park Day or Music at the Marina, it'll be a fun (and low-cost!) time! 


2015 Leesylvania State Park Kids Fishing Tournaments

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Published: 04/30/2015
Leesylvania State Park hosts monthly fishing tournaments! Join them for some fun for ages 2-15.  The program is free, but there is a fee to park.

2015 Junior Ranger Program at Leesylvania State Park

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Published: 04/20/2015
Our Junior Ranger program is back for another exciting year!! Each day we cover new topics, and introduce fun educational activities that help keep things fun and interesting. It is a great way for you and your child to learn about the rich history and nature that is in your own backyard.  There is a $60.00 enrollment fee per session for each participant. This covers all supplies, graduation certificate, t-shirt, and patch.

Giveaway: Girls on the Run 5K

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Published: 10/30/2014
Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia has an upcoming PWC Race! (Plus their colors are fantastic!)






Pfitzner (Potomac Nationals) Stadium
Woodbridge, VA
Saturday November 22, 2014
8:30am Race Start 



Runners of All Ages and Abilities are Welcome
5K shirts for all registered participants. 
Medals for all race finishers.


Come run, walk, skip, or roll across the finish line with us and support 2,000 girls in Northern Virginia as they achieve their goal to complete a 5K.  It's all about setting a personal goal and doing our best to achieve it! 


Want to join the fun? Enter to win Free race entry for you and your running buddy, plus a swag bag of Girls on the Run branded merchandise! Can't wait to win? Register online HERE. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway



As always, our giveaways are provided by the sponsor and governed by our giveaway rules, which you agree to by virtue of entering to win. 

FREE Family Events at Freedom!

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Published: 10/18/2014

Featured Organization Friday: Virginia Service Conservation Corps

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Published: 09/26/2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: Sept. 15, 2014
Applicants needed for new service program in Virginia State Parks
(RICHMOND) — Applications are being accepted for the inaugural season of the Virginia Service and Conservation Corps. Created by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service, and inspired by the conservation ethic of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps, VSCC participants will help to preserve and protect public lands in Virginia.
VSCC projects include trail construction and maintenance, invasive species control and prescribed burn projects that re-establish historic, fire-adapted ecosystems on parklands. Crewmembers may also have short-term deployments for disaster relief in affected communities.
Crew members will complete 1,700 hours of service during a 10-month term from November 2014 through August 2015.
Participants receive a taxable, monthly living allowance of $1,210, student loan forbearance and health care if needed. VSCC membership provides hands-on training and formal education opportunities, as well as eligibility for the Segal Education Award of $5,645 upon successful completion of the term of service. The education award may be used to pay educational costs at eligible post-secondary institutions, including many technical schools and GI-Bill approved educational programs, as well as to repay qualified student loans.
Applicants must be US citizens and 17 or older, possess a high school diploma or equivalent, and pass a comprehensive background check. The deadline is Nov. 17, but applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. This is a non-residential program; housing is not provided. Members must be capable of reporting daily to their base park at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge or Hungry Mother State Park in Marion.
Mandatory training for selected members will be held at Twin Lakes State Park Nov. 19-23, 2014.
Based upon the award-winning success of Virginia State Parks’ Youth Conservation Corps, which received the Department of Interior’s “Take Pride In America” Best Youth Volunteer Program award in 2010, the VSCC will address veteran and young-adult unemployment rates, environmental decline, the public’s growing disconnect with nature and the catastrophic effect of natural disasters in communities across Virginia.
VSCC crews will develop leadership qualities while the VSCC will develop a new generation of skilled workers, educated citizens, and active stewards of America’s natural and cultural resources.
To apply, visit apply online here. For more information, email vspamericorps@dcr.virginia.gov or call 804-625-3984.
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation manages Virginia State Parks, which offer dozens of festivals and concerts and thousands of educational programs across the state.
For more information about state park activities and amenities, or to make reservations in one of the 25 parks with camping facilities or 18 parks with cabins or family lodges, call the Virginia State Parks Customer Care Center at 800-933-7275 or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.
# # #
Jim Meisner, Jr.
Public Relations Specialist
Va. Dept. of Conservation and Recreation
600 E. Main St., 16th Floor
Richmond, VA  23219

(804) 786-8442                        Fax (804) 371-2072
jim.meisner@dcr.virginia.gov      www.dcr.virginia.gov/

Anniversary of the Potomac Blockade 2014 Living History

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Published: 09/20/2014

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

Seed Stomp Volunteers Wanted!

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

Engineering for Kids STEM Discovery Center Grand Opening!

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


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

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

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


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

My Link Teen Bus Pass Summer 2014

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Published: 06/06/2014



Teens ages 13-19 may use MyLink on OmniLink and Cross County Connector buses between 

Monday, June 2 and Saturday, August 30, 2014.  The pass costs $30, and in return teens get an

 unlimited number of local bus rides for the entire summer!  With the cost of a regular one-way bus 

ride currently at $1.30, a teen who takes at least 12 round-trips during the summer will save money

 by riding with a MyLink pass.  Passes will be sold at multiple locations from June 2 – August 1,

 2014.

Getting three months of unlimited bus rides for $30 is a bargain, but teens can save even more when 

they showing their MyLink pass at these attractions:


– Potomac Nationals, Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge –$1 off general admission at Friday home 

games;

– Prince William Ice Center, 5180 Dale Boulevard, Woodbridge –$2 off public skate entry;

– Bowl America, 13409 Occoquan Road, Woodbridge and 9000 Mathis Avenue, Manassas – one free 

game per visit, per day;

– Manassas 4 Cinemas, 8890 Mathis Avenue, Manassas – $1 off admission on Fridays, Saturdays and

 Sundays;

– Stonewall Pool, 8531 Stonewall Road, Manassas – $1 off admission.

With MyLink, teens won’t need to borrow the family car or beg for gas money to get around town.

  MyLink enables teens to have a safe, reliable ride to get to summer jobs, shopping centers, 

recreation centers, libraries and lots of other places where they want to go.

For the convenience of teens and their parents, passes will be sold June 2 – August 1 at:

– The PRTC Transit Center, at the intersection of Potomac Mills Road and Telegraph Road in 

Woodbridge, Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

– Chinn Aquatics and Fitness Center (cash or credit only), Monday – Thursday 5 a.m. – 9 p.m.; 

Friday 5 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

– Sharron Baucom – Dale City Recreation Center (cash or credit only), Monday – Friday 6 a.m. – 9 

p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

– Ben Lomond Community Center (cash or credit only), Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

– Manassas City Hall Treasurer’s Office (cash only), Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

– Manassas Park City Hall Treasurer’s Office (cash only), Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. 

and 3-5 p.m.

Teens who have a photo ID should bring it with them when purchasing a MyLink pass because a 

sticker will be applied to the front of their ID.  Teens who don’t have a photo ID will be given a

 MyLink card with a sticker.  Teens simply show their ID or MyLink card to the bus operator each

 time they board.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, PRTC, provides transportation services

 in Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.  OmniLink local buses 

serve routes in Manassas and Manassas Park on Mondays through Fridays and serve routes in Dale

 City, Dumfries, Lake Ridge, Quantico, the Route 1 Corridor and Woodbridge on Mondays through

 Saturdays.  The Cross County Connector operates Mondays through Fridays and connects eastern

 Prince William County with the Manassas area.

MyLink is one of three PRTC programs designed to educate youth about public transportation.

  PRTC also offers a preschool and elementary program focusing on bus safety, and a middle school 

program that shows how public transportation helps to preserve our environment and natural

 resources.

For more information about MyLink or any of PRTC’s transportation services, contact 

Customer Service at (703) 730-6664 or visit PRTCtransit.org



Host a Student with USA Connections

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Published: 04/08/2014
USA Connection is an exchange program that is currently looking for host families (who are compensated!) who would like to have a student from Spain join their family for a few weeks this summer.  Interested? Here are some details! 



1) Tell me a little about your organization and how you got involved

We have always enjoyed intercultural experiences, since we  ourselves are an international couple, and we have traveled, lived in different countries, and speak different languages. Last year, for the first time, we decided to extend that experience to others by inviting a carefully selected group of Basque teens to stay with American families during the month of July.  It was a great experience for everyone.  After last year's great experience, we were really motivated to do it again!


2) What's one of your favorite exchange stories from students?
 
One of our more conscientious students forgot to change the timezone on his cellphone alarm. So, on his first night with his host family he went to bed at a relatively normal time only to get up, shower and go down to have breakfast at 1:00 a.m. all the while wondering how American's could sleep so late on a week day!

Another was at a 4th of July pool party, and was the only one to notice when a toddler fell into the pool. He quickly jumped in to pull the toddler out.

3) What's one of your favorite exchange stories from a family?
 
One of the families from the Lake Ridge area enjoyed the experience of having one of our youth so much that they want to host the same student again! They've kept in touch all year and are even planning on being the first family to do a full exchange with our program by sending their daughter to Spain to stay for 3 weeks with their host student's family.



4) What's involved in hosting a student?
 
Nothing special, really. We do ask that our student have a private bedroom and that Spanish not be the primary language of the host family. Other than that, they should do their own laundry, help with basic chores and go where your family goes.


If your family goes to church, take them to church. If one of your children has a softball game, take them to the game. The only "extra" thing would be to drop them off at the pickup point for our 2 day trips and when we take them to summer camp- and pick them back up, of course!

The families, in general, aren't expected to pay the students way. They travel with their own pocket money. They also travel with full medical and liability insurance in the case of any mishaps.


Having a teen in the family is preferable, but not necessary. Children that they can interact with is a requirement though.


5) Where do students come from? What do they like to do?
Our students come, primarily, from the Basque Country, a small nation between Spain and France. Most of the Basque live on the Spanish side of the border.  Because of the Basque Country's unique situation, most of our students are trilingual, with Spanish, Basque and English. A few speak French as well.

Our students are very similar to kids in the US. The boys like soccer and video games. Many of them surf if they live near the coast. The girls tend to be athletic as well, playing soccer and field hockey. Basketball is also very popular. It's common to see groups of teens hanging out on a park bench talking and playing with their cellphones just like kids in the U.S. In the summer, they tend to spend the day at the beach.

6) What kind of support is offered to host families?
We try to be as supportive as possible. We travel with the kids from Bilbao to Paris and on to Dulles and help make sure they arrive with their host families safely. We stay in the area for the entire trip, so we're available any time to help out with any issues, like homesickness or illness, that might come up. We give families basic instructions on what is expected of them while hosting one of our students, as well as a list of appropriate activities that they might want to consider. We also invite family members to come on day trips that we organize and the going away party.

We also offer a stipend to the families to cover the cost of having an extra person in the house.

 

This is a sponsored post brought to you by USA Connections.  PwcMoms has not participated in the program and makes no explicit or implied claims about your family's experience.

US Science and Engineering Festival 2014!

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

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. 

Featured Organization Friday: Wreaths Across America

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Published: 12/20/2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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.

High School Parents' Summit 2014

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Published: 12/13/2013

Attention Parents: You're invited to a High School Parent Summit at Hylton High School on Saturday, January 11 from 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. The program offers expert presentations on graduation requirements, earning college credit through tests, financial aid and scholarships, college admissions and programs, SAT/ACT information, career and workforce information, trade and technical options, and much more. Attendance is free, but space is limited.  

Register ONLINE to ensure a space. 

Sponsored Post: Animated Child Programs for Fall

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Published: 10/24/2013

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

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

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

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

Try Hockey Free at PWICE!

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


Savings at Animated Child

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Published: 10/01/2013
Our sponsor, Animated Child, is offering PwcMoms.com readers a free class! If you enroll at your free class, you'll also save $80 on your membership! Classes include art, languages, and more!
daytime playtime - a fun place to Learn.... a great place to Grow A Play Gym Designed for Parents and Children Aged 10 Months to 4 1/2 Years... Children's National Health System - Just Right PWC Library - Summer Reading Program