8/18/16

Guest Post: PokeQuan GoBoat Adventure

Sarah Meisenhelter is a special education teacher, pastor's wife, mom, and all around awesome gal (not necessarily in that order)! Thanks for writing this for us, Sarah! 

If you have kids who love Pokémon GO! consider setting sail for a one-hour leisurely cruise on the PokeQuan GoBoat Adventure!   My 8 year-old son, Max, a few friends (ages 8-11), their moms and I went on the 9 p.m. Sunday night sailing.  We had such a fun time! 

Why would you go Pokémon hunting on the water….at night?  According to Max, being on the water at night at a slow, consistent speed increases the likelihood of catching Pokémon.  He also claims that there is a higher chance of finding rare Pokémon at night.  He found this to be true. He caught 3 Dratinis. His friends caught Dragonite and Aerodactyl.

This was a great mother-son activity and the moms had fun together as well.  After getting our kids settled at the table, we went on the small outdoor area at the front of the boat to enjoy a relaxing hour on the river. 

This is a new endeavor and dates and times for sailings are released often, so liking the Facebook page for this is the best way to keep up with the schedule.  Tickets can be purchased via an Eventbrite.com link posted on the Facebook page.   Pick up is at the dock behind Madigan’s Waterfront Restaurant in Occoquan.  As an added bonus, Occoquan is an historical area, so there is a lot of good Pokemon hunting by just walking through town.
We will definitely be going again!


Here are some tips from the creators of this experience:
TO BE THE BEST TRAINER YOU MUST BE PREPARED!
 *Bring as many Poké Balls as you can!
 *HAVE TWO INCENSE!
 *Our GoBoat travels at 10mph so incense will be your best bait while we travel. The Incense algorithms increase generated Pokémon based off the distance you travel at a consistent pace. Simply put, cast that incense on the water and you can sit back and cash in on Pokémon.
 *INCUBATE YOUR EGGS
 *Since we cruise at roughly 5 to 6mph, your eggs will all incubate quickly during the expedition. Hatch em all while ya catch em all!

 TICKET PRICES
 $15 Per Traveler
 Travelers 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

PERKS OF PASSAGE
 Free charging stations for phones/tablets
 Fun music!
 Full cash/credit Bar with adult and children beverages
 A beautiful hour on the water with real nature!
 Prizes for the "Catch of The Day" on each cruise

SIGNATURE DRINKS! $6
 *PeachAchu*
 *Charmandarin*
 *Squirtle*

 Catch them all! :) TIPS:
TO BE THE BEST TRAINER
YOU MUST BE PREPARED!

*Bring as many Poké Balls as you can!
*HAVE TWO INCENSE!
*Our GoBoat travels at 10mph so incense will be your best bait while we travel. The Incense algorithms increase generated Pokemon based off the distance you travel at a consistent pace. Simply put, cast that incense on the water and you can sit back and cash in on Pokemon.
*INCUBATE YOUR EGGS
*Since we cruise at roughly 5 to 6mph, your eggs will all incubate quickly during the expedition. Hatch em all while ya catch em all!

TICKET PRICES
$15 Per Traveler
Travelers 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

PERKS OF PASSAGE
Free charging stations for phones/tablets
Fun music!
Full cash/credit Bar with adult and children beverages
A beautiful hour on the water with real nature!
Prizes for the "Catch of The Day" on each cruise

SIGNATURE DRINKS! $6
*PeachAchu*
*Charmandarin*
*Squirtle*
Catch them all! :) TIPS:
TO BE THE BEST TRAINER
YOU MUST BE PREPARED!

*Bring as many Poké Balls as you can!
*HAVE TWO INCENSE!
*Our GoBoat travels at 10mph so incense will be your best bait while we travel. The Incense algorithms increase generated Pokemon based off the distance you travel at a consistent pace. Simply put, cast that incense on the water and you can sit back and cash in on Pokemon.
*INCUBATE YOUR EGGS
*Since we cruise at roughly 5 to 6mph, your eggs will all incubate quickly during the expedition. Hatch em all while ya catch em all!

TICKET PRICES
$15 Per Traveler
Travelers 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

PERKS OF PASSAGE
Free charging stations for phones/tablets
Fun music!
Full cash/credit Bar with adult and children beverages
A beautiful hour on the water with real nature!
Prizes for the "Catch of The Day" on each cruise

SIGNATURE DRINKS! $6
*PeachAchu*
*Charmandarin*
*Squirtle*
Catch them all! :)

8/7/16

Nutrition Sunday: Rock Those Abs




Nutrition  Sundays are provided by MaxMuscle Manassas

8/2/16

National Night Out 2016

Looking for something to do tonight for National Night Out?  Check out these community celebrations if your neighborhood isn't participating, and be sure to check out the NNO link above to register your neighborhood or HOA for next year!



The City of Manassas (link) will host a family-friendly event with demonstrations and displays from first responders, free museum admission, food, games, and fun. The event begins at 6pm at the Manassas Museum Lawn (9101 Prince William Street, Manassas VA)

The City of Manassas Park (link) will also host an event featuring McGruff the Crime Dog from 5pm-9pm at Signal Hill Park (9300 Signal Hill Drive, Manassas Park).


First United Presbyterian Church of Dale City will host a free family-friendly event from 5-8:30pm in the church parking lot (14391 Minnieville Road Woodbridge).

The Town of Haymarket will host a block party from 5-9pm at 15000 Haymarket Street with food, music, inflatables, and more.

7/31/16

Nutrition Sunday: Eating for Two


Nutrition  Sundays are provided by MaxMuscle Manassas

7/29/16

Review: Orphs of the Woodlands

Alright, so it is summer and your kids are always on your phone/their phone/your iPad/their iPad.  Let's be honest here.  If they're going to be on the screen, you may as well have them do something educational with  Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree from Star Toaster.
Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review
The app is only $1.99 at the iTunes store, which I know because I didn't use my promo code in time for this review so I ended up paying for it.  However, it's a great concept, and I'll tell you why.  First of all, Orphs of the Woodlands is designed to teach reading comprehension and language arts concepts.  They encourage your child by rewarding them for reading with games which earn them points they can use to purchase items for their woodland orphans.  
One thing that's really smart about the structure of this game is that your child CANNOT do any "jobs" (this is how they earn stars) until they unlock them by reading a chapter of the interactive chapter book.  That means they absolutely have to do a little reading in order to get to purchase items they want to get. 
This is my daughter's "Stumptown" screen.  She currently has no jobs available and has 9 stars to purchase with.  From this screen she can go to the main page (compass), read (book), earn stars in Stumptown doing jobs (star), or go to her goal page where she can purchase items.  When jobs are available, the 0s will change to 1 or 2 or however many "jobs" are available. Jobs are directly related to the reading your child has just done, for example: 

 In chapter one, you see halfway is a link.  If your child clicks on it, it takes them over to an explanation of compound words and gives them several examples.  When they go over to earn stars, one of the jobs will involve being able to fill in the blanks on compound words to complete them correctly. There are also comprehension jobs that relate to additional information provided on concepts, such as a "weather predictor" or "tail technician".  Some of these reading comprehension extensions are actually read to your child when the click on the link, which is nice especially if it is science-heavy.

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review
Generally speaking, we really like this interactive book and game.  My daughter is happy to play it, and I don't feel guilty handing over my phone when there's reading involved.  We do have a couple of things we didn't like, however. 
Looking at the screen above, you'll notice that when there's a "letter" or "journal" the type can be VERY small.  My daughter didn't like that and thought it made it hard to read.  Also, some of the name choices in the story are questionable for less confident readers- such as Hattah and Eixie.  My daughter really struggled with that one- "The E says its name, right mom, because it's two vowels? But that's a strange name." Now obviously that small type would be fixed by being on an iPad screen, and when she plays on the iPad we don't have that issue, but we don't really take our iPad to go the way we take our iPhone, so that was a downside for me.  The only other issue we had is specific to my daughter who still likes to track with her finger when she reads- not ideal for on-screen reading, but that's a problem we have on lots of programs and devices, and hopefully as she becomes a more confident reader this will stop being a problem.  Luckily on this program, you actually have to click on the arrows to change the page, so she isn't swiping the pages away trying to read, but she did have a tendency to click on more information links when she didn't mean to. 
Overall, Savannah liked this product a lot and is happy to read and play on my phone, so I'd give it a thumbs up the next time you need to purchase a few moments of sanity while you wait in line, at the DMV, at sports practice, or any of the 1,000,000 other places we all end up putting our kids in a boredom holding pattern! Happy playing! 
Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review
Crew Disclaimer

7/27/16

Getaway in Savannah, Georgia (Sunday)

This year all the stars aligned perfectly for us to be able to take a grown-ups only vacation! While my oldest was at scout camp, my younger two did the free day camp at the Marine Corps Museum, and then stayed with my mom for a week.  We met up with my sister-in-law and her husband in Savannah for a few days of fun and random mid-day naps! (Because if I don't have kids with me, I just want to nap.) Here's a run down of what we did.

Sunday: Getting In
My husband was SUPER concerned that we'd be late picking his sister up from the airport (closest is Savannah/Hilton Head International, which is really small), so we drove all night and got in to downtown Savannah around 2am.  Savannah is kicking on Saturday night/Sunday morning and they have this weird open container rule where people can just roam the streets with alcohol, so everyone was in a good mood.  We tried to get an early check in at our hotel (Residence Inn Savannah Midtown- it was just okay, nothing to really write home about, but we had Marriott points!) but they were completely booked, as was everything we passed, so we ended up paying $10 and sleeping in our van in a parking garage.
Welcome to the Hotel Dodge Grand Caravan.  
I've got to give a shoutout here to our Grand Caravan, which has seats that lay WAY flat and is super comfortable to sleep in.  Thanks, Dodge, for being so considerate of people who can't find a hotel.  One of my "must see" places was the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, but since I was traveling with 3 people who aren't religious, I only wanted to torture my husband, so we hit the 8am mass so that I could see the building and go to church all in one swoop. The cathedral is really beautiful, and you guys, early mass is SHORT! I'm not Catholic, but I can tell you that in the time it took for mass to happen, my church might have made it through the first worship set.  
And yes, we changed clothes.  Thanks McDonalds, for having lovely facilities that we were able to use to change in.  After mass, my crazy wonderful husband decided we couldn't pick up his sister after driving in our car, and so we had to find a car wash and wash/vacuum the car.  

For Real. 

Luckily there's one really close to the airport, so we did that and then picked up my SIL and her husband.  Unfortunately our hotel didn't have a room clean yet for an early check in (but they'd probably have one around noon), so we headed to Clary's for brunch/lunch.  The nicest part about this restaurant was that it's in a really historic neighborhood and we had fun peeking into gardens and taking pictures of oak trees covered in Spanish Moss while we waited. 


So we ate lunch....

Aaaand, our hotel was still booked and couldn't get us in any earlier than 3pm, so we headed over to the Savannah College of Art and Design's museum
Note: You can't actually take this picture.  There's only one "insert" but Joe is a Photoshop Ninja.

The SCAD museum is really neat, although I have a hard time paying for museums (the Smithsonians have ruined me for life).  It was $10 per person (military/senior discounts are available), but there was a family pass for $30 for a family of 4, and we are, actually, all related so we did that :)  The exhibits switch out, but while we were there they had a bunch of neat modern art, a Carolina Herrera exhibit with tons of gorgeous dresses, and something about complex motion- the bulldozer in the picture below actually looks like a cathedral and the man who made it didn't give it a motor, but everything can move, so it could, in theory, work.  The docents are all SCAD students and while most of them are just quietly lurking in the corners with iPads, several of them are SUPER EXCITED about art and want to tell you all the cool facts that they know.  We liked those people a lot.  I wish I'd made some kind of an effort to remember the names of the really fantastic docents, but as you may recall, I slept in my car the night before, so you're lucky I remember I went to this museum to begin with. So there. 

After dinner, we went back to our hotel (!!) room and I played the mom and made everyone pick things they wanted to do so that we didn't just sit around all week doing nothing because we had to plan each morning.  

Okay, I initially planned on doing this in one post, but this is getting a little long, so we're going to divide this sucker up.  So that was Sunday, and it ended with me getting to sleep in a bed.  Which was amazing.