9/17/16

Fun for Fall 2016


Regional Farm Activities
Belvedere Plantation (Fredericksburg, VA) See our past review here. Is open September 24th-October 30th on weekends, with weekdays beginning September 27th. Tickets vary in price from $9.25 to $22.50 depending on the day of the week and what it includes.  Military and Senior discounts are available on certain hours of admission, see their website for details. They are generally closed on Mondays, except Columbus Day.

Cows And Corn (Faquier) is open for fall starting September 17th.  $10 for everyone 3 and up. Children under 3 are free.  Admission includes a hayride tour, meet a cow, puppet show, play area, butter making, corn maze, moo bound, cow train.  Pumpkins and refreshments additional fee.

Cox Farms (Chantilly, VA) with weekends starting September 17th/18th and weekdays beginning September 26th, Cox Farms is open daily with lots of fun for your kiddos.  See our past reviews here.  Discount weekday tickets are available for as low as $6, weekend tickets are as high as $17 on prime weekends.  Cox Farms also features a "Fields of Fear" attraction for older kids/adults which opens September 23rd.


Great Country Farms (Bluemont, VA) is open October 1-31st for their Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival and tickets are $8/child, $10/adults on weekdays, or $10/child $12/adult on weekends and Columbus Day.  See our past reviews here.

Ticonderoga Farms (Chantilly, VA) is open daily September 24th to October 31st with daily admission $10.95 weekdays and $16.95 weekends/holidays. See our past reviews here.

Pick Your Own Apples/Pumpkins
Crooked Run Orchard (Loudon)
Hartland Orchard (Markham)
Hollin Farms (Delaplane)
Stribling Orchard (Markham)
Yankey Farms (Nokesville)

Pumpkin Patches/Activities 
Lake Ridge Nursery (Woodbridge) is open daily September 23rd to October 31st with daily admission $10 per child weekdays, $12 per child weekends.

Haunted Houses/Spooky Events
Spirits of Rippon Lodge is held from 7-9pm October 21 and October 22.  Admission is $10 per person and the tour is not recommended for young children.  Tours are on the half hour, call 703-499-9812 for REQUIRED reservations.

Spend the Night In Brentsville Jail on October 28th from 8pm to 8am.  Call 703-365-7895 for details and reservations.

Hospital Horrors by Night from 7-9pm on the half hour, is not recommended for children under age 12.  Reservations are strongly recommended, and the tour is $10pp.  Ben Lomond Historic Site 703-367-7872

Cox Farms also features a "Fields of Fear" attraction for older kids/adults which opens September 23rd.

Fall Festivals 
Date: Saturday October 1, 2016
Event Name: Manassas Fall Jubilee
Location: Harris Pavilion/Main Street Manassas VA 
Time: 10am-5pm
Fee: Event is free, various activities have prices associated
Short Description: Historic Manassas in Northern Virginia celebrates fall with its Annual Fall Festival, the Manassas Fall Jubilee, a family-friendly event featuring live music and entertainment, hand-made crafts, and a variety of foods. The streets are lined with craft vendors, non-profit organizations and community information booths that hold raffles and drawings throughout the day.


Date: October 15th, 2016
Event Name: Dumfries Fall Festival
Location: Garrison Park (Behind Town Hall) Dumfries, VA 
Time: 11am-5pm
Fee: No entrance fee, food and some activities additional


Date: Friday, October 21
Event Name: Floating Gourd Night
Location: Manassas Park Community Center 99 Adams Street, Manassas Park
Time: 7-8:30pm
Fee: $5 per person
Short Description: Catch a gourd/pumpkin in the pool, decorate it and take home to enjoy

Date: Friday, October 21, 2016
Event Name: Fright Lights
Location: Hylton High School
Time: 6pm (Family Friendly) 9pm (Loud and Scary) 
Fee: $10 (Auditorium only seats 65 and shows do sell out, consider purchasing early in the main office at Hylton High School) 
Short Description: Looking for a unique way to send chills up your spine? Do you have the courage to sit through the most terrifying laser experience ever? Are you brave enough to witness vampires seducing their prey and demons haunting the unsuspecting? Or perhaps you will keep your eyes closed and only sneak a peek at fun renditions like Purple People Eater or The Devil Went Down to Georgia. Laser Fright Light is a ghoulish way to celebrate the Halloween season..if you dare!


Date: Saturday October 22, 2016
Event Name: Not Scary Night Hike
Location: Bull Run Mountain Conservancy
Time: 7-8:30pm in timeslots 
Fee: $7 in advance, $10 at the door (limited, reservations HIGHLY recommended) 
Short Description: BRMC wants to take you on an hour-long, night-time hike through the Bull Run Mountains! A guide will lead you along the trail where you will meet native "wildlife" that perform natural history skits. There is a new cast of animals each year, so don't miss it! Join us for face painting, Halloween snacks, hot cider, a bonfire, and live music. Bring a flashlight, wear good hiking shoes, and remember that it can get cold on the Mountain.


Date: Saturday, October 22, 2016
Event Name: Fright Lights
Location: Hylton High School
Time: 4:30pm (Family Friendly), 6pm (Family Friendly), 7:30pm (Loud and Scary), 9pm (Loud and Scary) 
Fee: $10 (Auditorium only seats 65 and shows do sell out, consider purchasing early in the main office at Hylton High School) 
Short Description: Looking for a unique way to send chills up your spine? Do you have the courage to sit through the most terrifying laser experience ever? Are you brave enough to witness vampires seducing their prey and demons haunting the unsuspecting? Or perhaps you will keep your eyes closed and only sneak a peek at fun renditions like Purple People Eater or The Devil Went Down to Georgia. Laser Fright Light is a ghoulish way to celebrate the Halloween season..if you dare!


Date: Friday October 28, 2016
Event Name: Not Scary Night Hike
Location: Bull Run Mountain Conservancy
Time: 7-8:30pm in timeslots 
Fee: $7 in advance, $10 at the door (limited, reservations HIGHLY recommended) 
Short Description: BRMC wants to take you on an hour-long, night-time hike through the Bull Run Mountains! A guide will lead you along the trail where you will meet native "wildlife" that perform natural history skits. There is a new cast of animals each year, so don't miss it! Join us for face painting, Halloween snacks, hot cider, a bonfire, and live music. Bring a flashlight, wear good hiking shoes, and remember that it can get cold on the Mountain.


Date: Friday, October 28, 2016
Event Name: Fright Lights
Location: Hylton High School
Time: 6pm (Family Friendly) 9pm (Loud and Scary) 
Fee: $10 (Auditorium only seats 65 and shows do sell out, consider purchasing early in the main office at Hylton High School) 
Short Description: Looking for a unique way to send chills up your spine? Do you have the courage to sit through the most terrifying laser experience ever? Are you brave enough to witness vampires seducing their prey and demons haunting the unsuspecting? Or perhaps you will keep your eyes closed and only sneak a peek at fun renditions like Purple People Eater or The Devil Went Down to Georgia. Laser Fright Light is a ghoulish way to celebrate the Halloween season..if you dare!


Date: October 29, 2016
Event Name: Fall Fest and Pipe Screams
Location: Grace UMC 9750 Wellington Road Manassas
Time: 5pm (Fall Festival) 7pm (Pipe Screams Concert) 
Fee: Free
Short Description: 


Date: Saturday, October 29, 2016
Event Name: Fright Lights
Location: Hylton High School
Time: 4:30pm (Family Friendly), 6pm (Family Friendly), 7:30pm (Loud and Scary), 9pm (Loud and Scary) 
Fee: $10 (Auditorium only seats 65 and shows do sell out, consider purchasing early in the main office at Hylton High School) 
Short Description: Looking for a unique way to send chills up your spine? Do you have the courage to sit through the most terrifying laser experience ever? Are you brave enough to witness vampires seducing their prey and demons haunting the unsuspecting? Or perhaps you will keep your eyes closed and only sneak a peek at fun renditions like Purple People Eater or The Devil Went Down to Georgia. Laser Fright Light is a ghoulish way to celebrate the Halloween season..if you dare!


Date: Saturday October 29, 2016
Event Name: Not Scary Night Hike
Location: Bull Run Mountain Conservancy
Time: 7-8:30pm in timeslots 
Fee: $7 in advance, $10 at the door (limited, reservations HIGHLY recommended) 
Short Description: BRMC wants to take you on an hour-long, night-time hike through the Bull Run Mountains! A guide will lead you along the trail where you will meet native "wildlife" that perform natural history skits. There is a new cast of animals each year, so don't miss it! Join us for face painting, Halloween snacks, hot cider, a bonfire, and live music. Bring a flashlight, wear good hiking shoes, and remember that it can get cold on the Mountain.


Date: October 29, 2016
Event Name: Fall Fun Fest sponsored by New Life Christian Church
Location: (with address): Piney Branch Elementary School 8171 Linton Hall Road Bristol, VA 20136
Time: 1pm-4pm
Fee: FREE
Short Description: (including ages): Families are invited to come to our FREE festival including moon bounces, pony rides, petting zoo, games and raffles, including a raffle for a Disney Cruise voucher for family of 4 (value up to $2500 credit)!
Link: NewLife.Church/funfest

Halloween/Trick or Treat/Halloween Alternative Options
Date: Monday, October 31
Event Name: Trunk or Treat
Location: Manassas Park Community Center, 99 Adams Street Manassas Park
Time: 5:30-7:30pm
Fee: FREE
Short Description: Come and trunk or treat in a safe environment! 






Want your event included? Please send it to us in the following format:

Date: 
Event Name: 
Location: 
Time: 
Fee: 
Short Description: 

Link:

9/7/16

Race to Stop Traffick 2016


9/4/16

Homeschool Band in Prince William County

The Woodbridge Home School Band is gearing up to accept new members
for the upcoming school year.  One does not need to live in Woodbridge
to participate; we have members from Alexandria , Clifton , Stafford ,
Burke, Dumfries, and Manassas .  Our starting date and time is
September 12th, 2015, at 1 pm.
 
We accept students ages 10-18 with *no* music experience and will
consider students ages eight and nine on an individual basis and with
prior experience.  We have Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced bands. 
We are brass and woodwinds, no strings, and we only accept
percussionists with prior experience.
 
We meet on Mondays at Dale City Baptist Church on Dale Blvd. (we are
not affiliated with the church; they graciously offer us space; all
are welcome). Beginners meet from 1:00-2:00 pm and Intermediate and
Advanced meet from 2:00-3:00 pm.  Cost is $30/month for the first
student and $25/month for siblings.
 
This band has been around for well over ten years and our middle
school and high school students have the opportunity to participate in
All-District, and for high schoolers, All-State.  Past and current
members have taken top chairs at these events and others.  Students
from this band have gone on to conservatories, including Julliard. 
Our directors, all former public high school band directors, are dedicated to the kids and it shows.
 
For more information, contact Diana Mourad at 703-590-6848, or by email.
You may also contact Mr. Ed Jones, one of the directors, directly by
emailing Jofejones@aol.com.

8/31/16

Review: Spiritual Circle Journal for Kids and Teens

When I first saw the Spiritual Circle Journal for Kids & Teens it reminded me of me. 
Spiritual Circle Journal
See, when I sit in church, I have a lot of thoughts during the sermon, and while we do go to an Assemblies of God church and I could, feasibly, just stand up and start talking in the middle of the pastor's message, it's not one of my goals to cause a major disruption with my comments/questions.  So what do I do to keep quiet? I make my sermon notes pretty.  Sometimes I draw shapes. 
Actual sermon notes from July 2015.  True story. PS- if you're ever in class with me, you want to get my notes, not someone else's. They're fantastic notes and they're usually color-coded. 
Taking notes and using shapes helps me keep quiet, but it also helps me to organize my thoughts, and it helps me to remember important things. The Spiritual Circle Journal helps you do the same thing- organize your thoughts and questions using shapes and colors to help guide your reflection process. 
Spiritual Circle Journal
My middle son used this journal and he really enjoyed it.  However, he asked me not to share any of his pages because his thoughts in journals are private, and I can appreciate that sentiment, so you won't see any here, but I will explain how the journal works. 
Each of the shaped sections is for a different use.  They are:
1. Journal
2. Lyric/Verse
3. Message
4. Confession
5. God Moving
6. Light bulb moment
7. Prayer
8. Adoration
9. Action
The idea is that by using this journal to respond to daily devotional Bible reading in a set way so that over time, your children learn how to use that time for their benefit and not just as a check box on their list of things to do. By guiding them to think about how their daily reading relates to other things (for example, what is a song this reminds me of?) it helps them to make connections from their reading to the rest of their lives. 
One neat thing that I noticed about using this journal was that thinking critically and really engaging in his devotion reading was that he extended it to his schoolwork reading, too.  His brain really started to analyze connections between his language arts reading and outside sources, things he knew from history/science, and even pop culture references.  That was certainly an unexpected bonus! I liked the organizational structure of this journal, and so did Logan, although his chief complaint was that it didn't "feel" journal-y.  To understand that, you need to know that Logan really likes serious journals (he got that from me)- leather-bound, embossed, special feeling journals- so the spiral bound book didn't give him that.  However, I don't think that's really a necessary thing as far as content goes! 
If you're looking to help give your child a more meaningful devotional time, we definitely recommend you check this out! See more reviews at: 
Spiritual Circle Journal

8/30/16

NatGeo Educator Night 2016



Register using this LINK

Dear Educator,
Join us at National Geographic headquarters on September 19th for a free evening dedicated to DC area educators! Learn how Nat Geo’s resources can help prepare your students to be explorers while meeting our staff and mingling with fellow local instructors.
Bring your educator ID to gain free access to National Geographic Museum's The Greeks exhibit, a mock Nat Geo Bee, Explorer magazine, and our Giant Traveling Maps. There will also be light refreshments, giveaways, and raffle prizes!
We hope to see you there!
To ensure your spot, please RSVP by September 10th, 2016

8/26/16

Play Nintendo Tour at Tysons Corner This Weekend!

THE PLAY NINTENDO TOUR BRINGS FAMILY FUN AND MAGICAL ADVENTURES TO
TYSONS CORNER CENTER
 
Come Be a Kid for a Day with Nintendo 3DS Games,
Exciting Activities and Prizes
 
 
WHAT:           Nintendo’s classic characters and games are coming to life as part of the one-of-a-kind Play Nintendo Tour. You’re invited to be a part of the tour when it visits Tysons Corner Center in Tysons Corner, Virginia, from Aug. 26 to Aug. 28. Enjoy a unique experience bursting with color and imagination that offers parents and their kids the chance to play some of Nintendo’s best games on New Nintendo 3DS XL and Nintendo 2DS systems, participate in exciting contests, win awesome prizes and snap memorable photos.
 
                     Inspired by Play Nintendo, Nintendo’s site for kids and families, the tour invites visitors to hop into a Yoshi egg to play Yoshi’s New Island, recline on a giant banana while checking out Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D and relax in pink beanbag chairs to play one of Nintendo’s newest games, Kirby: Planet Robobot. People who are into cool family photos or amazing selfies can take some pictures next to a huge Kirby figure, beside an oversized Yoshi egg, inside a barrel flanked by Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong, under a devastating blue Spiny Shell in the Mario Kart 7 area or next to a giant Pokéball in the Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire region. The New Super Mario Bros. 2 section even features a photogenic flagpole, stacks of coins and a warp pipe, while the YO-KAI WATCH area makes people look like they have stepped into the town in the game, complete with mischievous Yo-kai lurking about.
 
                     There’s a surprise around every corner, so you really don’t want to miss it.
 
                     For more information about the Play Nintendo Tour, visit https://play.nintendo.com/tour. To enjoy Nintendo’s site for kids and families, visit https://play.nintendo.com/.
 
WHO:            Nintendo fans, kids, families, Mario, Kirby, Donkey Kong and all the Nintendo gang

WHEN:          Aug. 26-27: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
                     Aug. 28: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
 
                         WHERE:        Tysons Corner Center
                                                  1961 Chain Bridge Road

                                                  Tysons Corner, VA 22102

8/25/16

Guest Post: A Child In Search Of...

Lydia Schnack is my momma.  She's going to be blogging here more as we start to offer more events for grown ups.  Recently, she and my middle guy, Logan, have been church shopping, and she shares their experiences here.  My background, for those of you who don't know, is in children's ministry with a degree in comparative religious studies.  It's important to me that my kids have faith, but it's not important to me that they experience it in the same way that I do.  My eldest and I love my very contemporary church (Chapel Springs) but my middle guy hated it, and having studied the value of quiet, contemplation, and order for children, I had zero problem looking for a way for him to have that.  It's one of the weird things I do (according to some people).  I try to value the uniqueness of each of my kids, even from a young age.  It's why my eldest can be psychotically into Boy Scouts and my middle one doesn't have to even try it. I want to honor who they are as people.  Anyway, this is a very long introduction to my mom's experiences church shopping with Logan. 

One of the things I have most regretted from my child rearing days was that in trying to tend to my husband’s religious needs, I didn’t realize that my easy going, don’t like change, son was unhappy because we were hopping from place to place.   Hopefully sometime in his future he will find it in himself to return to church.  

Anyway, because of my son's experience, when my daughter contacted me to ask if I would take Logan “church shopping” because he was unhappy at their very contemporary church I knew I had to jump on this opportunity.  

For approximately the last four months Logan and I have visited numerous churches in the western Prince William area.  It has been an interesting ride and I am still amazed at the things that are important to this 10 year old little boy.  Our first Sunday, we attended Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Haymarket and afterwards we went out to chat over breakfast.  Once our food was ordered we began with the positives and I was surprised and amazed to see the level of thought and consideration that Logan put into his responses. 

 “I like that it looks like a church.  I like the stained glass window over the altar, it is beautiful and welcoming.  I also like the ones of all the apostles in the side windows too.  I also liked the wooden arches on the ceiling, they really made it look like a church.  Oh, and I love those hand bells, they sound so beautiful.  I also like the outside, especially the steeple and warm feeling I got when I walked in.  All of the people were so friendly and I really liked the pastor and the way he spoke.  I like all the traditions, order and quiet.”

Hmm, I thought, did you really listen to the sermon?  “Tell me about the sermon Logan, what did you get from it?”

“I could not believe this sermon, it was like he was talking directly to me.  Don’t you think it was weird that his sermon was about “Doubting Thomas”?

Dislikes came last and the only thing Logan did not like about this church was their Sunday school program and that was simply because it was not very structured and their set up made for a very noisy environment which does not sit well with him.

Wow, what an amazing start to our search! 

Well, after visiting six different churches twice each, and starting an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all the likes and dislikes Logan narrowed the search to one Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran, St. Thomas United Methodist and Trinity Episcopal Church all with very similar plusses.  They all looked and felt like churches to Logan, had sermons that spoke to his needs, and were populated by friendly people (surprisingly, not all churches have friendly people – we even heard a sermon about a pastor that attended an all-day church function and was not spoken to once!) 

We have been frequenting these three churches on and off for a while now and I was beginning to believe that perhaps Logan was putting off making a decision so that he would not lose breakfast out with Grandma every Sunday, but low and behold, he finally decided that St. Thomas United Methodist was the church he wanted to call home.  He has definitely put a lot of thought into his decision and is apparently going to do his part to make himself feel comfy.  

They had volunteer signups and he definitely took me by surprise when he signed up to be an acolyte.  He was a little funny after the fact when he saw the acolytes during church.  Whispering in my ear “Grandma, am I going to have to wear a dress if I acolyte?  It’s not a dress, Logan, it is a robe.  Oh, so a “man dress”?  We both giggled.  


Our next steps will include acolyte training, becoming members, signing up for Sunday school classes and attending a Pokémon Go event in Old Town Manassas that includes lunch (two of Logan’s favorites)!  

It's been a fun experience church shopping with this serious little guy!

It's Kristina, again! If you're taking your kids (or family) church shopping, here are a few things to consider, from the perspective of someone who used to run a children's ministry! 
1. How did you feel in your class/large group/small group? 
2. Was it easy to talk to the grown ups? Did they introduce themselves or have name tags? 
3. Did anything make you feel uncomfortable or scared? 
4. What was your favorite thing you did today? Least Favorite? 
5. Would you like to come here again? 

And things you should ask whomever is in charge:
1. How do you screen your volunteers? Do you do background checks? 
2. What type of curriculum are you using? (Google it, guys!) 
3. What type of volunteer holes do you have? (Because if nobody is volunteering, the programs aren't going to go well!) 
4. What type of special groups or opportunities do you have? (Midweek programs, acolyte, baptism prep, communion classes, CCD, confirmation, youth groups, fun events, etc)