Review: Willow House

Another Spring Break Giveaway!!

The very fantastic Sheri Suess (who was very patient with my totally off-topic questions about homeschooling!) is offering a set of three bud vases to a PWC Moms Reader!

As a consultant for Willow House, which was formerly Southern Living at Home, Sheri offers very stylish home accessories and design accents.

We bought our house when I was 20 (literally just turned 20) and it looks like it was decorated by a 20 year old.  Now that I'm pushing 30 a little bit harder, I want my home to be welcoming (which it is) and sophisticated (which it is not).

The Willow House catalog definitely gave me some fantastic inspiration.

First, I am bringing the apron back.  If you ever want to send me a present for some reason (and really, who doesn't want to send presents to some random person off the internet?) it should be an apron.  This apron isn't really related to what I want my house to look like, I just really like aprons.

We just DIY renovated our house Mike Holmes style, by which I mean we ripped everything out and started over, not that Mike Holmes came and did it, although that would have been lovely.  Have you ever gutted and rebuilt a bathroom? It's not as fun as it sounds.  However, these:
These are fun and would look lovely in my now-functional spa-inspired bathroom!

Next on our renovation list is our basement.  Being 20 when we moved in, I had just read that bright screaming lime green stimulates intellectual capacity in children and promptly painted my big old whompin playroom lime green. (Bonus: It's wood paneling, so it's now lime green paneling).  I now know that the way to use a color like lime green is in a neutral room that you make "read green" (I've watched a lot of HGTV since doing our house initially).  For example, this cute accent clock!
Is a YES! While my lime green paneling is a NO!!!

Instead, I would like my basement to look more like page 36 of the catalog that Sherri so kindly let me drool over:

Ahh, possibilities.

Thanks Sheri, for sponsoring our giveaway on facebook, and for giving me so many great ideas!!


To win the set of 3 bud vases, head over to Sheri's Willow House page between now and 8pm on Easter Sunday, and let her know PWC Moms sent you.  As a bonus, since Willow House is still clearing out its remaining Southern Living inventory, Sheri frequently posts AMAZING deals for merchandise as low as 80% off!!
This giveaway is now closed, but you can still order from Sheri's Website!!

Lorton Workhouse Part II

Sharing a few more notes:

1) They do Birthday Parties!! Ages 4-12 can host a custom party theme, activities and art projects.  Proceeds from the parties support the workhouse's outreach for young people.  Contact Caren Hearne for details- 703-584-2900

2) They do classes!! Summer Session begins in June and includes the following(prices listed are for members, add $25 for non-members)
-Mixed MEdia Painting for Kids (4 weeks, $110)
-Art Exploration (Drawing, Painting, Mixed Media) for grades 1 and 2 (7 weeks, $110)
-Art Discovery (Drawing, Painting, Mixed Media) for grades 3 and up (7 weeks, $150)
-FUNdamentals of Fine Art for Children ages 8-14 (8 weeks, $135)
-Kindergarten Creations (6 weeks, $100)
-Papermaking for ages 7-12 (9 weeks, $150)
- Young People Crochet for ages Preteen/Teen (1 week, $50)
-Exploring Papermaking: Pulp Painted Postcards ages 7 and up (1 day, $45)
-Kimekomi Dolls, ages 12 and up (4 weeks $105)
-Doll Making for Busy Hands for ages 7-12 (9 weeks, $150)
-A Complete Puppetry Experience for ages 7-12 (9 weeks, $150)
And that's just art!! There are also classes in animation, "writeamation" film editing, short film, recording studio, piano, guitar, drum circle, ceramics, dance, yoga, and hula.

3) They do Summer Camp! 
Camp options include Short Films, Visual Arts Explorers (1/2 or full day), Art Star Theatre Camp, Art Star Performance Workshop, and Half Day Music Camps in into to music, guitar, and piano.

Register at workhousearts.org or by calling 703-584-2900


Lorton Workhouse SpotLYTE presents Cinderella Cinderella and The Road To Forever

 Get some culture this Spring Break and check out one of two (or both, I won't stop you!) performances for young audiences at the Lorton Workhouse.  My review will be up tomorrow, or you can win a family 5 pack of tickets to see the show until 8pm tonight on our facebook fan page! Just click "like" right next to our banner at the top of the page!

We were able to go today (Friday, April 22) to check out the Cinderella Cinderella Performance and it was fantastic. This youth theatre cast did a fantastic job!  My kids were so excited to get in on the action as "extras".  My daughter got to be the "queen", and my sons were her "attendants".  Other children helped Cinderella get her cleaning done and were even flower girls in the (spoiler alert) wedding.  There's no "yucky kissing stuff" in this version, which my sons greatly appreciated.

After the performance, we decided we'd wander around a little bit.  The galleries in the buildings are free to tour.  Numerous artists were in their studios and were engaging and kind as we walked through.  They answered all of my children's questions including "what is that? why are you an artist? where did you get your paint from? do you like glitter?" and more! Yay little kid questions! The artists, however, seemed genuinely amused by their interest and excitement, and the next time I have $30,000 lying around, I've picked out all new local art for my house!! Hooray!! We'll have an original painting for every wall!!

We loved both the performance and the Workhouse itself, and highly recommend everyone get over there to check it out!! Just over the Occoquan Bridge, getting to the Workhouse took us 12 minutes from our Lake Ridge home door to door.

The Workhouse Center is a little bit overwhelming when you get there.  When you park, head to the lot on the right.  W-16 Gallery (where the shows take place) is the first building on the left when you are looking at all of the buildings from the parking lot.  (I hope this makes sense!).  The portion they are using as a theater is up the stairs in W-16.  Everyone is quite friendly, though, and happy to point you in the right direction.  On the bottom floor of W-16 there is a small snack bar, a gift shop, and a mixed gallery of featured artists.  We loved the aluminum work and the pastels.

Note: Some moms felt that the staged violence was too much for their children.  I did not share this opinion, however if you feel particularly sensitive to name calling (think "dirty ash bucket") or very obviously staged pretend slapping, this may bother you.

Itsy Bitsy Zen

You guys didn't think I'd leave you hanging without free stuff for Spring Break, did you??

Nah, I've got you covered.

First up, a local, mom-owned business called Itsy Bitsy Zen.  PWC Mom Thuy Nguyen creates adorable custom-made diaper clutches, pacifier holders, and more.  I love her fabric choices, and it's always great when you don't have the same exact Winnie the Pooh bag that everyone else does.
 Thuy was inspired by the birth of her son to find a creative outlet.  She shares on her etsy: "After my baby boy Taylan was born, I felt a new dimension of love. This little person balanced my inner world in so many positive ways. He inspired me to start a new chapter in my life. So here I am, starting Itsy Bitsy Zen. I focused all my creative energy on handmaking something unique and beautiful for all little one's on earth. I want to express through my design a lot of peace, love and joy."  I especially love the name of Thuy's Company.  Being moms, so many of us need a little Zen in our lives.

Thuy's baby items range in price from $3.50 for individual beads to $35 for complete baby sets that would totally steal the show at a baby shower, as far as I'm concerned.  Her custom work is beautiful and definitely reflects inner peace ;)

Thanks to Thuy for sponsoring our first Spring Break Giveaway! She's offering one boy and one girl pacifier holder to two PWC Moms readers who like her on facebook and leave a comment letting her know, Girl or Boy :)

This giveaway is closed, but you can still order anything you'd like from Thuy's etsy!


Boys and Girls Club

Several of you have asked about affordable options for your kids, and let me just say that I don't think it gets any better than Boys and Girls Club for affordable, quality options.

Now, if you're anything like me, you're thinking that the Boys and Girls Club is designed for lower-income, inner-city kids.  (Or maybe I'm just a bad person....but either way)  It's definitely not.  While the Boys and Girls Club does serve a high number of the at-risk population, they're open to everyone.

I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with 2 of the directors for our area at the Hylton Club located on Dale Boulevard near what was the ice arena.  First of all, as a former children's pastor, I know passion for kids, and these two ladies are seriously dedicated to making sure that each child that walks in the doors is having a safe, quality experience.  Second, I was completely impressed by the facility! State of the art computers, X-Box Kinects, well maintained classrooms, a library complete with summer reading titles from local schools, an on-site accredited teacher to help with homework, tabletop games, an outdoor jungle gym, they've really got it all.

The Boys and Girls Club does have a focus on achievement.  They have a few key areas they focus on including Education and Career Development, Character and Leadership Development, Health and Life Skills, The Arts, and Sports, Fitness and Recreation.  Clubs offer tutoring, volunteer clubs run by the kids, pickup games and even sports leagues for a small additional fee.

So here is the breakdown.  Membership is $30 a year.  No joke.  And your membership is good at the Hylton, Manassas, and Dumfries clubs.  That means your child can go to the club Tuesday-Friday from 3-9pm and Saturday from 10-4.  Kindergarten through Teens can belong, and there's separate age-appropriate programming for everyone.  Classrooms have glass windows everywhere so there's total accountability and transparency. 

In addition, the clubs offer very affordable before and after care from 6am to 6pm Monday through Friday.  Children can opt to stay until 9 Tuesday through Friday, if they need/desire.

Boys and Girls Clubs also offer Summer Camp and Spring Break Camps.  Summer camp includes:
1 Weekly Field Trip
1 Weekly Swimming Trip
1 Field Day
2 days in the club rotation
They're closed 4th of July, but other than that, there's total summer coverage.

I was completely impressed by the Boys and Girls Club, and I'd encourage you to check it out as an option for your child!! At $30 a year, even if you just use it as a rainy Saturday backup activity, it's totally worth the cost.  They're doing great work with our kids and youth right here in PWC.
If Boys and Girls Club doesn't sound like something your family is interested in, but you'd like to support the work they do with at-risk children, including never turning a child away because of an inability to pay, you can support them by attending a Friday night Bingo game (ages 10+) or by attending their Steak n' Steak Dinner and Silent Auction  held annually in May 


One for my Homies in Bristow/Gainesville

Oh other end of the county people.

I really do love you guys.  One of my dearest friends in the whole world is, in fact, moving to Bristow in the near future.  I may never forgive her for moving to the dark side of the universe visit her often just on the other side of PWC! Then I'll know more for you all to do!!

(By the way, you can email me anytime and I'm happy to add events!! Please share with the class!)

Someone asked for camp options in your neck of the woods.  Here are a few.

4-H PWC offers a camp the 3rd week of July in Front Royal. 

Lake Manassas Academy has several camp options and you register by week.  It's $199 but is full time and includes field trips.

The Little Gym of Gainesville offers camp options from 1 day to week long options varying in theme from Tumbling to Cheerleading.

Tiny Dancers in Gainesville hosts weeklong camps but I'm going to be honest with you, these are the most INSANELY priced camps I've ever seen.  It's $200/week and it's for 1/2 day.  But, they look cute and they go as young as 3.

The City of Manassas Park offers an $80 Spring Break camp. I'm not sure how close that is to you all, but I hadn't found it before, so I'm putting it here :)

If you're a Sport and Health Gainesville Member, they offer both Spring Break and Summer Camp.

Golden Boot Soccer offers camps for various levels and interests at various price points, depending on the week and whether or not it's a full-day option.

Clay Cafe Studios in Chantilly offers one day to one week options, but they're also on the expensive

Haymarket Sportsplex offers camps and Wee Camps for $195 a week, 9am-2pm. It's also adjacent to Jump-N-Jimmy's so your kids will get plenty of bounce time, too.

Hope this helps!! Please email me if you've got more ideas!!


Vacation Bible Schoo 2011l- Will Keep Growing

JUNE 20-24 Manassas St. Thomas, “PandaMania” 9am-12pm              

JULY 17-21, Grace UMC “Time Travelers: Destination Nazareth”, 5:45-8:30pm          

JULY 17-21, Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church 6-8pm                       

AUGUST 1-5, Sudley United Methodist “SonSurf Beach” 9am-12pm

AUGUST 1-5, Manassas Baptist Church "Music Camp" 9am-12pm (Age4-Grade 6) $40 Registration begins on May 1, sliding price scale for more than one child.

JUNE 20-24, St. Margaret’s Anglican “Pandamanian” 9am-12pm

JULY 11-15, All Saints Anglican “Big Apple Adventure”, Various times and locations

JULY 11-15, Epiphany/LCOC/Good Shepherd Lutheran, “Island Odyssey” 5:30-8:00pm

JULY 18-22, St. Paul UMC “Shake It Up Cafe”                     

JULY 25-29, Grace Baptist, “Big Apple Adventure” 9am-12pm

AUGUST 8-12, GSUMC “PandaMania” 9am-12pm

JUNE 26-30, Little Union Baptist, 6:30-9:15pm            

JUNE 27-July 1 Grace Church, “Moving Forward” 9am-1pm $10 (includes lunch)

JUNE 27-July 1, Potomac Crest Baptist, “Route 254” 6-9pm                    

JULY 11-15, All Saints Anglican “Big Apple Adventure”, Various times and locations  

 JUNE 20-24, Grace Church "G3 Soccer Camp", Bristow, Rising 1-6 graders, $15/kid, $40/family registration opens May 1

JUNE 27-July 1, Grace Life Community Church “Pandamania” 9:30-12pm     

JULY 11-15, Park Valley Church “Kids Sports” 5:30-8:45pm (K-5 only)    

JULY 18-22 Gainesville UMC "Backstage with the Bible" 9:00am-12:30pm