Movie Reviews- Brave

We were able to head out with my 4 year old daughter's clique of girls (she's so much cooler than me and she's four.  Just saying.) for a mother-daughter date night.  We had some delicious baba ganouj in the mall food court and then headed over to AMC 14 Potomac Mills.

We keep it classy.
Image Credit: imdb.com
So, Brave.  (Spoiler alert- just as a general warning, I'm not great at knowing what people consider to be a spoiler, so don't read this if you're going to be ticked off I gave something away!)

Brave is the story of a family at the head of four Irish (Edit: Just had someone email me to clarify they are Scottish) clans.  The well-mannered and traditional queen and red-haired arrow-slinging daughter are at the center of a coming of age story that any of you who have a 13 year old, or ever were a 13 year old will probably understand.  Mom wants daughter to follow a pre-determined path, daughter thinks she knows better and wants to live her own way, arguments ensue.  Where the turn takes a decidedly fairy-tale twist is when daughter Merida follows a trail of will o'the wisps to a witch who offers her a spell to "change her mother".

Plot twist! It changes momma dearest into a bear, which daddy loves to hunt, and Merida and her mom have 48 hours to change her back or she'll be stuck as a bear forever.

What I loved about this movie was the message that even when you and your mom disagree (and/or you have her cursed to turn into a wild animal), she still loves you and will protect and defend you with her life if she has to.  I also loved that Merida realizes that she can be herself without completely alienating her mom, and her mom realizes that Merida can be herself without being a complete disappointment.

What you might not love about this movie is that there is a lot of fighting.  These Irish clans have some serious anger management issues and there is some punching and brawling.  There are references to drinking ("let's go to the wine cellar and open the king's private reserves) and there is some inferred nudity (old men flashing what's under their kilts- you don't see anything, obviously). The main protagonist is a giant monster-bear hybrid and he has a few old arrows hanging out of him in addition to enjoying attacking people.  Our three 4 year old girls did just fine with it, although there was one scene where my daughter crawled up in my lap, but she got back down 20 seconds of intense action later.  All of the girls loved it and to the best of my knowledge, there were no nightmares or monsters in the closest when we got home.

I also loved that while we went on a girls night, this is a princess movie you could definitely take the boys to.  There's enough horseback riding, arrow shooting, monster hunting to keep even a manly-man pretty satisfied.

One other note, there is a death scene where the monster bear is killed by a falling rock.  Much like the Lion King death scenes, it's done off-screen.  You see a rock start to fall and then see a clenched fist that opens.  Even with all the shooting and punching there is no blood.

This is definitely not a traditional princess movie, but I rather enjoyed it, and our group of girls all seemed to, too! Both girls in the car on my drive home gave it two-thumbs up.


Giveaway: Combi Flare Stroller

Our friends at Baby Blossom are offering a fun giveaway this week! 

Following on the heels of owner David's discussion of double strollers for one of our PwcMoms readers, he's got a stroller for one lucky reader this week!!

Enter below by leaving a comment for your chance to win a Combi Flare!! One entry per person, contest closes on Saturday night, June 30,  at midnight.  Winner will be announced Sunday evening. 

Combi Flare Stroller in Kiwi

The lightweight Flare stroller (only 11 pounds!) with the quick 3-Second Fold, folds easily and compactly and is self-standing. An easily adjustable, reclining seat, footrest and 5-point harness make for a safe and comfortable environment for your child. The adjustable canopy includes a storage pocket. The carrying strap, storage basket, removable padded guardrail, removable child cup holder, and washable seat cushion add convenience. Compatible with the Combi Shuttle 33 infant car seat (not included). Recommended for children from six months (without use of Combi Shuttle) up to 55 pounds.

One entry per person.  Baby Blossom is a paid advertiser of PwcMoms.com and is providing one winner with a Combi Flare stroller.  Prize listed may not be exchanged or redeemed for cash. Winner must claim prize within 3 days.  Winner name will be posted on this page as well as on a congratulatory note on Facebook.  Prize is provided by Baby Blossom, winner assumes all liability, PwcMoms is not responsible for any problems, accidents, etc. Please use your stroller responsibly. 


Fishing With Kids In Prince William County

Making a few summertime memories can be as simple as baiting your fishing pole! There are several great local places to take your child fishing.  Don't like worms? No problem.  Fish will nibble at marshmallows, bread, cheese, or just about anything that will stay on your hook. Don't forget to check your child's scout guide if they participate in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, because many levels have fishing awards!

Ages 16+ a Freshwater Virginia State Fishing License is required year round and a Virginia State Trout 
License is required November 1 - April 30. The Fish and Game Warden can ticket you for not having a 
license, even if you're just "holding" your child's pole, so make sure you get one! The KMart in Dale City 
sells them along with numerous other retailers, or you can get them online, too! 

For a full list of Virginia Fishing regulations you can click here, but generally speaking, all you need to know is that you can't use dynamite (phew!) or net fish, scuba fish, or alter fish by cutting them, and that you need to follow posted regulations.  
Got your license and your rod? Let's get fishing! 
Locust Shade Park's 8 acre pond is stocked with trout and also has catfish, blue gill, bass and crappie. 

Lake Ridge Park reservoir provides good fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish. 

Leesylvania State Park offers pier fishing from March 1 to Nov. 1.  Catfish, perch, largemouth and striped bass are typical.  The park also offers children's fishing tournaments on the first Saturday of every month and adult's fishing tournaments on occasion, as well. 

Occoquan Regional Park also offers fishing.  The no-wake zones around the main dock areas make for peaceful water and lots of fish! 

Prince William Forest Park- Specific portions of the lakes and streams throughout the park are available for fishing.  Live bait is prohibited.  For specifics, be sure to ask a ranger in the Visitor's Center! 

Have a favorite fishing spot? Leave a comment on this post and let us know where! 


Summer Fun Ideas- Make Your Own Ice Cream

There is nothing quite as good as homemade ice cream :)


One of the best parts about the process is that it's totally customizable!  I have two recipes for vanilla ice cream that I love to use.  One is literally brainless, and the other actually involves a measuring cup, but they're both delicious and no-cook.  They're also eggless ice cream recipes, which is great if you have a child with allergies.

Recipe One
-1 Quart of Half and Half
-1 14oz can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Mix until the sweetened condensed milk is fully incorporated.  Freeze according to your manufacturer's instructions.  (Most important part- if you have an ice-based freezer don't skimp on the rock salt!!)

Recipe Two
-2 cups milk (this freezes better if you do not use skim)
-1 pint of heavy cream
-1 cup of sugar
-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Mix the milk and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Add the remaining ingredients and freeze according to your manufacturer's instructions.
What's that you say? You don't have an ice cream maker? No problem!  Scoop 1/2 a cup of the finished ice cream mix into a sandwich size Ziplock bag.  Put that Ziplock in another Ziplock and then put those two inside of a gallon size Ziplock bag and fill the bag with crushed ice and table salt.  Take the whole shebang outside and have your kids shake it for about 10-15 minutes (you can even play catch with it).  Take out the inside bags, dry quickly on a towel (salt water in your ice cream is gross) and you'll have some fresh soft serve!
Now, once your ice cream is done, you can eat it as is, or everyone can add their own toppings to an individual serving and set it in the freezer to firm slightly (or not, whatever, I'm not here to judge).  Great mix-ins include:
-Chopped peaches, strawberries, bananas, or blueberries
-Peanuts, walnuts, pecans
-M&Ms, marshmallows, gummi bears
-Chopped girl scout cookies, chopped Oreos
-Crushed pretzels

Mix in whatever you'd like (note: if you want to make an entire batch of cookies and cream, it's 20 chopped Oreos.  Just saying.) and enjoy your ice cream.  I prefer to take mine poolside, but you can do whatever you want!

Have you ever made ice cream at home? What's your favorite recipe or flavor? Leave a comment (or a link) below!

Readers Recommend: Pool Memberships in Prince William County

If you don't live in a neighborhood with a HOA, you may find yourself in need of a pool membership!! Luckily, our Prince William County resident moms have some recommendations for swim clubs in the Woodbridge, Manassas, and in-between areas of our county!

1- Lake Ridge Swim Club (x6) The pool is "great and equipped with WiFi, sand volleyball, ping pong tables and a snack bar", "very kid-friendly" with swim lessons and a swim team, parties on Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. "Plenty for all ages!" Memberships for returning members are $385 and there is an initiation fee. The pool is available for rentals by community groups.

2- Oak Ridge Swim Club (x) off Khan's Road offers swim memberships and lessons.  The pool can also be rented by church/scout/community groups for private events.

3- Prince William Community Pools include Birchdale in Dale City, Graham Park in Dumfries, Hammil Mill in Occoquan, and Veteran's Park in Woodbridge, with rates starting at $3.50 and evening discounts of $1.50 from 4-6pm.

4- Sudley Club in Manassas (x3) Has tennis, a lake with fishing, swimming, swim lessons and a swim team.  "Tucked up in the woods by Manassas Mall". Dues are $750 a year and there is both an application fee and an initiation fee.

5- Fairfax County Water Parks- "surprisingly affordable- passes for my two kids and I are only $235 and you can bounce between all 5 parks!

6- Prince William County Water Parks- buy a WaterWorks pass for $120 and get 20 punches (save $1) and Splash Down has a $75 per person season pass.


Ridge Runners- Lake Ridge Running Club

The Ridge Runners are a fantastic group of SUPPORTIVE and kind people who are around to encourage and share their love (or love/hate) of running.  New walkers and runners through elite competitors are welcome! This is a great opportunity to take care of yourself as a momma, because runs take place in the evenings and can help you run at night without having to be running alone! Smart! 

Here's the latest Ridge Runner newsletter! Check them out and go run! 

Dear Runners:

Considering the high-octane excitement generated by our anniversary party on Monday and record-breaking run on Tuesday, I will keep this Club News edition short and sweet to keep you revved up for the festivities.  Please find below information I sent two weeks ago since many of you have asked me to repeat it.  

We invite you to join us on Monday, June 25 for our one-year reunification anniversary open house!  Count on food, music, t-shirt and door prize giveaways, cake, and great conversation.  Mark your calendars to drop by our open house any time between 7 and 9 p.m. at Tall Oaks Community Center (corner of Hedges Run and Cotton Mill).  RidgeRunners Club 2012-2013 registration will be available onsite for $15 (individual membership) and $30(family membership) regardless of your address (LRPRA member and non-member fees will be the same).  We are also offering a $5 discount on membership renewals for current members.  Don't miss out!  

And please join us for a group run on Tuesday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the LRES parking lot.  We are aiming to break our current record of 35 runners. We will take photos and run the course with our banners.  You may even run in costume!

We are excited to announce a new partnership with Max Muscle (located at 12849 Galveston Ct. in Manassas).  Representatives from the company will be present at both anniversary events to discuss nutrition and athletic performance.  More information on this partnership will follow in the next Club News!


  • Saturday: 8 a.m. Prince William Parkway.  Park at McCoart building for an easy out-and-back run of varying distances.
  • Sunday: 8 a.m.  Mount Vernon Trail.  Meet at the end of the visitor's parking lot nearest mile marker zero for a great scenic run.
  • Monday: 4:30 p.m.  Occoquan Mill House Museum (CCT/VA-123) group run.  See website for details.
  • Monday: 7-9 p.m. Anniversary Open House at Tall Oaks Community Center (12298 Cotton Mill Drive). 
  • Tuesday7:30 p.m. at Lake Ridge Elementary School (11970 Hedges Run Drive) for a record-breaking group run!
  • Wednesday: 9 a.m. group run.  Corner of Aviary Way and Hedges Run Drive.  Eight-mile course on paved roads and trail. 
  • Thursday: 7:30 p.m. at Lake Ridge Middle School (12350 Mohican Road) for a group run preceded by speed work on track at 7 p.m.
Run Like the Wind,

4th of July Events 2012

Looking for something fun to do in or around Prince William County for the 4th of July? Fireworks, baseball, and kid friendly family fairs are all on our list of great things to do this Independence Day in Prince William County!

June 30th- 
Fireworks at Tim's Rivershore (Note- we just got an email from a reader that there can be quite a few inebriated folks at this event.  Might be better off to hop in the car and head "that direction" to view the fireworks rather than hang out at the restaurant).
July 4th- 
Dale City Parade starts at 10am and runs from Kirkland Drive to Gemini Way (the commuter parking lot where the Dale City Farmer's Market meets).  Note that Dale Boulevard closes early on in the morning and will be one lane each direction until around 12:30pm.  Plan to get a spot early and bring a bag for the candy that gets tossed.  After the parade, there is a Family Fun Day in the commuter lot.  Bring cash for snacks and activities. 

The City of Manssas celebrates the 4th with a family fun day, carnival rides, food, fun and fireworks.  Meet at the Old Train Depot (9431 West Street) at 4pm for entertainment with fireworks at 9:15pm.

Near Fairfax? Mount Vernon will offer an historical spin on the nation's birthday with events from 9:30-2:30 including a daytime fireworks display and historical ice cream making. 

If you live further south, consider heading to George Washington's boyhood home- Ferry Farm- and enjoying several games and events from 10-5. Admission is $1 per person with active duty military free. When you're done at Ferry Farm, Pratt Park (120 River Road, Fredericksburg) will have live music and fireworks with festivities beginning at 6 and going to 9:30pm, parking is free but limited and alcohol is not permitted. 

Manassas Park will have fireworks at Signal Hill Park from 7-10pm.  Admission is free, but on-site parking is $5 starting at 5pm.  Omnilink does stop near by if you'd rather take the bus to the commuter lot.

Montclair Virginia has fireworks starting at 9:15pm at Dolphin Beach.  You must be an MPOA member to be on the beach.  However, you do not have to be an MPOA member to take advantage of a side-street view.

A favorite of my family's is the Potomac Nationals game! Head out for baseball and a hot dog (no apple pie that I know of, but it's pretty darn American anyway!) at 6:35, and stay after the game for a fantastic fireworks show.
July 7th
The Workhouse Arts Center will host Patriotic Fireworks Show at 9pm after a full day of fun programming.  The fireworks are free, just bring a lawn chair. 

Week in Preview: Week of June 25-July 1, 2012

Hello Mommas (and Papas)! We're fully in the summer swing of things now! If you're looking for things to do with kids in Prince William County this week, I've got a few suggestions for you! Don't forget you can always check out full calendar of events by clicking "Calendar" at the top of this page.  Also, be sure to like us on Facebook and Twitter (@PwcMoms) for daily updates about what's going on!

Monday, June 25th
Locust Shade Park has a discount on Batting Cage Admission every Monday.  "Swing" by for some time in the cages and then stay for the playground, paddle boats, or putt-putt golf.

Tuesday, June 26th
Michaels will be having several "Passport to Imagination" events over the summer, and there's one this Tuesday.  If you have a kid who loves crafts, be sure to check out our list of JoAnn Fabric's summer "camps"  which are happening all summer long for various skill levels and ages.

Wednesday, June 27th
The City of Manassas offers several free concert series throughout the summer.  On this Wednesday, catch one over lunch! The concerts happen under the Harris Pavilion, and can be a great way to pass an hour or so.  Younger kids can dance, there are train tracks in the background, and if you don't feel like packing a lunch, there's a Subway right across the street.

There are several "Wild Raptors" shows with the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia happening this summer through the library system.  You can catch them at Bull Run and Central this Wednesday! 
Learn about birds of prey, their habitats, and habits when Kent Knowles of the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia brings several of these fierce birds to the library.
Not the best day or location? Here's the other dates!
Bull Run June 27, 10:30 a.m.-p. 6 | Central Library June 27, 3:00 p.m.-p. 12
Dale City July 11, 10:30 a.m.-p. 28 | Lake Ridge July 11, 2:00 p.m.-p. 28 Dumfries July 18, 10:30 a.m.-p. 28 | Independent Hill July 18, 2:00 p.m.-p. 28 Chinn Park August 2, 2:00 p.m.-p. 18 | Potomac August 2, 7:00 p.m.-p. 26

Thursday, June 28th

Howl at the Moon with a Wild Thing Tune at Bull Run Library or Potomac Library
Tom Sieling sings humorous songs about our natural world accompanying himself on guitar, banjo, harmonica and even a drum machine!
Bull Run June 28, 10:30 a.m.
Potomac June 28, 2:00 p.m.

Friday, June 29th
Kids in Motion will be having extra kids night outs this weekend.  Reserve by WEDNESDAY for either Friday 5:30-9pm or Saturday 5:45-9:15.  It's $20 for the first child or $15 for siblings and includes pizza dinner.

Saturday, June 30th
There will be several fun concerts throughout the day on the 30th, but for the evening, check out either the "Night Flutters" Moth program at Prince William Forest Park ($5 park admission is good for 7 calendar days, so come back and play again!) or, head out to dinner and then catch free fireworks at Tim's Rivershore! 
Sunday, July 1st


Readers Recommend: Best Pizza in Prince William County

When I asked a reader question about the Best Real Pizza in Prince William County, I got a TON of responses! From Deep Dish in Dumfries to Meat Lovers in Manassas, you guys have some serious feelings about Pizza!! Here are the responses!  If you have a favorite location for the Best Pizza in Prince William County, be sure to leave a comment!!

Tony's in Bristow/Manassas/Bull Run/Haymarket x25
(Manassas Location is the Best, We moved to Manassas from Woodbridge to be closer to that place!) 

Astoria's 123/Route 1 in Woodbridge x15
(My husband's favorite and he went to culinary school! Best in the area!) 

Amici's Pizza off Hoadly Road x5
(Run by an Italian Family.  If you pick it up you get Buy One Get One free for Large One-Topping)

Presto Pizza in Merchant Plaza x5
(Woman is from Sicily, Run by Italian Family, Great Customer Service, grows her own basil)

Padrino's in Dale City x4

Pizza Margherita in Gainesville x4

Lake Ridge Pizzaria x3

Brooklyn Brothers in Gainesville (x3)

Papa Petrone's Take and Bake x3

zPizza x3

Brothers in Montclair x2

L&B in Dale City x2

Costco Pizza x2

Ledos of Liberia

Pizza Time in Manassas


Bella Vita in Manassas on Liberia

Roma Restaurant in Lake Ridge

Big Joe's in Manassas

Pizza Spot in Manassas Park

Joe's Pizza and Subs on Route 1


Pizzarama in Manassas

Leesylvania Junior Ranger Program

The Junior Ranger Program at Leesylvania State Park runs several weeks this summer for various ages.  Parents may use the program as a drop-off camp or may remain with their child, if they're more comfortable.  Children as young as 4 and as old as 12 may participate in various weeks.  Please see the flier for additional information.  This fantastic park is located here on the Woodbridge/Dumfries side of Prince William County and offers several programs for families and children throughout the year.


Summer Fun 101 at Piedmont Golf Club

Wakefiled School will be hosting free "Summer Fun 101" sessions for parents and children ages 3-6 at Piedmont Golf Club (14675 Piedmont Vista Drive Haymarket, VA).  Reserve your free sessions by July 6th by calling 540-253-7600. 


Prince William Forest Park

Prince William Forest Park is a fantastic location for camping, hiking, and even meeting friends at the playground!  There are several entrances to the Park, including a few from route 234 in Dumfries and off route 619 past Independent Hill going to Triangle. The main entrance to the park, which I recommend you use, is the one you reach by taking exit 150B off I-95.  When you enter the park, there is a ranger station, but it may or may not be manned.  If there's no ranger, head straight down the road and you'll arrive at an information area where you can pay your $5.  Admission is good for seven consecutive days, so it's a pretty awesome deal, when you think about it that way!

Visitors Center and Welcome Station
Looping back towards the entrance, on the right hand side there is parking and a large playground with an open field.  The play area is partially shaded, but the field gets some fairly direct sunlight.  With all the trees around, you'll definitely want to do a tick check when you get home.  
Playground area with slides, climbing wall, playhouse and more

Across the street from the playground, there is a hike entrance.  I want to say the blazes are green, but I am not positive, so please don't quote me on that.  The hike is paved with shredded plastic (similar or the same to a rubber track type of feel).  It would be very stroller friendly, if you're looking to hike with a baby! 
 The hike winds you past a creek, and there are lots of signs explaining the flora and fauna, which is helpful since my kids always want to know what each individual leaf is and Google is so sick of me asking about "4 tipped leaves on flat bark trees in Virginia" that they're considering cutting me off.  I don't have to search in an encyclopedia, but I can't stay here...you know how it goes ;)
Here's another view of the playground.  The kids had a great time running around, and as a bonus, there's a BATHROOM!! Flushing toilets, running water, the whole deal.  I consider proximity of the potty to be a huge deal, so chalk that up as a win!

Prince William Forest Park has a scenic drive, as well, and it's quite pleasant.  I would have especially loved it when my first was a baby.  He had horrendous colic and the only way he slept was in motion.  A nice drive through the park would have been a great way to spend the time driving the baby!

Finally, there's camping.  We were fortunate to spend part of a night with our boy scout troop, and had a great time! There are, again, restrooms, as well as nice sites with decent parking.  We were near an outdoor area with lots of bench seating where we enjoyed a bonfire, too.  We stayed in the tent camping, but they also offer 5 cabins.  For details on camping at Prince William Forest Park, just click here. 


Prince William Forest Park
Pros- nice playground, bathrooms located nearby, camping and parking
Cons- small fee, multiple entrances can be confusing to first timers (like me my first time!) 
Cautions- only that you should be sure to check for ticks, but that's any outdoor location in Virginia! 

Summer Concert Series at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

The Hylton Center in Manassas, Virginia, is a beautiful location right here in Prince William County that fully rivals the theatre experience you would get by driving into DC.  They are also fantastic about offering performing and fine arts for children and families.  We were able to attend their kid-friendly concert this spring called "Kaleidoscope" and really enjoyed it!

This summer they'll be offering a few different kid-friendly arts options for Prince William County residents and families! Check out Follow that Fiddle, or Step Afrika this summer, which are being presented at great times for kids- 11am/1pm for Follow that Fiddle and 11am for Step Afrika.  


Locust Shade Park Amphitheater Summer 2012

Summer Entertainment Series
The Prince William County Park Authority is proud to present the 2012 Summer Entertainment Series at Locust Shade Park Amphitheater. Come on out and enjoy quality entertainment in your own community. New this year the amphitheater has a shade cover to keep the audience more comfortable. 
Admission fees are $4 for ages 2 & above, unless other wise stated.  Group rates available. 
For information and reservations call 703 221 8579  
Note: Please visit our website this summer
www.pwcparks.org/locust latest updates on current programs.

(Want to see the PwcMoms review of performances at Locust Shade? It's right HERE
June 21 – 10:00 A.M. Treasure Island by Rainbow Interactive Children’s Theater
 Rainbow Interactive Theater has been charming children in Northern Virginia for a quarter century. This fun and interactive play is a shortened and humorous version of the children’s classic tale. Audience members are invited to dress-up and come on stage to be a part of the production. 
June 28 – 10:00 A.M. The Barker of Seville by Blue Sky Puppet Theater- Blue Sky brings their trademark larger than life puppets to our stage to tell the hilarious and light hearted story of a cast of dogs try to get their musical career off of the ground. You’ll see the hound dogs do everything from Bach to Elvis. 

June 30 – 7:00 P.M. Country Steppers Dance Team – Come out and see this talented group of dancers demonstrate the best of Country Western dancing. Free

July 12 – 10:00A.M. & 7:30 P.M.  - Reptile World  
Michael has been sharing the wonders of the world of reptiles for over a generation. Come be amazed as you see live crocodiles, alligators, turtles, Gila monster and a variety of snakes including cobras, a rattlesnake, copperhead and more! You will even get the chance to touch a large and live Indian Rock Python.
July 19 – 10:00 A.M. – American Wildlife by Wildlife Ambassadors – Wildlife ambassadors will bring to our stage some of the common and not so common animals that inhabit the woods and meadows around us. 
July 26 – 10:00 A.M. – Lawrence the Magician – Come be amazed, astounded and have your funny bone tickled as Lawrence the magician once more takes the stage at Locust Shade. 
August 2 – 7:30 P.M. – The Pirates of Locust Shade by The Locust Shade Players – Come see this talented group of young performers as they present an original play of pirates who haunt the pond at Locust Shade. Free. 
August 9 – 10:00 A.M. - Ryan Buckle and Friends – Science You Can Sing To –  A great time will be had by all by the best new kids performer around! Ryan rocks out with science that you can sing to with hits like the swamp stomp boogie. Kids will learn about about things such as why birds can fly while they dance in the aisles. 


All About Double Strollers!

I recieved the following question from a reader:
Hello PwMoms, I am getting ready to have my second baby, and I need a new stroller.  With the first one I bought the Graco travel system because it seemed like everyone bought that, but I didn't really look around and I haven't really loved it.  I like the snap-in  carseat thing, but it's heavy and awkward and for my next stroller I really want something light and functional that will fit a preschooler and an infant and fit in my car.  I also want to run, but maybe I can't get it all in one place? I'd love your recommendations.

Listen, y'all, if there's one thing I know, it's when I don't know something.  I, too, purchased a travel system and then became insanely interested in baby wearing because tying a Moby wrap one of 723 different ways was so much less complicated than that stroller! 

If there's two things I know, it's when I don't know, I should ask an expert!! It just so happens that one of our fabulous sponsors is BabyBlossom- so their owner, David, took this question on for me! 
For many people, it's easier to buy a car than a stroller.  Add a second child into the equation and things get even more complex. 
Let's start with your last comment first...about running/jogging strollers.  You shouldn't jog until the baby is six to twelve months old  -- always check with your pediatrician first to make sure the little one is good to go and verify that the jogging stroller is rated for your baby's age.  For this conversation, we'll skip talk about the jogging stroller.
Moving on to a double stroller, there are many, many options.  But let's focus on some of the preferences you mentioned:  Lighter weight and compact (and appropriate for two).
If you think you'll be rolling along sidewalks and at shopping malls (smoother surfaces) then the Baby Jogger City Mini Double and the Maclaren Twin Triumph immediately come to mind.  They're compact (about 25 lbs or so), easy to fold, and can accommodate a newborn (with some extra head support).  The City Mini Double can take one infant car seat (with an optional adapter).  If you can wait until the baby is about three months old (when he/she can the head up) then the Kinderwagon Hop could work.  It's about the size of an umbrella stroller but has two (front-to-back) seats that each handle 40 lbs.  At 22 lbs, it's about the lightest double stroller on the market.
If you're more inclined to stroll on rougher surfaces (parks, trails, etc) then the new Baby Jogger City Mini GT Double  is worth considering.  It's based on the popular City Mini Double but has larger, beefier tires, bigger seats, and other features (it is a bit heavier than the regular City Mini Double).
If you're willing to add a bit more weight in exchange for more versatility (reversing and/or removable second seat; larger tires; increased storage)and cost  then there other strollers to check out:  Baby Jogger City Select, UPPAbaby Vista, Britax B-Ready, Phil & Teds Explorer to name a few.
One important point to mention is to make sure you try out any double stroller before you buy.  Bring your preschooler and see how he/she fits - not every child will comfortably fit in every double stroller (or any stroller for that matter).  If your #1 child is in the 3-4 age range then this could be especially important.
Comments/Suggestions? Share them below!! Thanks so much to Baby Blossom for their help with this question! 

Summer Camp- JoAnn Fabrics

JoAnn Fabrics has several great kid-friendly offerings in Prince William County! Our store is in Woodbridge across from Potomac Mills Mall, and I hope that someone signs up for one because making this list out of the separate corporate and store lists took forever.

Here you go, with Woodbridge Location Dates/Times and Corporate Pictures!

Headtime Story
Ages 8 and up make a pillow.  One 3-hour session, $35.  Level 101
Tue, Jun 19 4-7pm
Mon, Jun 25 10am-1pm
Mon, Jul 2 3-6pm
Sat, Jul 14 1-4pm

Sew Sweet Pillow
Ages 5 and up make a pillow.  One 3-hour session, $35.  Level 102

Wed, Jun 27 12-3pm
Mon, Jul 9 10am-1pm
Thu, Jul 26 3-6pm
Fri, Jul 27 10am-1pm

You Rock Smock
Ages 8 and up make an apron with trim and pocket.  One 3-hour session, $35. Level 201

Thu, Jul 12 10am-1pm
Mon, Jul 23 3-6pm
Sat, Jul 28 9:30am-12:30pm

Simply Summer Shorts
Ages 8 and up make elastic waistband shorts.  Two 2-hour sessions, $45
Level 202

Tue, Jul 3 & Tue, Jul 10 4-6pm
Thu, Jul 19 & Thu, Jul 26 10am-12pm

Sew Summer Dress
Ages 8 and up make a dress with hem, pleats, and zipper.  Two 2-hour sessions, $45
Level 301
Sat, June 23 & Sat June 30 1-3pm
Sat, July 21 & Sat July 28 1-3pm

 Summer Treat T-Shirt Kids Quilting 101
Ages 8 and up create and apply an appliqué. One 3-hour session, $35

Tues, June 26 5:30-8:30pm
Thu, June 28 3-6pm
Wed, July 4 2-5pm
Fri, July 27 10am-1pm
Mon, Aug 6 1-4pm
Wed, Aug 15 10am-1pm
Thu, Aug 23 3-6pm

Slumber Mat Kids Quilting 201
Ages 8 and up make a project. Two 2-hour sessions $45
Sat, Jun 23 & Sat, Jun 30 10am-12pmSun, Jul 8 & Sun, Jul 15 1-3pm
Tue, Jul 17 & Tue, Jul 24 6:30-8:30pm


Kids Can Knit! With FREE supplies from Lion Brand Yarn
Ages 8 and up learn basic skills. One 3-hour session $35
Mon, Jul 9 1:30-4:30pm
Thu, Jul 12 1:30-4:30pm
Sat, Aug 11 9:30am-12:30pm

         Mini Book
Ages 8 and up. One 2-hour session $30
Sat, Jun 23 10am-12pm
Wed, Jul 11 11am-1pm
Wed, Jul 18 11am-1pm
Wed, Jul 25 11am-1pm
Tue, Aug 7 11am-1pm
Tue, Aug 14 11am-1pm
Tue, Aug 21 11am-1pm


Pompom Pals
Ages 5 and up. One 2-hour session. $30
Tue, Jun 26 1:30-3:30p
Thu, Jun 28 4-6pm
Wed, Jul 4 10-12pm
Tue, Jul 17 2-4pm
Fri, Jul 27 4-6pm
Mon, Aug 6 10-12pm
Wed, Aug 15 2-4pm
Thu, Aug 23 4-6pm

Cake Decorating and other specialty classes are also available! Yes, for kids! Also, check out the Woodbridge Store's additional offerings by visiting the store. 

Guest Post: Slash Your Utility Costs

In the state of Virginia, electricity and gas are deregulated, giving residents the ability to choose an electricity or gas supplier that best meets the needs of their home or business. It's called the Energy Choice Program.
Competitive suppliers may offer lower prices, innovative services, or environmentally friendly electricity and gas options. Additionally, your primary service provider will continue to deliver the electricity and gas to you and provide you with a monthly statement.
If you do not choose a competitive service provider, your primary power and gas providers will continue to supply and deliver electricity and gas to you at rates set by the Virginia State Corporation Commission. You will still have the option to choose a competitive supplier at a later date.
Traditionally, utility rates fluctuate from season to season. For instance, gas rates are higher in the winter versus the summer. My primary gas provider charged me a rate of $0.99 per unit of gas at the height of winter in December over a year ago. I used 63 units of gas that month. This past winter, after enrolling with a competitive gas supplier, my rate was fixed at $0.65 per unit of gas, remaining the same no matter what time of the year it was. If I had enrolled a year earlier, I would've saved over $20 just that one month.
Because rates are competitive, you most likely will save money by participating in the program. But this is solely based on the prices offered by the suppliers. You will be able to compare prices and services and choose what is best for you. In order to enroll in the Virginia Energy Choice program, and choose a competitive supplier, you must contact your supplier of choice. A list of approved electricity and gas suppliers can be found at http://www.scc.virginia.gov/power/compsup.aspx.
The next time you get your power or gas bill, read over it. Your state may be an Energy Choice state, giving you the option to choose your own supplier, and 
possibly saving your family money.
Find more ways to save money by going to The Money Mom website at www.themoneymom.org or following The Money Mom Deals Blog at http://themoneymomdeals.blogspot.com/. 


Giveaway- WaterWorks Water Park Woodbridge

Growing up in Princedale (yeah, Dale City!) I thought WaterWorks in Woodbridge was the coolest place going.  It was close enough to walk to (not that my mom was going to let me stay there unsupervised, but I could walk if I wanted to), it had "The Tube" and every summer I tried to prove my upper body strength had improved enough to cross those stupid lily pads.

Y'all, I could do a double salchow, but I have never done a pull-up.  That's what figure skating did to me.

Anyway, Water Works is still pretty awesome, and still has the tube.  In fact, it's got more than that:

  • Spacious Beach Pool Entry
  • Enclosed Speed Slide
  • Circular Open Slide
  • 3 Challenging Jungle Walks 
  • Shade Pavillions
  • Full-Service Concessions
  • Snack Shack
  • NEW - Parent/Tot Play Date
  • NEW - Swim Lessons
  • NEW - Junior Lifeguard Camp
  • Coin-Operated Lockers
  • Certified, Professional safety Staff
  • 2 level Children's Wading Pool with:
    • Colorful Crayon Sprays
    • Great Slides
    • Rope Climb
    • Super Geysers
    • Fun Bubblers
    • Whale Slide
WaterWorks will be open for weekdays starting tomorrow (well, Monday, if you're being picky) and we've got their full schedule on our calendar at pwcmoms.com!  They have some great special events, too, including late night Fridays.  The pool also offers junior lifeguard training as well as group and public swim lessons.  

Want to check out Water Works? I have a set of 4 passes good for any evening after 4pm! Check out from work early and take the kids swimming this summer! Leave a comment and I'll pick a winner Monday morning. 
WaterWorks, part of the PWCPA, provided free passes for our winner.  PwcMoms.com is not responsible for any injuries sustained while at the park.  Please follow lifeguard rules and do not leave children unattended regardless of swimming ability.   

Swim Lessons at Waterworks

Waterworks in Woodbridge offers children's swim lessons for all levels.  Check out their summer 2012 offerings! 

NEW Programs for Summer 2012 SWIM LESSONS
Waterworks is offering group swim lessons and private lessons in the evenings at the park. Below is our schedule of classes being offered this summer. You may register at the park or at any of the other recreation centers. The group lesson fees are $64 per session.
Swim Lesson Schedule Monday - Thursday (8 classes)
Session I: Jun 18 – 28
Session II: Jul 2 – 12 (no class Jul 4)
Session III: Jul 16 – 26
Session IV: Jul 30 - Aug 9

Preschool 1 6:45 p.m.
Preschool 2/3 6:45 p.m.
Level 1/2 7:20 p.m. and 8:05 p.m.
Level 3 8:05 p.m.
Private Lessons
For those who prefer one-on-one instruction, the Park Authority offers private & semi-private lessons on the same days and times of the day (PM) as group lessons.
Fee: $165/6 – 30 min lessons (plus $55/additional person; semi-private)

Junior Lifeguard Camp
This is two-week training program for youth who desire the skills to become a lifeguard. Students will gain valuable on the job training in the areas of recognizing emergencies, introductory lifeguard skills (certification not included) including First Aid and CPR, and effective communication with guests. Participants will work one days with an experienced lifeguard during the second week. T-shirt & whistle provided, discounted admissions and/or volunteer opportunities are available after class until 6 p.m. on class days (weather permitting).

Prerequisite: Students should be able to swim 100 yards continuously in deep water and tread water for 1 minute.
Fee: $150; 8 sessions
Day: Monday-Thursday
Dates: Jun 18-28 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Jul 30 - Aug 9 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Father's Day Weekend At Leesylvania State Park

Leesylvania State Park is a fantastic location right here in Prince William County! Having a park so close is such a great perk! Here are their activities coming up this weekend! 

Below are this weekend programs and attached are upcoming programs!  Hope to see you here at Leesylvania State Park !

Terrific Tales for Toddlers
10:30 a.m.   To  11:00 a.m.
Visitor Center
Join us for story time as we read tales about nature. Once the story is over we will get out the crayons and have fun coloring pictures.

Colonial Children's Games
11:00 a.m.   To  4:30 p.m.
Visitor Center
See what games children used to play during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Play a few innings of Town Ball. Race hoops against each other and play a game of catch called Graces. Appropriate for children 4 years old and up.

A Revolutionary Father's Day Presentation
1:00 p.m.   To  2:00 p.m.
Visitor Center
Leesylvania State Park is pleased to announce that on Saturday, June 16, 2012 -- local author, educator, and Historic Dumfries Virginia board president Michael Cecere will give a presentation on Prince William County 's most notable Revolutionary War soldier, Light Horse Harry Lee and his father Henry Lee II to mark Father's Day. Mr. Cecere's presentation will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the Visitor Center . Signed copies of Mr. Cecere's new book entitled, Wedded to My Sword: will be available for sale after his presentation.

Powell's Creek Hike
2 sessions - 11:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. and 3:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Powell's Creek Trailhead
Join a ranger for a walk through the woods. You'll get to see wetlands, learn how the forest is involved in the water cycle, and hike to a beautiful overlook of the creek. Meet at the Powell's Creek Trailhead.

Father's Day Canoe Tour
8:00 a.m.   To  10:00 a.m.
Register at the Visitor Center and then meet at Canoe Launch
Join a ranger for a guided canoe tour on Powell's Creek. You'll get to see wildlife, marsh plants, and test your skills in a canoe. Please register with the Visitor Center 24 hours in advance for the tour. Fee is $9.00 per person, or $6.00 per person when reserving for groups of 4 or more.

Junior Rangers
06/18/2012   To  08/02/2012
9:00 a.m.   To  4:00 p.m.
Sign up at the Visitor Center
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. For more information on exact days and times of program please call. There is a $60.00 enrollment fee per session for each participant. This covers all supplies, graduation certificate, t-shirt, and patch.

Junior Ranger Dates
Morning Session (AM):    9 A.m. - 12 P.M.
Afternoon Session (PM): 1 P.M. - 4 P.M.

June 18-21       AM: 4-6 year olds
                      PM: 10-12 year olds
June 25-28       AM: 4-6 year olds
                      PM: 7-9 year olds
July 9-12          AM: 7-9 year olds
                      PM: 4-6 year olds
July 16-19        AM: 4-6 year olds
                      PM: 10-12 year olds
July 30-Aug. 2   AM: 4-6 year olds
                      PM: 7-9 year olds

Friends of Leesylvania State Park ’s monthly meeting
7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Main Office
The Friends Leesylvania State Park help the park serve visitors and protect the park's natural resources. The group raises money and supports park programs such as the Junior Rangers, Free Kids Fishing Tournaments, and Haunted History Hikes. Friends also help guests and promote the park's unique nature and history, as well as fishing, boating and more. Members have many interests and various backgrounds. There are several membership options. Feel free to email Friends of Leesylvania (friendsofleesylvania@gmail.com) to learn more or come to one of its meetings. It meets the third Tuesday of each month.

Going Batty!
3 Sessions - 11:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M., 2:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M., & 3:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Visitor Center
Although some mammals can glide, bats are the only ones that can fly. Join us to learn where they live, what they eat, and why they can fly around safely at night. Fee is $2/person, $6/family