Summer Camp Options 2014: Prince William Ice Center

Prince William Ice Center offers several fantastic camp options, including their Eleite Hockey Camps!! Check them out for the hockey fanatic in your life!! If you have a lower-level skater, or someone more of the "figure" than "hockey" persuasion, check out their Fun Camps below!


Homeschool Info Session Recap

I am so thankful for the wonderful ladies and gentleman who sat on our homeschool panel! I obviously should've planned for more time since the librarians at Chinn were not-so-gently telling us that we didn't have to go home, but we couldn't stay THERE at closing time! Thank you also to all of you that came out! I hope that the info session was helpful.  Here's what I have for you.

1) If you want to homeschool, you have to submit a Notice of Intent to Prince William County by August 15th.  This is NOT a dissertation, just a very basic list of subjects you will teach and how you are filing. You can find all the county information on homeschooling HERE.

2) You can do this.  Nobody loves your kids more than you. Know why you're doing it, how you are doing it, and then just do it.  Go team. #Awesome.  Sparkles, Unicorns, etc.

3) Some days will suck.  Hard.  Keep going.  You can do this.

4) Co-ops are awesome, or, you don't need a co-op.  Your choice.

5) Some co-ops include:
Homeschool Melting Pot
Woodbridge Eclectic Homeschool Co-op navygirlsunshine(at)yahoo(dot)com
Several others are closed, but if you'd like to add yours just email me!

Then I polled the audience!!

1) What's your favorite curriculum?
Right Start Math
Teaching Textbooks- Math
Singapore Math
Math on Level
Peace Hill Press Language Arts
Easy Grammar
Explode the Code
Handwriting Without Tears
Prarie Primer
Brave Writer
Reading Eggs (Online)
Tapestry of Grace
Spectrum Workbooks
Story of the World
Getting Started With Latin
Answers in Genesis (with stars around it)
(I can tell you right now I both love and hate several of these! The beauty is that you can pick what you like!!)

2) What's your favorite Group? (Online or Real)
Homeschool Melting Pot (Facebook)
VA Eclectic Homeschoolers (Yahoo)
NOVA Unschoolers (Yahoo)
Classical Conversations (which I personally only recommend on a director-by-director basis)
The Well Trained Mind Online Group
VA Homeschoolers
Woodbridge Eclectic Homeschool Coop

3) Favorite Homeschool Classes
Homeschool PE at the Freedom Center
Woodbrdige Eclectic Homeschool Coop
Homeschool Soccer at Courage Sports Woodbridge
Homeschool Band
Homeschool Theatre
Mr. Dunn's HS Interactive Computer Classes
Cub Scout Pack 1189
Edgemoor Art Studio
Homeschool Swimming at Chinn

4) What's your favorite "Have To Share"?
*Know WHY you have chosen to homeschool
*RELAX and enjoy the ride!
*Do NOT try to recreate the classroom at home!
*Get outside! More field trips!
*Know why you homeschool.  Enjoy it! Be flexible.
*Use the library as much as possible
*USED curriculum!
*It's not as complicated as you think it is.
*Enchantedlearning.com, the dollar store is great and everything is a buck!
*Keep Breathing :)
*Enjoy the time you are spending with your children because it'll fly before you know it!
*Take it one day at a time!

I think that I'm going to schedule another meetup for homeschoolers and those considering for June- would you be interested? I'm thinking this would be a "featured homeschool parent" who would talk and take questions, and then some breakout groups for more one on one discussion and Q&A.  Let me know if you'd like to come and what you'd like to see discussed!


Review: Norwex with Ashley Miller

What I like most about Ashley is that she was honest about the fact that she hates to clean. 

Well, no, what I like most about Ashley is that she was a donor to my Silver Sparkles event to benefit Brain Tumor/Brain Cancer research.

But it's a close second on the honesty.

I personally enjoy organizing, and I like it when things ARE clean, but I don't necessarily want to send the kids off with hubby on a weekend so that I can scrub things from top to bottom.  And by "don't necessarily" I mean "not gonna happen".  Ever.

In the homeschooling crowd I run with, we have a lot of what I would call crunchy granola types.  I like that about them :) but that means that I had heard of Norwex before, but I hadn't actually tried it.  I think they are most known for their microfiber cleaning cloths, which contain a special type of silver that makes each cloth be antimicrobial and antibacterial without you having to douse them in any kind of spray, which I've been trying to phase out of my home since getting sick.  Can't be too careful with the neurotoxins (not that I'm hating on the cleaning supplies, because sometimes I don't care how bad they are for me, I'm going to use them- case in point, the last time something "accidentally" got dropped in the toilet. #CloroxBleach)

So, these are the cloths:
Mine happen to be blue, and not pink, but I did not let that oversight cloud my review ;)

So I actually tried some of the crazy things they say you can do with these (example: "wipe up butter and then clean your windows!!!" Who would do that? Seriously. But I did! And it did work! But I felt gross about it, so then I rinsed the cloth out and did it again).

I did not try some of the other crazy things they say you can do with these (example: "wipe up raw chicken and then wipe your kitchen table!!" That's cool, but no thanks.  I'm gonna take your word for it- they have studies and youtube videos if you'd like to check, but I'd just rather clean my nasty chicken juice off with some super-hot wash cycle, thanks!)

So the cloths are cool, and you can totally order some! Ashley also mentioned to me that she thinks their towels are Ah-mah-zing.  These are pricier than the microfibers you'd get at the dollar store, but they do offer the antibacterial silver and they really do suck stuff up.  If I wasn't in the middle of moving, I would love to do some kind of Bounty commercial type of experiment where I see how much blue mystery liquid these can hold versus a cheaper version. 

And then I'd make a tri-fold board with the results, because I'm a dork like that.

Moving on, Ashley also brought me some of the Norwex Ultra Power Plus Laundry Detergent, enough to run 3 loads in a traditional washer/dryer.  It's pricey for regular laundry machines at $21.99 for 40 loads.  However, I have an HE washer, so I got to use 1 teaspoon per load.

1 teaspoon is not a lot of detergent, y'all.
In the interest of science, I even brought down a teaspoon measure for you guys.  That is dedication.  For real. 
Further proving my dedication, I took pictures of my nasty kitchen towel.  You know, the one I used to wipe of chicken juice with since I wouldn't use the Norwex cloth. This, in cold water with 1 teaspoon of the detergent turned into this:
Which I would qualify as a win. If you're interested in products to help keep your home clean without chemicals, I would definitely recommend you get in touch with Ashley!! You can use her website to contact her.  Thanks for the fun review, Ashley!

PwcMoms.com was provided with free products in order to perform this review.  No other compensation was provided. 


$1-$3 Baskin Robbins Scoops April 22-24!


April 14 2014
Guests are Encouraged to Visit Participating Baskin-Robbins Shops Nationwide
from April 22-24 for Super Sweet Deals

(April 14, 2014) Baskin-Robbins, the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty shops, is kicking off the ice cream season with a three-day Scoop Fest promotion from April 22 through April 24 at participating Baskin-Robbins locations nationwide. Ice cream lovers are encouraged to visit their local Baskin-Robbins shop to take part in sweet Scoop Fest deals, including:

  • $1.00 for a Single Kids Scoop (2.5 oz scoop)
  • $2.00 for a Double Scoop (4 oz scoops)
  • $3.00 for a Triple Scoop (4 oz scoops)
Guests can visit http://www.amazingscoopfest.com to get more information about these great deals on their favorite Baskin-Robbins ice cream flavors, including the new April Flavor of the Month, The Amazing Spider-Man 2™ ice cream, which features blue and red vanilla-flavored ice creams with a dark chocolate flavored web and popping candies that combine to make an amazing hero of a flavor.
“We are excited to offer our guests three days of great deals during Scoop Fest and invite them to try our new hero-inspired April Flavor of the Month, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ice cream, to celebrate the movie, which is in theaters May 2, and ice cream season,” said Carol Austin, Vice President of Marketing, Baskin-Robbins. “Scoop Fest is a fun and delicious way for us to kick off the ice cream season with our guests and thank them for their patronage by offering sweet deals on their favorite Baskin-Robbins flavors.”
Additionally, Baskin-Robbins is offering its guests a range of festive ice cream treats to help celebrate the Easter holiday on April 20th. These include Baskin-Robbins’ classic Bunny Roll Cake, which is returning this year in pink and is available for order in a guest’s favorite ice cream and cake flavors both in-store and online at www.BaskinRobbins.com/OnlineOrdering. Baskin-Robbins is also offering a new Easter Egg Hunt ice cream flavor in select participating locations, which features green white-chocolate flavored ice cream with pastel-colored candy eggs and a sweet crème ribbon.
For more information about Baskin-Robbins and Scoop Fest, visit www.BaskinRobbins.com or follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BaskinRobbins), Twitter (www.twitter.com/BaskinRobbins) or Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/baskinrobbins31).

Week in Preview: April 21-27, 2014

Good Morning Mamas!!! I hope that you had a fantastic Easter/Passover/Spring Break, whatever it was you were doing last week!

Now here's what's up!

Pre-Register/RSVP For:
Friday from 10-11am, join the Freedom Center for "Spring Has Sprung" Join us in celebrating warmer weather! Flowers are sure to bloom in this springtime crafts class. Caregiver participation required. This event is priced at $10. 

The May 3rd Home Depot Kids Workshop is coming up- be sure to register online!

Monday, April 21
Tonight is our adult reader meetup for the month, and it's a Homeschool Info Session.  The planned format is that we have a very diverse panel of moms and dads who will be taking questions for the first 30 minutes, and then we'll have 30 minutes for you to meet some of the resources/groups that are coming, as well as to ask more in-depth questions of the parents on the panel (or anyone else there). I'll also be taking down information to share on the site! To RSVP to join us, click here.  This should be great for new homeschoolers, potential homeschoolers, and even "old hat" homeschoolers looking for some new tricks :) See you tonight!

Tuesday, April 22
From 11-12, Let your child play, learn, and grow in a safe and friendly atmosphere.  Chinn Playgroup is a great chance for parents to make new friends while the children enjoy open free play in the gym.  Little Adventures follows PWC Schools schedule for inclement weather and does not meet on school holidays or teacher workdays.  Feb 4-June 10th Tuesdays.  $3/child. 

7pm The ARC of Prince William County facilitates an Autism Parent Support Group that meets the 4th Tuesday of each month. This parent-run group offers support, education, and social opportunities for families who have children (of any age) on the Autism spectrum. Child care is available. Call 703-730-3124 or email jrussell@arcgpw.org for more information.  Event at the Muriel Humphrey Center, 13505 Hillendale Dr. Woodbridge(www.pwmoms.com)

Wednesday, April 23

In the evening, I'll be attending PotomacLocal.com's "Cocktails and Cupcakes" event to benefit The House, Inc in Woodbridge.  I'd love to see some of you there!! $20 tickets include cupcakes, appetizers, and a cash bar.  All proceeds will benefit the selected charity. 
Thursday, April 24
Have a nervous reader? From 4-5pm Reading to Rover PAL (People Animals Love) provides early readers and kids who just love to read the opportunity to read to registered therapy dogs in a relaxed atmosphere. Bring your own book or use one of ours.  Ages 6–10 at Chinn Library.

From 7-7:45, get a Mommy and Me workout- Join us for ZumbAtomic!  It's Zumba the parents love, but taught in a dance class format, for the kids!  Kids will learn a dance routine in each class!  Just $5/participant!  Visit www.spiritcatcherproductions.com to reserve your space!
*Classes at the Rescue Squad!

Friday, April 25
Need to get inside? Friday Flicks - Fridays, 10:30a.m. Join us for quality movies based on books. Each week’s films have a different theme. Parents and their children, daycare providers and daycare centers with their children are all invited to attend.  Ages 2–7 with a caregiver. Drop-in. Chinn Library

Need to get outside? Our site has lots of playground/park info! Just click here for more information about Leesylvania, Fantasy Playground, and more! Need even more outdoor info (yay!) check out our friends at NovaOutdoors.com.

Saturday, April 26
The Grand Opening of the Promenade at Virginia Gateway will be this weekend!! More info (and our giveaway) are located here!!

Inclusive Storytime - 4th Saturday 11:00 a.m. at Chinn Library. Children with varying learning styles and abilities will relax and have fun together in a safe and supportive environment where respect and appreciation for differences is encouraged.  Ages 2 and up with a caregiver.

Tonight's Potomac Nationals game will include Fireworks after the event! 

Sunday, April 27
The Grand Opening of the Promenade at Virginia Gateway will be this weekend!! More info (and our giveaway) are located here!!

Like Pirates? Check out a Pirates of Penzance themed spring concert! Please come join us for our annual Spring concert!  This year we are singing some great selections from Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. We also have some fun arrangements of Forget About the Boy, Pure Imagination and much much more! Come join NDC on this vocal voyage!!!!


Giveaway/Event Notice: Promenade at Virginia Gateway

Virginia Gateway (we were just there yesterday for our Little Gym Reader Meetup!) is hosting a fantastic two-day event for the grand opening of the Promenade! Check it out! (We're getting our own splash fountain, PWC!!)

--> The Peterson Companies invites the community to attend the Grand Opening of Promenade at Virginia Gateway. The weekend events will celebrate the official opening of the highly anticipated 300,000 square foot lifestyle center with new store openings, live entertainment, giveaways, fashion presentations, promotional offers, fireworks, and more

Saturday, April 26, 10:30 am – 9:00 pm
·       Opening Ceremony begins at 10:30 am
·       New Stores Open – White House Black Market, LOFT, Francesca’s Collections, Soma Intimates, Charming Charlie and Pinkberry
·       Fashion Show & Freeze Modeling
·       Meet Aly from WMZQ  
·       Register to Win a $1,000 Promenade shopping spree
·       Performance by the Manassas Symphony Orchestra Winds begins at 7:15 pm
·       Fireworks Show begins at 8:15 pm   
·       Plus, live entertainment, specials and giveaways throughout the day
Sunday, April 27, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
·       Interactive splash fountain opens
·       IT’Sugar opens
·       Face Painting and Balloon Artist
·       Children’s Entertainment
·       Performances by three-piece power pop band, Big Bang Boom 
I am so excited about this event! We're definitely going to plan to be out for the Saturday event, I'm all about Fireworks- although both days sound like a ton of fun!! Be sure to find me and say hi if you come out!! 

As an added bonus for PWC Moms readers, I have THREE fantastic giveaways for you guys!! Please note that you MUST ATTEND THE GRAND OPENING TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE.  I cannot mail it to you, and you can't claim it another weekend- but they're amazing prizes, so if the Pinkberry and the facepainting weren't enough to get you out, this should do it! 

Prizes are:

Winner 1: Loft $250 gift card

Winner 2: Grace jewelers $100 gift card

Winner 3: Charming Charlie $50 gift card

I'm not actually sure which of these I would want the most (if I could win, which I can't, which stinks)...I totally love all three!! Enter early, enter often, I'll pull winners next week before the big day!! 

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Prizes provided by Virginia Gateway, who is sponsoring this post.  As always, by entering you agree to our Giveway Rules.  


Youth Chorus Program Beginning in the 2014-2015 Season

Youth Orchestras of Prince William Announces Addition of Youth Chorus Program Beginning in the 2014-2015 Season

Woodbridge, VA (April 11, 2014) – The Youth Orchestras of Prince William (YOPW) is delighted to announce the addition of a Youth Chorus for the 2014-2015 season.  This treble voice choir will be open to both male and female students in grades 3 through 8.  The chorus will perform a variety of repertoire including classical, folk, and world music and collaborate with YOPW’s orchestras.
John Devlin, Music Director said, “YOPW’s mission is to serve the area’s youth by providing them with high-level musical opportunities. We saw a need for an excellent choral program that will bring together talented youth from around the region. Our unique position within the county allows YOPW to do this and will give the chorus the chance to perform with our instrumental ensembles.”
YOPW began incorporating choral collaborations into their performances in the 2012-2013 season.  These have proven to be successful learning opportunities for all of the students – orchestra members and singers – and YOPW is excited to expand these offerings. 
“Integrating a youth choir into our own offerings is an ideal channel for younger students that are interested in the choral arts. With us, they will grow into excellent ensemble members and enjoy the experience in the way that our instrumental students are currently able,” said Devlin.
Students interested in joining the new Youth Chorus will be required to complete a voice check.  Voice checks will give students the opportunity to meet with Chorus staff one-on-one and will last 5-7 minutes per student. 
Voice Checks will be held:
·      Monday, May 12th from 5:00 - 9:00 pm at Gar-Field High School
·      Monday, May 19th from 5:00 - 9:00 pm at Patriot High School
·      Saturday, September 6th from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm at Gar-Field High School
Appointments can be made by contacting the YOPW Office at (703) 590-7083 or yopw@yopwva.org.

For more than 30 years, the Youth Orchestras of Prince William has provided exceptional instrumental education for the youth of the region. We offer opportunities for a wide spectrum of students, ranging from beginning string players and intermediate wind players to advanced students performing professional symphonic repertoire. YOPW enrolls approximately 275 students in three string orchestras, two symphony orchestras, a wind symphony, and a variety of chamber music ensembles. Our students are primarily from Prince William County, Virginia, but YOPW members come from all over Northern Virginia and North Central Virginia. For more information about the Youth Orchestras of Prince William visit our website: http://www.yopwva.org. 


Week in Preview: April 14-April 20, 2014

 I hope that you're planning a fun spring break, whether you're traveling or staying put, working, or taking a week off. My boys are going to be checking out programming camp at The Animated Child, and my daughter is hanging out with me for a little girl time (read: I couldn't find a camp that worked right for pickup/dropoff with the boys)- but we're going to have fun! We should have some great weather, so consider one of the county parks for some mini golf or outdoor fun!!

Monday, April 14
 If you or someone you know could use a little extra help getting food on the table while the kids aren't in school, here's one for you: In partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), Holiness Tabernacle provides free, healthy and nourishing food to Prince William County every second Monday from 12 to 3 P.M.

If you need a little break this week but can't do/don't want to do a full week of camp, Kids N Motion has 9:30 am - 12:30 pm morning session or 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm afternoon session
Early drop off and Late pick-up available at an additional fee of $5.00/Hour.
(Must be prearranged and scheduled) $20 for 1 session per day. $30 for 2 sessions per day.

Tuesday, April 15
SOS: Spring Break Edition: Art Attack Tuesday, April 15, 2:00 p.m. Join us at the library for an art attack! We’ll have four stations with different projects set up, and you can take a turn at all four, or concentrate on three, or two, or just one. Grade K–5 Please pick up a free pass beginning 1/2 hour before the program; each child participating must have a pass. Limit 24. 

Wednesday, April 16
Baby Animal Petting Zoo Wednesday April 16, 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Pet the baby animals from the Bar C Ranch Tickets for timed intervals available beginning Wednesday, April 9. Tickets are necessary only if there is inclement weather. Limit: Five Tickets per Adult 

Thursday, April 17
Shenanigans at Central Library Shenanigans Alternating Thursdays at 4:30 p.m.  Make practical or whimsical items and have fun while doing it! All of the programs are free and all materials are supplied!  Grades K–5. Registration is required and may be done by phone or online.

SOS Matinee: An American Tail at Potomac Library Join your siblings or  friends at a school’s out special matinee; you are welcome to bring a snack and drink to enjoy while you watch! All ages. Drop in. No registration required.

Friday, April 18
People love Port Discovery Children's Museum, and even though it's in Baltimore, we've got it on our calendar for their $2 night.  I assume that it'll be crowded, but if you're looking for a fun and inexpensive spring break field trip, this could be it! Join us on the 3rd Friday of every month for Target $2 Family Fun Night!  Enjoy a discount admission of $2 from 4pm - 7pm.  Cannot be combined with any other discounts or coupons.

Want to stay a little closer? It's GEICO free night at the Children's Museum at National Harbor.  We did this over Christmas, and, again, while you'll wait in line to get it, it's free and fun!  This isn't my favorite children's museum, I think it's a little small and definitely aimed at the preschool/kindergarten set.

Saturday, April 19
Easter Egg Hunt: April 19, 2 PM - 3:30 PM Rain or Shine for Kids through 5th grade http://www.nokesvillecob.org/

8899 Sudley Road, Manassas VA 20110
Come one, come all children to our Annual Easter Egg Hunt, Saturday, April 19th 10:30-11:00 am. We will hear a story, make an Easter craft, and HUNT for candy-filled Eggs. www.StThomasUMC.org 
LRPRA Meet the Easter Bunny and hunt for eggs at the Eggstravaganza.  All children up to age 10 are eligible; parents must pre-register children by Wednesday, April 16, in order to participate.  The cost is $3 for LRPRA members and $5 for non-members.  Don't forget your cameras and Easter baskets.  Call the Recreation Department at 703-491-2154 for more details.  Begins at 9am SHARP.  Do not be late or you'll miss all the eggs!! 
Rippon Lodge Egg Hunt Eggs have been hidden all over Rippon Lodge and we need your help to find them.  Egg Hunts will be at 11:30, 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30.  Hunts will be separated by age groups.  Enjoy fun kid friendly games and crafts all day long.  Bring a picnic and make a day of it.  House tours available.  Bring your own basket for egg collecting.  All other activities will be ongoing throughout the day. Please bring exact change or to speed entrance process.  VISA and MC accepted.   
Sunday, April 20 (Easter Sunday) 
Spirit and Life Church (Dumfries) and St. Thomas (Manassas) will both have egg hunts after their services on Easter Sunday. 

Don't forget that there's school on April 21st as a makeup day for snow! 


Reader Meetup: April 16, 2014

Hey friends! The Little Gym of Gainesville has kindly offered to host us for our next Reader Meetup! We'll be making a simple spring craft (it's going to be bunnies/eggs, so if that is going to bug you feel free to bring your own craft), and then we'll have some play time in the gym space!

Plan on playing from 1pm-2pm.

This family-friendly meetup will be geared towards ages 3-6, although younger siblings are welcome.  Older siblings will want to schedule a playdate elsewhere so no little ones are getting trampled. Thanks!

If you'd like to get involved in our meetups to showcase your business, shoot me an email! If you'd like to bring snack for this meetup (a great way to show off your business!) or you'd like to drop off some swag for our participants, also email me :)

I can take 25 children, not counting non-mobile infants.  PLEASE DO NOT TAKE SPOTS if you're not going to come.

Thanks :)

I'll pull winners one at a time on Friday afternoon, so you'll need to email me back by Friday at 10pm to save your space so I can fill all the spots.

Good luck :)

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Can't come on the 16th? Check out The Little Gym's Summer Camps!

Guest Post: Fit Mommies

Max Muscle is an advertising sponsor of PwcMoms.com.  You can find them in the Harris Teeter shopping center at the intersection of Hoadly and the PW Parkway.  Owner Corry Matthews is happy to provide fitness consultations, product recommendations, and more.  It might be called Max Muscle- but the store is designed for people at any point on their fitness journey. 


Host a Student with USA Connections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Week in Preview: April 7-13, 2014

Guys, I seriously suck at doing this many things.  I swear I used to be good at it!! I am so overwhelmed right now with kid activities, our looming move, house renovations at our new project home, end of year testing plans, and everyday life.  I would like to tip my hat to all the military moms that do this every year or two, the working moms who do all this AND work from 9-5, and all of you who just rock at life. 

In other news, I can see either a light at the end of the tunnel or an approaching train.  Either way, things ought to be ending soon ;)

Here's your week in preview, and I will try to get back on my game ASAP.

RSVP/Get Tickets For/Heads Up On
Ringling Brothers will be at the Patriot Center in Fairfax this week and next for their "Built to Amaze" show.  Performances are April 9-13 and April 17-20.  Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.

The New Dominion Choraliers will have a Pirate-themed concert on April 26th and 27th.  Order your tickets by clicking on the link for the date you'd like to attend.  Tickets are $15/adults, $5/kids, $10 military/seniors/students.

Join one or BOTH of our MOMS classes! (A 30-40 minute music class followed by a playdate for toddlers and moms).  Our weekday class meets Tuesday from 10am-12pm.  The weekend class meets on the SECOND SATURDAY of the month from 10am-12pm. If interested, please contact Brandi moms@sudley-methodist.org

Twisted Tee Scarves Tuesday, April 15, 7:00 p.m.Give new life to a used tee shirt when we turn them into infinity scarves. Try out a new style and update your spring wardrobe; recycling is always on trend! Please bring a used tee shirt. Grades 6–12; Please register on-line beginning April 6. (Bull Run Library)

Pick up tickets at Potomac Library for "The Magic is Real" with Joe Romano.  The show is April 19th at 11am, and tickets became available this weekend, so hurry!

Monday, April 7
Chick Fil A Signal Hill is having a recruitment day- this would be a great opportunity for your teenagers to go fill out job applications before the summer rush!! Two time slots are available, with the after-school option running from 3-7pm.

Head to Central Library to pick up free tickets for the Uncle Devin Show at Central Library on April 14th at 7pm. 

Tuesday, April 8
A new addition to our calendar this week is "Little Adventures" at the Chinn Center.  Each week from 11-12, kids can enjoy open gym while parents meet new friends, too! $3/child, follows PWCS schedule for closings.

7:05pm- it's Potomac National's Opening Day

Mom Linda wrote in to make sure you all know about the Board of County Supervisors Meeting tonight at 7:30pm at the McCoart Building in Woodbridge.  They'll be discussing some budgetary issues including the Montclair and Gainesville libraries being cut to save money.  My only note on this is that if you're showing up to speak for the libraries, come prepared with what you'd cut instead. 

Wednesday, April 9
Wednesdays are always serious storytime days for PWC Libraries.  Catch a 10:30 at Potomac, Dale City, or Chinn, or a 10:45 at Central.  

Tonight is opening night of the Circus at the Patriot Center in Fairfax.

Chinn Library will host an animal petting zoo on April 16th.  Tickets are free, but will go fast.  Pick them up at the library beginning today.

Thursday, April 10
Don't forget to check our Facebook page for a giveaway from Spirit & Life Montclair at 10:30am- they've got a family 4 pack of tickets to see "Heaven Is For Real" at AMC Potomac Mills on Easter Saturday!! 

It's an "on" week for Totally Terrific Thursday at Potomac Library. Crafts and activities. All children must be accompanied by an adult helper. Younger siblings are welcome.  Pick up a free pass beginning at 4:00 p.m. A pass is required for each child doing the craft.  Limit 24 crafters.  Ages 4 and up.

Friday, April 11
Do you have date night plans? Be sure to check out Vertical Rock, Kids in Motion, and Animated Child for Parents Night Out options! 

Saturday, April 12
Egg Hunt at Manassas Park Community Center begins at 10am.  Register Online no later than April 11th. $5/child.

There's an "Adaptive Egg Hunt" at 11:30am at Miracle Field in Manassas Park for youth and teens with mental or physical disabilities.   6 years to under 17 years are welcome, and there's a $5 fee. Register Online before you go, but by Friday the 11th at the latest.

From 12-3, celebrate with the National Museum of the Marine Corps as they host a "Celebration of the Military Child" Join us for crafts and activities that foster family team building.  Kid-friendly activities will include puppet shows, book readings, a LEGO display and face painting.  The Museum's mascot "Chesty the Bulldog" will also be on site for photos with kids and parents alike.  Open to all children and families.

Sunday, April 13
A little history! Join living historians as they interpret the life of Confederate soldiers from 3rd Regiment ANV. This event will allow visitors a unique glimpse into a camp setting where they can watch soldiers, conduct picket duty, drill, and learn the school of the soldier. 10am-4pm; $5 per person, children six and under free. Ben Lomond Historic Site, 10321 Sudley Manor Dr., Manassas, VA 703-367-7872.


Review: NOVA Plastic Surgery

I had a rough year.  The surgery, the radiation, the turning 30, the inordinate amount of time in hospitals (which are really drying!), and I really felt about 20 years older than I actually am.

That would make me feel 50, in case addition's not your thing this close to Spring Break.

So, when I was contacted by NOVA Plastic Surgery to come in and check out their offices, I was really excited to go.  I'm totally cool with women doing whatever makes them feel happy with themselves.  For me that's not any serious nip/tuck action, although maybe that'll change when I'm a little older and a little further out from brain surgery, who knows. Luckily, NOVA Plastic Surgery offers several non-surgical options, in addition to surgical procedures such as breast augmentation and brow lifts, for making yourself feel like the best version of you.  I have a few friends who have gotten Botox, but I opted for a Broad Band Light (BBL) treatment which uses focused light to help correct sun damage, freckles, redness or obvious veins.

Because I am roughly the color of Elmer's glue, I use sunscreen like it's going out of style, but I still had a little bit of sun damage, which isn't surprising since I burn if I don't reapply ever 40 minutes (no joke).
Inside the Ashburn waiting area
When I got to the office, everyone was lovely and kind.  I am, at this point, something of an expert on medical offices and their reception staff, and the ladies at NOVA Plastic Surgery get a 10 for being calm, friendly, efficient, and easy to work with.  I went to the Ashburn office, which is a bit of a drive from Woodbridge, but as with any medical procedure, even one that doesn't involve cutting, you want to make sure you have someone qualified who makes you comfortable doing the procedure (they have a 5 star rating on Yelp! Nobody gets 5 stars on Yelp!).  The waiting area is very spa-like and I actually enjoyed the entire experience as a sort of "me time" event, rather than a trip to the doctor's office.
The BBL Machine
Dr. Nukta and his staff took me back, talked with me a little bit about the BBL procedure, and noted that it was really all I qualified for since my skin is in pretty good shape, which was great to hear!! The process is really very simple.  They lay you back and put on some tanning-style glasses, however the light they use is so bright you'll see it through your closed and covered eyelids.  Then, Dr. Nukta selects spots to treat, and the targeted irritation encourages your skin to heal itself and correct any damage.  It's slightly uncomfortable- it felt like a snapping rubber band and I definitely jumped a little, but I feel like it really did help with evening out my skin tone.  Most women severe issues will want more than one treatment, but I did notice a change in my skin tone, although since I "didn't have far to go" it may seem subtle to those who don't stare at my mug in the mirror every day!
I can't even begin to apologize for making you look at me up close like this.
So above is me directly after the procedure.  I was much more red than most people will be, but even if your skin isn't as sensitive as mine, you'll want to give yourself 24-48 hours before you have a photo shoot or go out to dinner.  Jenn, the patient coordinator, called to check on my redness level and make sure I didn't have any after-care questions, which I really appreciated.

Dr. Nukta was so easy to work with- he is professional, kind, and instantly puts you at ease.  He is double board-certified and specializes in plastic surgery of the face and body, migraine surgery, and hand surgery.  In addition to his stellar academic qualifications, he was also named in "Guide to America's Top Surgeons" in 2013.  I wasn't sure what to expect when meeting with a plastic surgeon- I was a little afraid that I would walk out with a laundry list of things that were wrong with me, but to the contrary, Dr. Nukta was honest, realistic, and didn't try to up-sell me on every possible correction we could make in any way shape or form.  It was really a very enjoyable experience.

I would not hesitate to recommend NOVA Plastic Surgery to any mom, whether she's wanting to do a little maintenance or make some drastic changes.
 NOVA Plastic Surgery performed my BBL treatment and follow-up check free of charge in order for me to write a review.  All opinions, observations, and witty sarcasm are my own. All medical decisions should be made based on your unique history and circumstances with your physician.


Giveaway: Chrysalis Bangles at Touch of Gold

I love Touch of Gold.  I miss working at Touch of Gold.  It was so lovely to have a day of quiet, adult conversation, even if practically every dime I made went to jewelry...which, let's be honest, is also lovely :) 

What's great about TOG is that in addition to their high-end jewelery, they stock several "fun" lines that are great for girlfriend gifts, nieces, graduations, birthdays, etc.  When I am no longer paying for things like hockey or music lessons, I plan to collect Troll Beads like they're Pokemon cards- Gotta Catch Em All. 

For today, Touch of Gold is giving away a bangle from their new Chrysalis line.  They are genuine gemstones with charms for $49, birthstone/charm bangles for $36, or charm bangles for $29.  They come in silvertone or gold plated- and their launch special is buy 2 get one 1/2 off the lowest priced bangle.

They're so cute, right? I think it'd be especially cute with one for each child's birthstone- like a mommy necklace, but sparklier.  More sparkly? I'm not sure- look, it'll be blinged out, and that's awesome.

Enter to win using the rafflecopter below.  As always, by entering you agree to our rules.  Winner must pick up their bangle at the store in Historic Occoquan, it won't be shipped.  This means, you're going to need to tell your husband you have to take your three best friends for lunch and shopping.  You will survive ;)

Good luck, and thanks Touch of Gold!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Summer Intensives at Academy of Russian Ballet

Our friends at the Academy of Russian Ballet are offering several summer intensives, master classes, and maintenance classes for your dancer!  The Academy of Russian Ballet appears on our "Readers Recommend: Dance Studios for Children in Prince William County" list, as well. 

The Academy of Russian Ballet is a sponsor of PwcMoms.com.  All opinions expressed are those of PwcMoms.com, however.