5/30/14

Mid County Car, Truck, and Bike Show 2014


5/28/14

Save at Animated Child!


FREE and CHEAP Summer Fun Ideas 2014

Ongoing:
The City of Manassas holds free concerts at the Harris Pavilion from 3-4:30pm on Sundays, 6-8pm Tuesdays, and 11:30-1:30pm Wednesdays all summer long. There is no concert June 1 or June 15

Your child can win prizes (and keep their reading skills sharp) with the Summer Quest program through PWC Libraries.  There is a program for older children, as well as volunteer opportunities for teens!!

Kids Skate Free participates with Skate N Fun Zone in Manassas.  The passes are good for skating typically after 4pm, but hours vary by day.  Skate rental is $4.50.

AMF Bowling's Summer Program lets kids enjoy 3 weekday games for free EVERY stinkin day of the summer.  There's a discount program for adults.

Don't forget our VBS listings, either!!

THIS IS NOT EVERYTHING TO DO ON ANY GIVEN DAY!! It's just a few free/cheap activities that I'm featuring on the list.  For our full calendar, just click "calendar" above!

June
June 1 Free Jumbotron Movie at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center 7pm

June 2 $1 Monday at the Potomac Nationals ($1 Tickets and Hot Dogs)

June 3 Free concert at the Harris Pavilion 6-8pm

June 4 Free Concert at the Harris Pavilion 11:30-1:30pm

June 6 Free Movies at Madison Crescent 7:30pm
June 6 Free Concerts at Workhouse Arts Center 7-8pm Rizer Pavilion

June 7 Fireworks Night at the Potomac Nationals
June 7 Free Children's Day at the Weems Botts Museum 1:30pm

June 8 Free Concert at Harris Pavilion 3-4:30pm
June 8 Free Jumbotron Movie at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center 7pm

June 9 Dale City Library 5:30pm Evening Storytime for families who can't come during the day!

June 10 Free concert at the Harris Pavilion 6-8pm

June 11 Free Concert at the Harris Pavilion 11:30-1:30pm
June 11 Free Little Tots 10:30am Rocknoceros

June 13 Free Movies at Madison Crescent 7:30pm

June 14 Fireworks Night at the Potomac Nationals
June 14 Chinn Library Inclusive Storytime 11am
June 14 Free Concerts at Workhouse Arts Center 7-8pm Rizer Pavilion

June 15 Dads are free at Rippon Lodge
June 15 Free Jumbotron Movie at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center 7pm

June 16 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 1- $2 10am-12pm

June 17 Potomac Library Old McDonald's Farm by Bob Brown Puppets
June 17 Central Library Circus on Strings 10:45am FREE tickets beginning June 10
June 17 Free concert at the Harris Pavilion 6-8pm

June 18 Potomac Library Starlight Family Craft Time 7pm ticket time
June 18 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 1- $2 10am-12pm
June 18 Free Concert at the Harris Pavilion 11:30-1:30pm

June 19 Bull Run Library The Bicycle Fence Puppet Show
June 19 Chinn Park Library Old McDonald's Farm by Bob Brown Puppets 10:30am and 2:00pm

June 20 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 1- $2 10am-12pm
June 20 Free Toddler Storytime at Leesylvania State Park 10:30am
June 20 Free Movies at Madison Crescent 7:30pm

June 21 Free Concerts at Workhouse Arts Center 7-8pm Rizer Pavilion
June 21 1-2pm Mormon Choir of Washington at Harris Pavilion
June 21 Potomac Library Water Day 2pm limit 60 children

June 22 Free Concert at Harris Pavilion 3-4:30pm
June 22 Free Jumbotron Movie at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center 7pm

June 23 $1 Monday at the Potomac Nationals ($1 Tickets and Hot Dogs)
June 23 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 2- $2 10am-12pm
June 23 Dale City Library 5:30pm Evening Storytime for families who can't come during the day!

June 24 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 Hotel Transylvania 10am
June 24 2 For Tuesday at the Potomac Nationals (2 Tickets/2 Hot Dogs/2 Drinks for the price of one)
June 24 Free concert at the Harris Pavilion 6-8pm

June 25 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 The Smurfs 2 10am
June 25 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 2- $2 10am-12pm
June 25 Potomac Library Animal Adaptations with Bar C Ranch 3:00pm
June 25 Bull Run Library Bubble Blow Out 10:30am
June 25 Free Little Tots 10:30am Mad Science

June 26 Bull Run Library Animal Adaptations with Bar C Ranch 10:30am
June 26 Chinn Library Family Craft Night 7pm
June 26 ​Jack & the Beanstalk @Locust Shade Amphitheater 10:30am Treasure Island 2:30pm $4
June 26 Potomac Library Grades 5-12 Crazy Cupcakes 7pm

June 27 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 2- $2 10am-12pm
June 27 Free Movies at Madison Crescent 7:30pm

June 28 Free Concerts at Workhouse Arts Center 7-8pm Rizer Pavilion
June 28 Fireworks Night at the Potomac Nationals
June 28 Free Family Movie @Piney Branch ES 7pm

June 29 Fireworks Night at the Potomac Nationals
June 29 Free Concert at Harris Pavilion 3-4:30pm
June 29 Free Jumbotron Movie at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center 7pm

June 30 $1 Monday at the Potomac Nationals ($1 Tickets and Hot Dogs)
June 30 Potomac Library Monday Matinees 11am Bring a snack or Lunch
June 30 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 3- $2 10am-12pm

July
July 1 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 10am
July 1 Central Library Sidewalk Chalk Day 10:30-11:30am
July 1 Free concert at the Harris Pavilion 6-8pm

July 2 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 The Pirates Band of Misfits 10am
July 2 Bull Run Library Crafty Critters and Insect Exploration
July 2 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 3- $2 10am-12pm
July 2 Potomac Library Starlight Family Craft Time 7pm ticket time

July 4 4pm-10pm Celebrate America in Old Town Manassas
July 4  Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 3- $2 10am-12pm
July 4 Fireworks Night at the Potomac Nationals

July 5 Fireworks Night at the Potomac Nationals
July 5 Free Concerts at Workhouse Arts Center 7-8pm Rizer Pavilion
July 5 Free Kids Fishing Tournament 9am-11am Leesylvania State Park

July 6 Fireworks Night at the Potomac Nationals
July 6 Free Concert at Harris Pavilion 3-4:30pm
July 6 Free Jumbotron Movie at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center 7pm

July 7 $1 Monday at the Potomac Nationals ($1 Tickets and Hot Dogs)
July 7 Bull Run Library- Pastry Art with the Aubergine Chef (Middle/HS Students) Register beginning June 23
July 7 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 4- $2 10am-12pm

July 8 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 Arthur Christmas 10am
July 8 2 For Tuesday at the Potomac Nationals (2 Tickets/2 Hot Dogs/2 Drinks for the price of one)
July 8 Potomac Library Creatures Great and Small by the Rainbow Puppets

July 9 Bull Run Library Creatures Great and Small by the Rainbow Puppets 10:30 am
July 9 Central Library Creatures Great and Small by the Rainbow Puppets 3:00pm FREE tickets available beginning July 2
July 9 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 4- $2 10am-12pm
July 9 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 Despicable Me 2 10am
July 9 Free Little Tots 10:30am Blue Sky Puppet Theatre
July 10 Independent Hill Library Crafty Critters and Insect Exploration

July 11 Potomac Library Drive-In Movie 4:45pm Make a car and share pizza for dinner.  Register by phone beginning July 5- limit 24 children. NO latecomers (library doors lock at 5pm)
July 11 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 4- $2 10am-12pm

July 12 Chinn Library Inclusive Storytime 11am
July 12 Free Concerts at Workhouse Arts Center 7-8pm Rizer Pavilion

July 13 Free Concert at Harris Pavilion 3-4:30pm
July 13 Free Jumbotron Movie at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center 7pm

July 14  Potomac Library Monday Matinees 11am Bring a snack or Lunch
July 14 Potomac Library Uncle Devin Show 7pm
July 14 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 5- $2 10am-12pm

July 15 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 The Lego Movie 10am
July 15 Central Library Once Upon a Toon with Joe Wos (Grades 1 and up) FREE tickets available beginning July 8
July 15 Chinn Library Reptiles Alive! 10:30am Ages 3-7, 2pm Grades 1 and Up, 7pm ages 5 and up

July 16 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 Free Birds 10am
July 16 Dale City Library The Singing Lizard 10:30am
July 16 Dumfries Library Crafty Critters and Insect Exploration 10:30-12:30 drop in
July 16 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 5- $2 10am-12pm

July 17 7-8pm US Navy Country Current Band at Harris Pavilion
July 17 Potomac Library Busy Beavers Grades 1 and Up 11am

July 18 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 5- $2 10am-12pm

July 19 Shakespeare by the Water @Locust Shade Park 7pm $4
July 19 Free Concerts at Workhouse Arts Center 7-8pm Rizer Pavilion

July 20 Shakespeare by the Water @Locust Shade Park 3pm $4
July 20 Free Concert at Harris Pavilion 3-4:30pm
July 20 Free Jumbotron Movie at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center 7pm

July 21  Potomac Library Monday Matinees 11am Bring a snack or Lunch
July 21 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 6- $2 10am-12pm

July 22 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 Adventures of Tin Tin 10am
July 22 Chinn Park Library Uncle Pete Rocks 10:30am
July 22 Potomac Library  Uncle Pete Rocks 2pm

July 23 Central Library  Uncle Pete Rocks 10:30am FREE tickets available July 16
July 23 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 Rise of the Guardians 10am
July 23 Potomac Library Meet the PWC K-9 Team 7:15pm, Pick up a free pass beginning at 7pm
July 23 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 6- $2 10am-12pm
July 23 Free Little Tots 10:30am Reptiles Alive!

July 24 Independent Hill Library  The Bicycle Fence Puppet Show
July 24 Bull Run Library GameMaking/GamePlaying (Middle/HS Students) 2:00pm Register online beginning July 7
July 24 REPTILE WORLD at the Locust Shade Amphitheater $4 10:30am/7:00pm
July 24 Chinn Library Family Craft Night 7pm
July 24 Chinn Library Police SWAT Team 2pm (Middle/HS Students)

July 25 Dumfries Library The Singing Lizard 10:30am
July 25 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 6- $2 10am-12pm

July 26 Fireworks Night at the Potomac Nationals
July 26 Free Concerts at Workhouse Arts Center 7-8pm Rizer Pavilion
July 26th Free Family Movie @Piney Branch ES 7pm

July 27 Fireworks Night at the Potomac Nationals
July 27 Free Concert at Harris Pavilion 3-4:30pm
July 27 Free Jumbotron Movie at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center 7pm

July 28 $1 Monday at the Potomac Nationals ($1 Tickets and Hot Dogs)
July 28  Potomac Library Monday Matinees 11am Bring a snack or Lunch
July 28 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 7- $2 10am-12pm

July 29 2 For Tuesday at the Potomac Nationals (2 Tickets/2 Hot Dogs/2 Drinks for the price of one)
July 29 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 Kung Fu Panda 2 10am
July 29 Central Library Science Unscripted FREE tickets available July 22

July 30 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 Madagascar 3 10am
July 30 Dale City Library Crafty Critters and Insect Exploration 10:30-12:30 drop in
July 30 Bull Run Library Safari Bingo 11am
July 30 Potomac Library Starlight Family Craft Time 7pm ticket time
July 30 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 7- $2 10am-12pm

July 31 Central Library Paws in the Garden
July 31 Chinn Park Library Meet the PWC K-9 Team
July 31 Potomac Library  The Bicycle Fence Puppet Show

August
August 1 Michaels Passport to Imagination Week 7- $2 10am-12pm

August 2 Free Concerts at Workhouse Arts Center 7-8pm Rizer Pavilion
August 2 Free Kids Fishing Tournament 9am-11am Leesylvania State Park

August 3 Free Concert at Harris Pavilion 3-4:30pm
August 3 Free Jumbotron Movie at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center 7pm

August 4 Central Library Crafty Critters and Insect Exploration 11am FREE tickets available July 28
August 4  Potomac Library Monday Matinees 11am Bring a snack or Lunch

August 5 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 The Croods 10am
August 5 2 For Tuesday at the Potomac Nationals (2 Tickets/2 Hot Dogs/2 Drinks for the price of one)
August 5 Chinn Park Library Diggery Digger's 3D Dino Show 10:30am
August 5 Potomac Library Diggery Digger's 3D Dino Show

August 6 Bull Run Library Diggery Digger's 3D Dino Show 10:30am
August 6 Dale City Library Barnyard Buddies Presented by Wildlife Ambassadors
August 6 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 Epic 10am
August 6 Free Little Tots 10:30am Kid Singer Jim

August 7 Independent Hill Library Barnyard Buddies Presented by Wildlife Ambassadors
August 7 Nokesville Library Crafty Critters and Insect Exploration 10:30-12:30 drop in
August 7 Bull Run Library Barnyard Buddies Presented by Wildlife Ambassadors 2:00pm
August 7 Central Library Fabulous Fun Fair (Ages 2-6) 10:30am FREE tickets available July 31

August 9 Chinn Library Inclusive Storytime 11am
August 9 Free Concerts at Workhouse Arts Center 7-8pm Rizer Pavilion

August 10 Free Concert at Harris Pavilion 3-4:30pm
August 10 Free Jumbotron Movie at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center 7pm

August 11  Potomac Library Monday Matinees 11am Bring a snack or Lunch

August 12 2 For Tuesday at the Potomac Nationals (2 Tickets/2 Hot Dogs/2 Drinks for the price of one)
August 12 Chinn Park Library Once Upon A Time (Theatre show)
August 12 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 Turbo 10am

August 13 Bull Run Library Once Upon A Time (Theatre show) 10:30am
August 13 Dumfries Library  The Bicycle Fence Puppet Show 10:30am
August 13 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 Walking with Dinosaurs 10am
August 13 Potomac Library Starlight Family Craft Time 7pm ticket time

August 14 Big Yellow School Bus (try out the bus!) Any local library 10:30am
August 14 Chinn Library Family Craft Night 7pm
August 14 Potomac Library Ice Cream Social 1pm

August 16 Fireworks Night at the Potomac Nationals
August 16 Free Concerts at Workhouse Arts Center 7-8pm Rizer Pavilion
August 16 Free Family Movie @Piney Branch ES 7pm

August 17 Fireworks Night at the Potomac Nationals
August 17 Free Concert at Harris Pavilion 3-4:30pm
August 17 Free Jumbotron Movie at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center 7pm

August 19 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 Mr. Peabody and Sherman 10am
August 19 Free concert at the Harris Pavilion 6-8pm

August 20 $1 Summer Movies At Regal Manassas 14 Rio 2 10am
August 20 Free Concert at the Harris Pavilion 11:30-1:30pm
August 20 Free Little Tots 10:30am Under the Sea

August 21 7-8pm US Navy Sea Chanters at Harris Pavilion

August 23 Fireworks Night at the Potomac Nationals
August 23 Free Concerts at Workhouse Arts Center 7-8pm Rizer Pavilion

August 24 Fireworks Night at the Potomac Nationals
August 24 Free Concert at Harris Pavilion 3-4:30pm
August 24 Free Jumbotron Movie at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center 7pm

August 26 Free concert at the Harris Pavilion 6-8pm

August 28 7-8pm US Army Blues Band at Harris Pavilion

August 30 Free Concerts at Workhouse Arts Center 7-8pm Rizer Pavilion

August 31 Free Concert at Harris Pavilion 3-4:30pm
August 31 Free Jumbotron Movie at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center 7pm


5/24/14

Giveaway: We Will Rock You at the Warner Theatre


Clap Clap Stomp, Clap Clap Stomp.

You know what I'm saying! Anyone who's ever been to a live sporting event knows at least one Queen song! The Warner Theatre is presenting "We Will Rock You" form June 3-8.  You can get 50% off your tickets using BOHEMIAN at checkout through LiveNation.com.

Want to win tickets? Find this post on Facebook and LIKE/COMMENT/SHARE- we'll be giving away a 4 pack to a lucky winner on Sunday evening!
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This giveaway is sponsored by LiveNation.  By entering you agree to be bound by our giveaway rules.

5/21/14

Giveaway: Jake's American Grille DC

We are incredibly fortunate (or we planned well) to live close to family that loves to babysit our kids.  I know that for some of our friends, finding a sitter is incredibly difficult.  Either they can't find one, they're not comfortable leaving their children, or the added cost to the date is too much to warrant going out. Because of that struggle, I think it's such a fantastic idea that Jake's American Grille in DC offers childcare on-site for both their Thursday night date-night and their weekend kids brunch.

It's not in PWC, but I was willing to take one for the team and check it out.

 With this guy, because he's awesome. (For those of you who are new to PwcMoms, that would be my husband, Austin.)

The drive was horrific.  The Thursday night we picked for our reservation was the same night mother nature picked for intermittent torrential downpours.  We also opted to take 66 in rather than back tracking to take HOV on 95.  We just moved, it's not our fault.  All these things meant it took us 2 hours to get there.  Obviously this is not normal, we just got unlucky, and that can happen in the DMV.  The restaurant was incredibly kind about it- we called to let them know that GoogleMaps said there was no way in heck we were making our reservation, and they moved it out, no problem.

 The kids area is just off the bar (which seems strange when I type it, but actually wasn't at all.  There is a sliding door, but it was kept open for us).  It's narrow but there's plenty of room.  Professional nannies or Montessori school teachers staff the room, and the restaurant shared that many regulars love the childcare workers so much they've poached them for work other days!
 Childcare is available for children who are potty trained up through age 10.  Rates are $15 for the first child, $12 for the second child, and $10 for subsequent children.  We worked it out in our heads that with a 3 hour drive (it was only an hour to get home) and 2 hours for dinner, we'd pay our sitter $50.  Childcare at the restaurant was $37 and each child got a kids meal included in the price.  Works out well, as far as our money is concerned.
 The kids room has lots of toys and games, as well as a TV.  Savannah liked the Lincoln Logs and the boys watched a Superman movie, so everyone was happy. 

So the kids were all set.  We were close by, they could get us if they needed, the restaurant was even happy to put a second table next to ours if we wanted to eat as a family and then let the kids go play.   They were happy to play in the kids room, though, so we ate alone.

We were fine ;)

As far as the food, we opted to order off the $30 prixe fixe menu, which included a starter, main, and dessert.  The a la carte menu was also available.  Portions were good, so we could've ordered off that and shared, but we didn't :) $60 isn't bad for dinner in DC!

Austin got the wedge salad, no dressing no blue cheese, and I got the broccoli cheddar soup to start, also on the menu were mussels.  The soup was really good, the salad had extra bacon, which is never a problem.  For the main, Austin got the pasta primavera with marinara instead of cream sauce, which was okay. I ordered the quarter spinach stuffed chicken, which they initially forgot to bring (although our starters and Austin's pasta came all at once)- it was absolutely amazing, but lacked the spinach filling the menu mentioned.  I'd definitely order it again if I went back, even missing the stuffing.

I'm a bad blogger and forgot food pictures until dessert.

Austin got carrot cake and I got ice cream (there were only two choices so we picked different ones).  Neither was particularly good, although they were both big- we could've shared one- so we just snagged the kids and made their night happy.

They were more than happy with the ice cream :)

So.  All in all, the idea is a really good one.  The kids had a fantastic time, we got a date in with on-site childcare (no phone calls except the reservation), and I got to hang out with my hubby.  If I had it to do again, I'd order off the regular menu- Yelp seems to recommend the burgers.  Also good to know, there is a basement bar called Jake's Boiler Room, which is really fun, bright, and has lots of games available (both traditional bar games and an entire slew of board games for various ages!) I think that this is definitely a great option for parents who need a night out but don't have a sitter or aren't comfortable leaving their kids. The Sunday brunch, though, might be a better deal for you if the price still isn't right- childcare is free on the weekends.

Want to check out Jake's for yourself? I've got a few options for winners!! Jake's is generously offering 5 winners ONE of the following prizes:

$40 Gift Certificates to Kid’s Brunch
$40 Gift Certificates to Kid's Brunch
One Family Pass Certificate for a Family of Four to Date Night
Certificate for Complimentary Childcare for up to Two Children at Date Night
Certificate for Complimentary Childcare for up to Two Children at Date Night

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter below, and when you go, don't forget to email me and tell me how it goes!! I'd love to include your feedback, too!! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Disclosure: Jake's American Grille provided us with free childcare to come out and try their Date Night option.  All opinions, however, are my own. No other compensation was provided.   By entering any contest on PwcMoms.com, you agree to be bound by our Giveaway Rules.

5/20/14

Edgemoor Art Rocks 2014

Edgemoor Art Studio is again offering their very popular "Art Rocks" summer camps.  These half-day week-long camps are so much fun, and all the artist-grade materials, canvassas and a daily snack are included.  Edgemoor camps are educational, non-competitive, and fun.  This is not "arts and crafts" it's actual art education, and nobody does that better than Mrs. Ruth!


Weeks fill up quickly- so be sure to reserve your sessions today!

Review: Sleeping Beauty at the Manassas Ballet

Manassas Ballet had us come in for a review of Sleeping Beauty, and I was very excited to go.  I've never taken my kids to the ballet and I thought that the familiar story of Sleeping Beauty would be a perfect fit.  We took my daughter and her friends to the fairy tea (which was kind of a mess but ended up okay) so she was already a "fan" of some of the dancers.

The orchestra was amazing, and the ballet was lovely, but it wasn't wonderful, and I really really wanted to be able to say it was wonderful.  My husband, who grew up going to ballet with his Grandmother in NY had some very strong feelings, and they were not positive.  My oldest son and I found lots of things we liked, for example, the little dancers were all adorable, the Bluebird and the Prince were amazing, and the evil fairy's henchmen were really funny.  The sets were beautiful, and we liked that we recognized the music from the Disney version.  I actually thought that the purple fairy was really wonderful, too.  So, all that being said, I had a really hard time writing this review.  And then, magic! I was saved when a friend who went sent in her review:

I was very excited to attend the Manassas Ballet on Saturday evening. My husband had purchased discount tickets at his work. We still spent $120 for the evening for four tickets. When we arrived we found our seats had been double sold. Not a huge issue, four seats right next to ours were open. However, the ushers and the box office staff did not really seem to offer any suggestions. The ballet started with live music. The Manassas Orchestra did a fabulous job, but I think the sound could have been better. It was a little too quiet for my tastes. Overall, the show was slow. A lot of solos. It dragged in a lot of parts and there were 3 breaks. That is a lot of breaks. The men who played Prince Charming and Bluebird were fabulous dancers. I would have liked to seen more of them since they were so talented. It was clear that the men take dancing very seriously. I did not think the dancing was crisp nor did I think the women dancing were very graceful. The ballet did a good job of "telling the story", but I would not recommend the show. I will have a difficult time convincing my daughters to attend a ballet again. It felt a lot like a recital and less like a formal ballet performance. I want to have loved this, but I did not.

Feedback on Facebook was mixed.  I got this:
It was nice and we enjoyed it, however kids and I felt swan lake and nutcracker were much better. We really loved the orchestra!

But then I also got this:
I was totally impressed! Everyone should really check it out.  

I think the breaks were probably a really good idea with a lot of little kids attending, but since the performance we attended started at 7pm, we didn't leave until 10, so my 6 year old was asleep- so if you're going to attend a future performance, I'd try for a matinee option if there is one.  My 8 year old made it most of the way, but the last act was too much, and my 10 year old made it the entire performance, so it might also be an age thing.  It's always hard

The tickets are not as expensive as going to the Kennedy Center, and you won't have to pay for parking, which is great. The Hylton Center parking is free. It sounds like, based on reader feedback, that this might just not have been the best piece for us to see, so we'll try it again, but I might wait until my kids are a little older. I think this was a great opportunity to see some ballet locally and I look forward to trying another performance. 

5/16/14

Vacation Bible School Prince William County 2014

Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a big part of me keeping our summer fun costs to a minimum.  I like to rotate a week of lazy, a week of paid camp, a week of vacation (even if it's local tourism) and a week of free or low-cost VBS.  It works for us :) If you're going to follow that model, be sure to switch up the themes.

Not sure what VBS is? Here's a post for that.

Here's what I have for this year.

All Saints Dale City does neighborhood based VBS and dates/times can vary.  Look for your neighborhood on their website. 

June
23-27th Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran
4090 Sudley Road, Haymarket
This camp is different in that it is $50/camper or $100/family and runs from 9am-3pm.  Still a really great value for such a long camp, especially if you have a large family! 
Ages 6-10

23-27th First Baptist Church of Woodbridge
13600 Minnieville Road
"Inspector D3"
9am-12:30pm with a "tween" option, as well.
Completed K-6th Grades

23-27th Grace Life Community Church
9560 Linton Hall Road, Bristow
"Weird Animals"
9:30am-12:15pm
Rising K-5th grades

22-26th Victory Baptist Church 
12650 Vint Hill Road, Nokesville
TEEN VBS
6pm-8:30pm
Grades 7-12

23-27th Victory Baptist Church 
12650 Vint Hill Road, Nokesville
Cross Canyon Trail
9:00am-12pm
Ages 3-6th Grade

23-27th All Saints Catholic
9300 Stonewall Road, Manassas
Parading Around the Our Father
8:30am-12pm
Grades Rising K-5
$50/child

23-27th Living Hope Haymarket
14600 John Marshall Highway, Haymarket
Kingdom Rock
9am-12pm
Ages 3 through 6th Grade
Suggested Donation of $25/family


July
7-11 Manassas Baptist Church
"Musicgarten" and Music Camp
9:00am-12pm
Ages 4 (By July 1) through Grade  6
$40/first child, $35/second, $30/third, $115/family limit

14-18th Gainesville UMC
13710 Milestone Court, Gainesville
Weird Animals
9:00am-12:30pm
Ages 3-Grade 5

14-18th Emmanuel Baptist Church
 8006 Centreville Road, Manassas
Agency D3
6:30pm-8:30pm
Ages 4-6th Grade

14-18th St. Thomas UMC
3600 Sudley Road, Manassas
Weird Animals
8:45am-12:15pm
Completed K-Grade 5

21-25th Grace Lutheran Church
1601 Prince William Parkway, Woodbridge
"Gangway to Galilee"
5:30pm-8:30pm 
Ages 4 (By July 1) to 15

21-25th Prince of Peace UMC
6299 Token Forest Drive, Manassas
Weird Animals
6:30pm-9pm

21-25th Grace Baptist Church
14242 Spriggs Road, Woodbridge
"Agency D3"
9:00am-12:15pm
Ages 5 (by 9/30) to 5th grade

August
4-8th Good Shepherd UMC
16999 Birchdale Avenue, Dale City
"Wilderness Escape"
9:00am-12pm
$15/child or $40/family
Ages 3.5 (by 3/1) to 5th Grade

10-14th Dale City Baptist
3501 Dale Blvd, Dale City
"Wilderness Escape"
5-7:30pm Monday, 6:30pm-9pm Tuesday-Friday


If your church isn't listed and would like to be, just shoot me an email or a facebook message.

















5/15/14

Welcome Daytime Playtime!

We are so excited to welcome our newest sponsor, Daytime Playtime! From their website:

"Daytime Playtime is a place where children have fun with others, develop a joy for learning to become comfortable and secure in an academic environment. Children develop differently depending on their ages and experiences. No two kids are alike and should not be compared to each other. They are all learning in different ways and at different rates."

Daytime Playtime offers a mommy and me class, mommy's morning out, and preschool-junior kindergarten programming during the year. There is a Spanish Immersion program offered on Fridays, as well. For homeschool students- Spanish, cooking, math and science, and art are offered on a monthly basis, and similar enrichment classes are offered for after-school programs. There's also parties, monthly storytime and lots of fun!

As we're approaching summer, though, the most time-sensitive offering at Daytime Playtime is their summer camps. They have two sets of camp, one for ages 3-5 and one for ages 6 and up.  Themes for the younger set include "Little Chefs", "Marvelous Messy Art", "Camping Trip" and more. For ages 6 and up, camp themes include "Cooking with Math and Science", "Creating a Story" and "7 Wonders of the Ancient World".  You can sign your child up for 5 days (full or half), 3 days, or even do drop-in one day camp.  Outdoor fun and water play are part of every day, and the camps are focused on helping children to wonder and explore. 

For more information, you can contact Daytime Playtime at 
14680 Gap Way
Gainesville, VA 20155
Email: info@daytimeplaytime.com
Phone: 703-754-8463

5/13/14

Yes, we really were THAT busy.

So. We bought a house.  We waited and saved a really long time for that house, and when we got it we were going to get a ready-to-move-in 4 bedroom. 

And then we got a really great deal on a fixer-upper, so we scrapped that idea and decided to be crazy instead!! Yay crazy! Since all I've been doing for the last few months is HOUSE I thought I'd share with you guys a few of the things that were good, bad, and ugly about the move and renovation, since many of you have asked me about how it's going or who we're using, etc.

Our home inspector, who, giving credit where it's due, was recommended by the Realtor (who was not my favorite)- was totally amazing.  His name is Dave Thompson of Equity Home Inspection, and you can holla at him at 703-470-9571.  I believe he's also a contractor, but the main point here is that he does a really really REALLY good job at home inspection.
Really. 

Let's start with the kitchen.  The dishwasher worked!! Sadly, that was the only working appliance that we inherited from the previous owners. The cabinets were peeling black paint, and the floors were broken ceramic tile.  Also, orange. I realize that's not a sentence, but seriously. Orange.
We used Luna for our flooring and they were very accommodating about ordering the floor I wanted for the kitchen- I wanted "luxury vinyl" which looks like ceramic but won't break everytime your kids drop something.  They had that, but not in the color I wanted, but they got it. With Luna, our experience was that the price was good, the products were good, and the logistics were really bad.  They didn't have enough carpet to do our install, they didn't have enough quarter round to do our install, and then they got glue from the kitchen floor all over our hardwood floors.  It took several phone calls, but they did eventually send back a team to fix it, so the floors look beautiful now, but it was kind of a headache. I hear that your experience can vary greatly depending on your install team.

Next, we (and I say we here, but I mean "my husband and my mom") refinished the cabinets using Rustoleum's Cabinet Transformations Kit. We're still in a "time will tell" stage about that, but we definitely had issues with the faux wood on the end of the cabinets.  It's also super time consuming, so if you're planning to use it rather than having to sand and refinish, you're not really going to save time.  They spent 45 hours doing the cabinets for our kitchen using the clean, degloss, two base coats, glaze, and top coat process.  The glaze is optional, but drastically changes the color in some cases.  There is a 100% satisfaction guarantee, but they won't necessarily email/call/tweet you back to respond to issues. They look really good except the small spots on the cabinet ends, and honestly, I'm so happy the island isn't orange that I don't even notice. On the up side, the kit runs you around $75 which is WAY THE HECK cheaper than buying new cabinets or having Sears come and reface everything for you.

For our countertops we used Granite and Marble Express.  They showed up when they said they were going to show up, they took their shoes off on our new floors without being asked, they installed quickly and efficiently, they cleaned up their mess (if you've ever had contractors you know this is a big deal) and the end result was gorgeous.  Well, I think it was gorgeous, you can think whatever you want. 

So for our cooktop, we had to get a cooktop with a downdraft because of the way that the kitchen was built, which meant we had to get a Jenn-Air.  If you are in the market for appliances like that (by which I mean "our kids are not going to college") Appliance Distributors Unlimited in Chantilly was incredibly knowledgeable.  According to PwcDad they know "literally everything" and can tell you each tiny little difference, every review that's ever been written about every appliance they carry, and while they only carry high-end products, their prices were really good considering what you're purchasing. Ted Ashby was the contractor that installed our appliances, and he did a great job.  703-371-4336.

New kitchen.  Yay!

Next, there was lots of painting. We used to really love Lowe's paint, but the new type of Valspar with paint and primer Signature kind of sucked. In some rooms we had no problem with it, but in other rooms it was like it wouldn't stick to the wall.  We used trisodium phosphate (TSP) on all the walls to clean them and get the crayon and the stickers and the food residue and the "I'm not sure what that is, just clean it" off, so they should have all worked the same. However, it all ended up looking really good, some rooms just took more coats than others.  Shoutout to Kilz, if you've never used it, because that stuff will cover ANYTHING, including black ceilings. Before:
This took one coat of Killz and two coats of white ceiling paint to turn into this:
The final contractor I want to share about is Victor Canizalez and his cell is 571-332-7728.  The master bathroom was leaking down into the family room, and so there was a lot of work that had to get redone, from plumbing to broken tile.  Not only did the bathroom turn out beautiful (this picture is from mid-renovation), Victor and his team ALWAYS showed up when they said they were going to show up, they were fast, and incredibly affordable. He came highly recommended from two friends in Lake Ridge who'd used him for various projects, and they were not wrong. 

This is just the stuff that we had to fix to be able to live in the house- we'll still be fixing things for awhile, but it's been a fun process to watch, and exciting to see the results! Have a favorite contractor? Leave a comment with their information below. 
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Disclaimer: Nobody paid me, gave me a discount, or even knew I wrote this website.  I just had a lot of questions during this process and I know people are always looking for feedback on contractors, so I'm sharing. 



5/12/14

Week in Preview: May 12-May 18, 2014

Pre-Register/Sign Up For:
Are you a homeschooling parent? We'll be having a "teacher appreciation day" luncheon at Not Your Average Joes in Stonebridge on Tuesday, May 13th! Need childcare to come? We've got an option available for you at Kids in Motion! Email me at kristinaLSK(at)yahoo(dot)com to register or for more information.

Are you a momma who needs a night out? Join us for an awesome night out at Brixx who will be offering our group 15% of all food and $3.50 imports that night Guinness, Stella among others. Want to promote your business? We've got swag bags for that!! We'll also take ONE cupcake company and ONE photographer. We'll also be doing giveaways if you'd like to sponsor one if them! Email kristinalsk@yahoo.com for details on any of those!! Register for your FREE (but required!) ticket at Eventbrite!

Bring your little ones on a train ride at the Manassas Heritage Railway Festival. Trains will ride to Clifton and back with the Frozen Princess! Trains will depart at 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm and 1 pm. Tickets are on sale now at the Manassas Train Depot (9431 West St) 7 days a week, 9 am to 5 pm. www.visitmanassas.org for more information.

Tickets are available May 15th (Free, but required) for The Singing Lizard at Central Library on May 22
The Singing Lizard writes and sings fun and unique electronic-soul songs that have both kids and grownups singing and dancing with joy. Come out and boogie! And,  don’t be shy, pick up those drums, shakers and microphones and let’s rock!
Ages 2-6, with an adult.  FREE tickets are required and will be available beginning May 15.


Monday, May 12
Mishmash Mondays, 2:00 p.m. Ages 2–5. Drop-in; no registration required. Stories, songs, fingerplays and activities especially for preschoolers.

Tuesday, May 13
Music & Motion at Central Library-
Everyone marches, jumps, stretches, claps and more as they move and groove to the music! Don't miss this fun, free program. Ages 2-6, with an adult. Drop-in, no registration required.  

Little Adventures Playgroup at Chinn Center
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. 

Wednesday, May 14
Dale City Library- Library Baby! Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m. We sing! We play! We read! Stories, songs and finger plays for moms and babies. Ages 0–2. Drop-in. 

Thursday, May 15
11am Children's Sing-a-long at Deja Brew in Haymarket. Come in and bring the kids. We will be having a singalong and all kinds of fun for you and the little ones.
7[m at Chinn Library- Bring your Mom or Dad, and children may make a fantastic craft with their family. One craft per child. For families. Drop-in; no registration required. Limit 30 children

Friday, May 16
Join the Freedom Center for "Buggy Backyards" from 10-11am ,Come learn about the many insects the live in your yard and create beautiful buggy are projects. Caregiver participation required.This event is priced at $10
Enjoy free admission to the museum for your whole family, as well as hands-on activities and interactive play in the NCM theatre and exhibit areas. Sponsored by GEICO. Please note: tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the NCM box office beginning at 5 p.m. on the day of the event. The museum will close for half an hour at 4:30 p.m. to give staff time to prepare for the event. 

Saturday, May 17
Warrenton Spring Festival- This extra large craft show closes Main Street and spills onto side streets with food, live music and entertainment and children's activities. A Southeast Tourism Top 20 Event.
The Harvey Simon Virginia Living History Celebration at Chinn Library
Saturday, May 17, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. For the entire family. Drop in. No tickets required. Throughout the day:
• Churn butter and try your hand at making rope with Mahone’s Forge.
• See artifacts from the National Museum of the Marine Corps and try on Marine combat uniforms.
• Play colonial games with representatives from Rippon Lodge.
• See historical artifacts from the “modern” medicine of the Civil War.
• Make “sailor valentines” with the National Museum of the United States Navy.
• Watch the Piedmont Lace Guild demonstrate the intricate art of lacemaking.
• The Cabin Branch Quilters will demonstrate beautiful hand quilting.
11:00 a.m. Rappahannock Colonial Heritage Dancers Get up and dance colonial style with the dance master of The Central Rappahannock Colonial Dancers.
11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Meet Trooper Ed Dandar and his cavalry horse “Rocky,” from the Black Horse Cavalry.
11:00a.m.–1:00p.m Meet Pirates Rob and Amy Avast me hearties! It’s a-pirating we go with these singing pirates!
1:00 p.m. Jennie Avila Sings Songs from United States History Discover our country’s history through song as this lively children’s musician sings about everything from
pirates to presidents!
2:30 p.m. Marfe Ferguson Delano, author of Master George’s People: George Washington, His Slaves, and His Revolutionary Transformation.
Srinagesh Paluvoi, M.D. is offering free asthma screenings on Sat., May 17 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Gainesville District Volunteer Fire Department on 14450 John Marshall Highway in Gainesville, Va., in honor of National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. In addition to the free asthma screenings from Dr. Paluvoi, attendees can learn summer fire safety tips, get their car seats checked and get a tour of a fire truck from Gainesville, Va. firefighters.  For more information, go to www.vasneezers.com. 

Sunday, May 18
The Virginia Renaissance Faire is open! http://www.varf.org/ Weekends May 10-June 8, $9 ages 6 and up, 5 and under free. They do not have an ATM on site and several vendors, notably food and drink, do not take credit cards.

 

5/1/14

KODU Game Design at Animated Child

Animated Child in Montclair has a little something for everyone.  My Kindergartner loves their indoor play space designed with areas to involve each of Gardner's seven intelligences.  The preschoolers I see there always look happy and engaged during class, which is based on Last Child in the Woods.  There are language classes, music classes, art classes, and then, there are the camps.

My boys LOVE them some camp at Animated Child.  They've now tried both the Minecraft and the KODU Game design camps and they liked both.  I like that even though there's time on the computer, it's educational, and that the staff makes sure the kids have other activities, as well, so they're not just tuned into a screen for 3 hours and nothing else happens.

My 8 and 10 year old actually tried the game design camp over Spring Break just so we could write a review for you guys.  What can I say, they're just selfless like that ;) Both boys were incredibly excited when I picked them up the first day, although they were devistated to learn that I hadn't signed them up for the afternoon session (camp was 1/2 day) which was Minecraft. Bad mom.  They spent the first day setting up their worlds, and they had a tremendous time.  By Wednesday, my 8 year old complained that he would like more time off the computer, and the staff instantly responded by ensuring there were logic-based games for him to engage with for more time than already planned.  In our house I really limit screen time, less than an hour a day, so this was different for him, but the staff was very responsive. At the end of the week, both kids were very excited to show their dad their games.

For those of you that have not met my children in real life, this is actually how they speak.  And boy do they speak.  They talk and talk and talk and talk. I thought about youtubing their responses for you, but decided that they'd start goofing off and singing weird songs, and we wouldn't be very productive. 

From Riley (Age 10)- "I think other kids would like it, but they would have to like playing video games and creating things.  My favorite part was when we got to actually start understanding how KODU works.  My least favorite part was that you have to be a little patient because you have to be able to create something first before you can play it.  Sometimes I'm patient. I had fun.  My overall experience was great.  You didn't let us stay for Minecraft, though, and that was not cool.  Seriously, mom."

From Logan (Age 8)- "So this camp was fun.  I was a little scared at first because I thought the programming would be like JAVA like dad does, but then it was really easy and fun.  I didn't know KODU would be like that.  I though it would be super complex and you would need to type in a bunch of codes instead of clicking on things and then putting them together. My favorite part was when I found out before anyone else on my own how to make enemies in a game only shoot at you and not each other because I'm awesome. My least favorite part was the day I was sick and couldn't go. I think other kids would like this camp if they really like learning because it filled my head with a bunch of interesting things. That's about it."

I'm going to be honest with you guys that camp at Animated Child is not cheap.  You definitely get what you pay for in terms of experienced staff, educational value, and engaging experience, but it's not something that our family could afford every week of the summer.  Luckily, though, you can choose your week(s) and that allows you to do the Kotlus Family Rotation, which is a week of chillin like a villain, a week of camp you pay for, a week of VBS (cause it's free!!) and a week of vacation somewhere.  Doing that each month allows me to keep the budget sane, and still pick really cool camps. STEM/STEAM activities are so vital for our kids, and camps that include STEM components tend to cost more because of the equipment needed, but I definitely think that this camp was worthwhile!
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Disclosure: Animated Child is one of our sponsors, but we provide our honest feedback and reviews.

Summer Camp Option: AviationEd Camp

AviationEd’s summer camps combine our standards-based, STEM curriculum with enhanced project-based learning activities for kids in a variety of settings including the classroom, air traffic control towers, aviation maintenance hangars, and aircraft. These week-long programs begin at 8:00 a.m. and conclude at noon during the weeks indicated below. Camp will be held at the Manassas Regional Airport. Light snack and a t-shirt will be included.